Chairman: Zafar Siddiqi

Zafar is cofounder and Chairman of CNBC Africa and has been part of the strategic development of the ABN Group in Africa to include Forbes Africa, ABN Training, ABN Productions, ABN Pictures, and ABN Digital.

Zafar is Chairman of CNBC Africa, President of Jaag TV, Chairman of SAMAA TV, Chairman of Murdoch University International Study Centre in Dubai, Chairman Lancaster University Ghana and Chairman Forbes Africa.

He was with KPMG for 18 years initially as a partner and later as the Managing Director of one of its consultancy practices.

Having extensive experience in the Middle East and South Asia, he left the profession in 1996 and established a television production company.

He is a director on the board of the Academy of Science and Arts of New York and has attended the KPMG partner development program at Stanford University.

Mr. Siddiqi is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.

Rakesh Wahi

Rakesh Wahi is an entrepreneur who has been involved with early stage investments in emerging markets. He is a well-respected member of the investment community and has distinguished himself in the field of IT, telecoms, media, technology and education investments in the CIS, Middle East & North Africa, South & South East Asia and Sub-Sahara Africa.

Mr. Wahi is Chairman of CMA Investment Holdings that has representation through its portfolio companies in over 20 countries.

Mr. Wahi is the Founder of – CNBC Africa, Forbes Africa, ABN Productions, ABN Training Institute, ABN Pictures, ABN Education Trust, TransNational Education, Lancaster University Ghana, Murdoch University Dubai and Tech One Global.

He closely oversees the management, operations and strategic growth of all these ventures. His core focus is on long term corporate development through building strong management teams.

Mr. Wahi has been involved with the development of business media and financial journalism in the African continent. He has worked on skills development and implemented the policy of empowerment through employment by creating competencies through training, development and indigenisation.

Mr. Wahi started his career with the Indian Army (Corps of Engineers) and was decorated with the prestigious Vishisht Seva Medal (“VSM”) by the President of India in 1985. He was also part of India’s scientific expedition to the Antarctica in 1987/88. He graduated from the prestigious National Defence Academy in 1979 and the Indian Military Academy in 1980. He left the army in 1988.

He has a Bachelor of Science degree (NDA) and a Bachelor of Technology degree in Civil Engineering (CME) from the Jawaharlal Nehru University. He is a Chartered Engineer from the Institute of Engineers, Calcutta, India. He is an engineering graduate from the illustrious College of Military Engineering.

Mr. Wahi was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Science by the Minister of Education at IIM, Namibia. He has been honoured with ringing the bell at the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, The Nigerian Stock Exchange and the Zambian Stock Exchange.

In March 2013 Mr. Wahi led a team of 15 members of the ABN Group to the top of Mount Killimanjaro. 100% of the team made it to the top.

Mr. Wahi has recently founded the ABN Education Trust to finance the education of children from previously disadvantaged families in South Africa as well as support orphan children.

Christo Fourie

Christo Fourie qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1993 following the completion of his audit articles at Coopers and Lybrand (Johannesburg office) in December 1992.

Christo has spent his post-articles working life with the Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa Limited (IDC). He joined the IDC’s Financial Investigations Department in 1994. In 1999, at the time of a major restructuring of IDC’s operations, Christo was redeployed to the newly established Workout and Restructuring Department (W&R).

As Senior Account Manager in W&R he was responsible for the restructuring of, or recovery from, a portfolio of distressed IDC clients. In 2001 Christo was promoted to the Head of W&R in which position he was responsible to lead and manage the department to achieve its main objective of minimising the IDC’s bad debt expenses by preventing the financial failure of identified high risk clients by initiating the restructuring and turnaround of such clients or alternatively to maximise the recovery of IDC’s exposure where the financial failure of a W&R client was unavoidable.

In January 2006 Christo was appointed as the Head of the IDC’s Corporate & Structured Finance Department. The Department provided a financial structuring service to the IDC’s operational SBUs in respect of both project and corporate finance type transactions. The Department applied innovative and customized funding structures and instruments (from senior debt through to pure equity) with the objective of ensuring and enhancing the quality and viability of transactions.

Towards the end of 2007 Christo was appointed as the Head of the IDC’s Venture Capital (VC) SBU, which was established earlier in 2007. The SBU provides equity funding and post investment support to local technology-focused start-ups in any industry to enable the completion of the development of globally unique South African intellectual property into market-ready products, followed by the commercialisation thereof, locally and/or internationally. By mid-2014 the SBU had invested more than R700 million in 35 local technology start-ups.

Christo has grown the team of dealmakers from 3 in 2007 to the current 13 (comprising two PhDs, four CAs, four MBAs and five Engineers). Specialist due diligence skills relating to the assessment of unproven technologies targeted at unproven markets as well as specialist skills relating to operational / strategic / management disciplines required for effective post-investment operational support and guidance have been built up in the SBU.

Christo serves / has served on the Boards of Directors of various companies in which IDC is / was invested. He currently serves on two Boards and also chairs these companies’ Audit and Risk Committees. He has further been the chairman of the Evaluation Panel (Investment Committee) of the dti’s Support Programme for Industrial Innovation (SPII) from 2008 until February 2012.

Christo has completed the Gordon Institute of Business Science’s Global Executive Development Programme as well as the Haas School of Business’ (University of California – Berkeley) Venture Capital Executive Programme.

Christo is married and has three boys. He likes watching his boys compete in gymnastics competitions. At home Christo likes listening to music, watching movies with his family on a Friday evening and catching up with them every evening around the dinner table, whilst enjoying a good glass of wine.

Roberta Naicker

Roberta Naidoo took over as Group Managing Director in 2011. She is responsible for the overall operations of the ABN Group, which includes CNBC Africa and Forbes Africa.

Apart from overseeing the financial strategy, planning and forecasts, Roberta also works directly with the Group’s Vice Chairman on strategic growth and opportunities across the African continent.

Roberta serves on the Board of Africa Business News (CNBC Africa), Forbes Africa and is Chairperson of ABN Training, ABN Productions and ABN Pictures. She is also Chairperson of ABN Kenya and ABN Nigeria.

Roberta joined CNBC Africa in February 2008 as the Head of Finance and served in various positions prior to being appointed Managing Director.

Roberta has completed the Effective Strategies for Media Companies programme at Harvard, which is a leadership development program, and was a finalist in the 2012 Business Women’s Associations Business Women of the year awards in the Corporate Category.

Roberta is a Trustee of the ABN Education Trust and oversees the Groups CSR activities as well as the corporate development programs of the Group.

Roberta, who is studying her Masters in Business Administration, is a member of the International Women’s Media Foundation, as well as the Business Women’s Association of South Africa.

Sam Bhembe

Sam is one of the founding Non-Executive Directors of the ABN 360 Group. Sam started his career as a teacher of Economics and Business Economics.

He ended being the Managing Executive of Nedbank charged with the responsibilities of managing all businesses in the continent outside of South Africa. Before that, Sam looked after the public sector banking and the strategy portfolio of Nedbank Corporate. Before joining the bank, Sam was the Executive Vice President at the Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa, responsible for investment and facilities into the services-based industrial sectors.

Sam has been a Non-Executive Director in numerous entities including Kimberly Clark South Africa, Hans Merensky, Nedbank Foundation and National Film & Video Foundation of South Africa. He is currently a director at the St Davids Marist College in Inanda, Sandton.

Sam is qualified with Honours in Economics, an MBA in Finance from Maastricht School of Management (Netherlands), Strategic Management in Banking from INSEAD (France) and an Advanced Management Program from Duke University (USA).

Sid Wahi

Sid Wahi is the Managing Director of CMA Investment Holdings, a family investment holding company that is the Founding shareholder of the ABN Group; including CNBC Africa, Forbes Africa, ABN Productions, ABN Training Institute and ABN Pictures.

Sid has spoken at numerous conferences and events, on subjects ranging from changes in media consumption habits to doing business in Africa. Some of these include, the African Media Leaders Forum, Content Management Forum East Africa, Africa Business Conference at the Lagos Business School, Africa Business Summit at the London Business School and Brightcove Play.

In March 2013, Sid was part of an expedition that successfully summited Mt Kilimanjaro. In July 2014, Sid was selected as one of the Mail & Guardian’s Top 200 Young South Africans.

Sid completed his schooling at the Doon School in India and earned his Bachelor (Hons) of Business Administration majoring in Finance from the Schulich School of Business, Toronto, Canada.