Steven De Backer, Chairman of the Board

Steven De Backer is an internationally recognized lawyer and business adviser who has assisted several of the world’s largest companies in relation to their operations, transactions and projects in Africa. Steven lived and worked on the African continent for almost 30 years, in 5 different countries (Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of Congo, Burundi, Tanzania and South Africa). Over the years, he has built up formidable high level contacts throughout the continent, and is considered by many as a “go to person” when structuring projects and de-risking capital investments in Africa and when confronted with difficult compliance issues on the continent. Steven is the founder of the Afriwise group and co-founder of Afriwise Consult. He further sits on several boards, is the President of the Belgian Chamber of Commerce for Southern Africa and an economic diplomacy adviser to the Belgian Government. Steven has a master degree in laws, a business management degree and a postgraduate in international tax. He’s fluent in English, French and Dutch.

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Matthias Boddenberg, Member of the Board  

CEO of the Southern African – German Chamber of Commerce and Industry since 2001. Before that Matthias served as the CEO of the Irano – German Chamber of Commerce in Tehran, Iran from 1995 – 2001.

 

David Dawson, Member of the Board  

David Dawson has been CEO of the British Chamber of Business in Southern Africa since April 2013. David is an international trade and export professional, with many years of experience at senior management level for South Africa’s top blue-chip companies. This includes trading commodities for South Africa’s largest food group, Tiger Brands, managing the International Trade Division of the world’s third largest brewing company, SABMiller and other export management roles. He has product experience in manufactured consumer and industrial goods, pharmaceutical, beverages, foodstuffs, FMCG, industrial and agricultural commodities. Allied to this, extensive global travel to Europe, Asia, South America and specifically Africa, namely, several hundred trade/business visits to some 30 sub-Saharan countries. David has experience in working in developed and emerging economies and post conflict environments. His skills base includes management, financial, negotiations, sales, planning, communication and languages (including French). 

Jean-Michel Marnoto, Member of the Board  

After 6 years in the Economic diplomacy (French trade commissionner) in Angola, Mozambic and UAE, he joined the private sector with Bureau Veritas, a French global leader in Quality, Testing and Certification. In charge of Business Development in Africa, he has seen the expansion of Far East influence in the African Trade and its huge impact on European businesses. As a Vice President of the African Commission of the French Foreign Trade Advisors (CNCCEF) since 2002, he has dedicated his entire life to grow French and more globally EU business and close relationshipin Africa based on a common and equal interest where African people and Europeans could ensure their future in a challenging world.

Stefan Sakoschek, Regional Director & Secretary General

Quality and Management consultant. Completed his MBA (Finance and Marketing) in 1986, involved in the quality industry since 1994 in South Africa. Previously Chairman of the French South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry, founding member and first Chairman of the Board of the EU Chamber. Founder of Global Inspections Group (2001-2014) and of COC Pty Ltd in 2014. French and Austrian national, Stefan has lived and worked in South Africa since 1994.

Angelika Yakovchuk, Deputy Chairman of the Board

Angelika Yakovchuk is a partner and director at WerthSchröderInc Attorneys. She obtained her BA and LLB degrees at the University of Witwatersrand. She specialises in government policy compliance with a particular focus on corporate immigration law. Working closely with Department of Home Affairs, and through direct involvement with the Minister of the Department, Ms Yakovchuk played an important role in transformation of national immigration policy. Ms Yakovchuk’s represents many of the top multinational organisations operating in South Africa. She holds the position of Vice President of the French-South African Chamber of Commerce & Industry, and is a member of an advisory committee to Ministerial panel.

Donnée Kruger, Member of the Board  

Manager of the Gauteng Office (Regional Representative Office) for Trade and Investment KwaZulu-Natal and Chairperson of the Nordic South-African Business Association. Donnée Kruger holds a Masters Degree in Urban and Regional Planning and is currently studying towards her Phd. Donnée has two professional qualifications (clinical dietician and urban and regional planner) and close to 10 years experience in International Business Development and has successfully facilitated several projects, missions and seminars in conjunction with the European Union Delegation in South Africa and respective trade offices.

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Rui Miguel Marto, Member of the Board

Rui was admitted as an Attorney in May 1994. After being employed as attorney (professional assistant) for 18 months, he co-founded Marto Lafitte & Associates in 1995. He specialises in Commercial Law and Civil Litigation including Magistrates’, High Court litigation and arbitration. He further assists local and foreign companies seeking to invest in South Africa with company structures, registration of companies, and all related agreements in establishing a local presence. Rui holds current directorships inter alia in the South African Portuguese Chamber of Commerce (SAPCC). Rui obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1989 and his Bachelor of Law degree in 1991, both from the University of Witwatersrand.

Thomas Zilk, Member of the Board  

Austrian Citizen, South African permanent resident, living in SA since 25 years. Former Area Manager Africa for Austrian Airlines. Chairman of the Austrian Business Chamber Southern Africa. Founding member of the Austrian Club Johannesburg. Managing Director City Watch International.

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Jaresh Maharaj, Chairman & CEO of Indra SA,

a Spanish technology and integration company,  is well known in government, for his turnaround of the Department of Home Affairs in his position of Deputy Director General between 2007 to 2009, His name is also synonymous with the Security upgrades at City of Joburg. Over the past 32 years, he has accumulated an impressive database of contacts throughout the SADC region in the public and private sectors within the fraternities of IT, Mining, Telecoms & Internet ISP. His early life as an IT expert guided him into major leadership positions of IT Operations Manager at DeBeers and Siemens and recently the General Manager at the Naspers group under the banner of Mweb. He is also a director on the Spanish Chamber of Commerce. He holds an Msc. Information Systems (USA) & a host of local and international IT qualifications.