SAN CARLOS, Calif., May 24, 2023 — Village Enterprise has added five African board members to its Board of Directors, including Ermias Eshetu, Serah Kimani, Michael Mithika, Evelyn Namara, and Dr. Alexis Rwabizambuga. Based in Village Enterprise’s countries of operation (Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda), the new board members bring nearly a century of collective technical expertise and leadership to Village Enterprise’s Board of Directors.
“As Village Enterprise continues to scale our impact to end extreme poverty in rural Africa, it’s critical that we have African voices leading the way on our Board of Directors and at the helm of our decision-making,” said Dianne Calvi, President and Chief Executive Officer of Village Enterprise. “I am thrilled that Alexis, Ermias, Evelyn, Michael, and Serah have all joined our Board of Directors. They all have a passion for ending extreme poverty and creating a sustainable, prosperous future in rural Africa.”
Ermias Eshetu is the Chief Executive Officer of Financial Sector Deepening (FSD) Ethiopia, an agency that aims to support the development of accessible, inclusive, and sustainable financial markets for economic growth and human development in Ethiopia. Previously, Ermias served as Advisory Partner at Grant Thornton Ethiopia from 2018 to 2021 and the Chief Executive Officer at the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange from 2014 to 2017. He received a Master of Science in International Business from the University of Manchester and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology.
Serah Kimani is the Founder and Managing Partner of Ascend Group, which assists investors from across the globe in making investments in Kenya and the wider East Africa Community region. From 2020 to 2022, Serah served as Technical Advisor to the Cabinet Secretary in the Kenyan Ministry of Industrialization, Trade, and Enterprise Development. She received a Master of Laws degree from American University Washington College of Law and also from the University of Pretoria. Serah also holds a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Nairobi.
Michael Mithika is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Mizizi Partners, an innovation and growth strategy firm committed to broadening access to opportunity, capital, well-being, and knowledge for the majority in Africa through market-creating innovations. From 2017 to 2022, Michael was President and Chief Executive of VisionFund International, the economic development and financial inclusion subsidiary of World Vision. He graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science from the United States International University – Africa.
Evelyn Namara is the Senior Partnerships Manager and Researcher at the Global Digital Inclusion Partnership, as well as the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Vouch, where she has worked with the World Food Programme, Mercy Corps, and others to disburse food, farming equipment, and household items to people in need. Among her past roles, Evelyn was Country Director of Solar Sister in Uganda, setting up Solar Sister’s first operations in the country. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Makerere University and a Diploma in Sustainable Business and Responsible Leadership from the Swedish Institute.
Dr. Alexis Rwabizambuga is the Managing Director at TestandCare Medical Technologies Ltd, where he leads the firm’s initiative to ensure access to decent healthcare for all by reducing the gap in accessing diagnostic medical technologies. From 2012 to 2022, he was Chief Country Economist at the African Development Bank. A Harvard Fellow, Alexis received a Doctor of Philosophy in Human Geography from the London School of Economics and Political Science, a Master of Science in Management from the Norwegian School of Management, and a Bachelor of Arts from Oslo University.
“Our new board members are joining our world-class, locally-led team of over 500 changemakers at Village Enterprise,” said Dianne Calvi. “More than 97% of our team is from Africa, with most of our staff working directly in the communities and villages that they call home. As Alexis, Ermias, Evelyn, Michael, and Serah join our board, we’re proud to have leaders from Africa at every level of our organization, from our field teams to our c-suite to our Board of Directors.”