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Dr. Wilmot Allen

Founder VentureLift Africa

Dr. Wilmot Allen is an experienced emerging market investor, management consultant, entrepreneur, political economist and lecturer in international business.

Wilmot is a recent PhD graduate of the Department of Government at Georgetown University, focusing on comparative political economy. His dissertation, entitled “Norms Diffusion and Institutional Design of Sovereign Wealth Funds in sub-Saharan Africa,” examined the political and economic influences on the institutional design and governance standards of Sovereign Wealth Funds in Africa and the Middle East.

Wilmot is a Research Affiliate at the SovereigNet initiative on sovereign wealth and global capital at the Fletcher School of Tufts University. Wilmot is also a Research Associate with the Department of African Studies at the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. For the 2019-2020 academic year, Wilmot served as guest lecturer on international business at the Chandaria School of Business at USIU-Africa in Nairobi. Wilmot was a Fellow from 2017-2019 at the China-Africa Research Initiative of Johns Hopkins SAIS, researching the supply chain shift from Asia to East Africa in the textile and apparel industry. 

His current research continues to focus on Sovereign Wealth Funds and comparative economic and political engagement among diaspora with their ancestral countries. Prior to Georgetown University, Wilmot received an MBA from the Wharton Business School, an MPA from the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government, MDivinity from Princeton Theological Seminary, and BA from Yale University. He was selected as a Young Global Leader at the World Economic Forum and previously served on the Forum’s Global Agenda Council engaging global business leaders on leadership and responsible management. 

Based in Nairobi, he is Founder of VentureLift Africa, an advisory firm and digital marketplace for scaling African startups and SMEs through innovative financing and curated matches with trade partners, supply chains, new technology, talent, advisors and more. He is also a Venture Partner with RH Managers, a private equity fund investing in healthcare, based in Johannesburg. In healthcare other roles, Wilmot was a management consultant to the Africa Union CDC and developed the initial strategy and operational for the new Africa Public Health Foundation which leads the institution’s pan-African COVID-19 response and recovery efforts. He has also served as an independent consultant on innovation to the research and development group of Allergan Pharmaceuticals, helping the company to improve its internal management processes and shorten the time to market for new products. Wilmot began working in healthcare as a clinical laboratory researcher (pre-med student intern) for the Procter & Gamble Company. 

He worked previously as Director of East Africa with a U.S.  investment firm, CrossBoundary LLC, leading the transaction advisory practice for East Africa from Nairobi. Under his leadership, this group served as the transaction team for a USAID initiative, the East Africa Trade and Investment Hub (a Presidential Trade Africa initiative), advising on investment execution for businesses and investors to increase trade, private capital flows and job creation in the region. This team facilitated over $110 million in closed transactions in two years, establishing the firm’s presence in Africa and its most successful advisory practice.

Prior, Wilmot worked with private equity, financial institutions and infrastructure teams at the International Finance Corporation in Washington DC, executing investments totaling over $300 million and managing a portfolio of $2.5 billion. At the IFC, he was also Senior Advisor to the CEO on entrepreneurship initiatives in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, in conjunction with the Global Agenda Council on Youth Unemployment at the World Economic Forum. Wilmot began his career in Africa as a consultant to the clearinghouse of COMESA in Zimbabwe, where he created new strategies for efficiently managing exchange controls for international trade, and on FDI projects in Nigeria. 

In other roles, Wilmot worked as a venture capital investor with the Commonwealth Enterprise Fund in Boston, a technology M&A investment banker with JPMorgan H&Q in San Francisco and a private placement investment banker with Merrill Lynch in New York. Wilmot has also worked with the finance and strategy team of ABC Television (Walt Disney) in the office of the CFO in Los Angeles. He was also a creative executive over documentaries and public affairs program at PBS/KCET in Hollywood and executive in charge of production of the Tavis Smiley Show for PBS.

Dr. Wilmot Allen
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