Mrs. Ndidi Okonkwo Nwuneli is an expert on social innovation, African agriculture and nutrition, entrepreneurship, and youth development. She has over 25 years of international development experience and is a recognized serial entrepreneur, author, public speaker, and consultant. She is the Max Bell School of Public Policy's McConnell Visiting Scholar for 2021-2022.
Mrs. Nwuneli started her career as a management consultant with McKinsey & Company, working in Chicago, New York, and Johannesburg. She returned to Nigeria in 2000 to serve as the pioneer executive director of FATE Foundation, supporting young entrepreneurs to start and scale their businesses. In 2002, she established LEAP Africa to inspire, empower, and equip a new cadre of principled, disciplined, and dynamic young leaders in Africa. In the same year, she established NIA to support female university students in Nigeria to achieve their highest potential.
Over the past 13 years, she has focused exclusively on transforming the African agriculture and nutrition landscape. Through her work as the co-founder and Managing Partner of Sahel Consulting Agriculture & Nutrition, she has partnered with a range of private and public sector organizations to implement ecosystem solutions in the African agriculture and food landscapes. As the co-founder of AACE Foods, which produces a range of packaged spices, seasonings, and cereals for local and international markets, Mrs. Nwuneli has propelled the growth of a catalytic business. As the founder of Nourishing Africa, a digital home for food and agriculture entrepreneurs operating on the African Continent, she is accelerating the growth of the ecosystem and supporting entrepreneurs in 35 African countries. Her latest start-up—Changing Narratives Africa—is building bridges by showcasing the Continent’s contributions to the global food ecosystem and scaling proudly African food and beverage brands.
Nwuneli serves on the boards of the Rockefeller Foundation, the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), AGRA, Nigerian Breweries Plc. (Heineken), Godrej Consumer Products Ltd. India, Fairfax Africa Holdings Canada, Royal DSM Sustainability Board, Netherlands, and the African Philanthropy Forum. She previously served on the Boards of Nestle Nigeria Plc., the World Vegetable Center and Cornerstone Insurance Plc.
Nwuneli was recognized as a Young Global Leader and a Schwab Social Innovator by the World Economic Forum and received a National Honor from the Nigerian Government. She was listed as one of the 20 Power African Women by Forbes, on the 2019 100 Most Influential Africans List by New African Magazine and was a Harvard Business School 2021 Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award Honoree. She is a TED Global speaker.
Nwuneli is the author of "Social Innovation in Africa: A Practical Guide for Scaling Impact," and "Food Entrepreneurs in Africa: Scaling Resilient Agriculture Businesses," both published by Routledge. She is also the author of “Working for God in the Marketplace.”
She holds an M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School and an undergraduate degree with honors from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. She was a Senior Fellow at the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business & Government at the Harvard Kennedy School and an Aspen Institute New Voices Fellow.