Founded in early 2014 as an alternative professional services firm by former Webber Wentzel partners Steven De Backer and Olivier Binyingo, Afriwise consult is expanding quickly and zipping upmarket.
After the recent appointment of Robert Nel as a manager, Afriwise consult now welcomes David Ansara and Ilya Prigogine to its team. True to its commitment to innovation and to help clients steer through local challenges in Africa, Afriwise continues to strengthen its multi-disciplinary consulting team but also intends to blend its “in the trenches” experience and the knowledge of its vast network (the Afriwise community) to develop products and solutions that address the needs of clients that operate in Africa.
David Ansara brings over seven years’ experience in strategic communications, project management and business development in Sub-Saharan Africa to the Afriwise consult team. David previously helped to establish the African Loan Market Association (ALMA) and later joined the UK-headquartered Loan Market Association (LMA), following its integration with the ALMA. As an Associate Director based in Johannesburg, he helped to grow the footprint of the LMA in Africa, and to develop the loan market across multiple African jurisdictions. Prior to that, David spent a year in London, where he worked as a researcher at Chambers and Partners, the world’s leading legal directory. David’s academic training is in political science, and he holds masters, honours and bachelor’s degrees, all from the University of Cape Town.
“Afriwise has a clearly defined culture with entrepreneurship at its core; bringing in someone like David, who was key in the establishment of the African Loan Market Association a few years ago, fits rights into this strategy” says Steven De Backer. “Besides adding new skills to our multidisciplinary team, David’s experience will help us to develop knowledge-based solutions and bring them to market.”
Further, in a move to better service clients in Francophone Africa, Afriwise has taken on board Ilya Prigogine, who also has a background with Webber Wentzel. Ilya, who will be based in Paris, was born in Rwanda and grew up in the Democratic Republic of Congo. She studied in Belgium where she obtained a master in law and a LLM in Economic Law. Ilya previously worked as an attorney in the Brussels office of DLA Piper where she contributed to the development of the African practice. At DLA, she worked extensively on matters in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in close collaboration with local counsel in Kinshasa, Lubumbashi and Goma. Ilya subsequently practiced at Webber Wentzel, where she worked on projects and transactions in a number of jurisdictions across Francophone Africa. She speaks French, English and Swahili.
“Ilya is well respected in the Democratic Republic of Congo, one of our core countries”, says Olivier Binyingo, “in addition, her legal expertise and knowledge of Francophone Africa will be key as we respond to increasing market demand in relation to West- and Central Africa.”
David and Ilya join Afriwise after the recent appointment of Robert Nel as a manager. Robert’s unique combined experience as a project finance lawyer at Webber Wentzel and as a management consultant with Bain & Company has significantly boosted Afriwise consult’s service offering and internal capabilities.