14:15 – 15:45 – Panel Discussion: Defining Lithuania‘s Role in Africa. Perspectives for Twinning Type Projects

After regaining independence, Lithuania has undergone an impressive period of institutional, economic and social reforms. Through this transitional period, it has gained a valuable experience which is a source of ideas, knowledge and methodology. Moreover, Lithuania has accumulated solid experience in building development cooperation partnerships with Eastern Partnership countries and is ready to share its expertise with other development partners. Lithuania’s engagement with Africa has been quite limited so far. However, Lithuania is willing to expand its horizon and diversify the geography of its cooperation. Therefore, Lithuanian is looking for ways to contribute to the Africa-EU partnership and meaningfully engage in Africa by bringing its best practices as well as fresh transformational experiences.

The objective of the panel discussion is to take stock of the first steps of Lithuanian development cooperation in Africa and examine possible niches for future engagement. Lithuania’s success story in the EU Twinning Programme will be presented and is expected to foster discussion on the way forward.


Mantė Makauskaitė

Mantė Makauskaitė is the co-founder of AfriKo, a Lithuania based non-profit that currently concentrates on connecting Lithuanian and African ICT markets. Mantė is an international consultant with a particular focus on digital economy and public sector-related projects, and interdisciplinary approach to development cooperation field, which has been tested while working at the global ICT consultancy company. Mantė received her MA degree in African Studies at the University of Copenhagen and her interests vary from digital entrepreneurship and e-Government reforms in Africa to politics of the African Union.


Mamadou Habib Diallo

Mamadou Habib Diallo holds a PhD. in Management and Financial Engineering. He also holds a Honoris Causa Doctorate in Social Work and Education from Euroamerican International University.

Professor and entrepreneur, he is General Manager of Sup 'Management-Mali and Vice-President of the Sup' Management Group, in charge of the administration of centers in 13 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.  Mr Diallo is a professional trainer of trainers and has been a consultant for several international organizations, ministerial departments, and especially, for local companies and multinationals based in Mali.

At the African and international levels, Mr. H. Diallo holds high responsibilities as Territorial Delegate for Mali of the World Council of Industrial Relations and Labor "CONMORIT; Vice-President of the Foundation for Research, Culture and Education "FORCE"; Commissioner for Strategy and Mobility of the International Network of Private Higher Education Institutions / CAMES; Vice-President of the Intercontinental Conference of Universities & Grandes Ecoles ( which brings together 150 institutions and covers the 5 continents) and President of the Association of Private Higher Education Establishments in Mali.

Since 2017, Mr. H. Diallo is Honorary Consul of Lithuania in Mali.

Antanas Maziliauskas

Professor dr. Antanas Maziliauskas (Lithuania) is currently (since 2019) Chancellor of Vytautas Magnus University (VMU) follwing the merger of VMU with  Aleksandras Stulginskis University (ASU)  where he held the rector’s position since 2011. He is a Member of Royal Swedish Academy of Agriculture and Forestry. In 2015 was nominated as Good Will Ambassador of the European Year for Development.

A.Maziliauskas  has extensive experience in development cooperation projects. During last 3 years he led three Lthuanian development cooperation projects run by VMU to Republic of Mali and Algeria. Actually he is leading  ERASMUS + Capacity development project to 3 universities in Algeria.  He took part as a team member or leader of multiple consultancy and project evaluation missions for the World Bank and UN FAO in Nigeria, Ivory Cost, Kazakhstan, Uganda, Mali, Algeria and Yemen,  as a team member in global review of the FAO Special Programme for Food Security in Latin America and Caribbean (Bolivia, Ecuador, Haiti) and West Africa (Niger, Senegal, Mauritania). During last years worked as Senior research expert  of UNDP in Turkmenistan with 3 missions related to  Climate change impact topic.

His main professional themes are sustainable agriculture and climate change, water resources management, irrigation and drainage.

Mindaugas Glodas

An experienced executive with over 20 years’ experience in Information Technology sector. Previously he has been working in International Corporations and held various sales positions at IBM and later led the Microsoft subsidiary in Lithuania and the Baltics. While successfully driving subsidiaries’ primary responsibilities, consistently meeting annual and quarterly growth and organizational development targets he has been involved in a number of corporate working groups as an executive member to design new regional organization structure, regional Partner network strategy and Talent development. Has been responsible for Microsoft Healthcare Solutions business in Central and Eastern Europe.

In 2013 co-founded an early stage venture capital firm and incubator Nextury Ventures focused on early stage investments in innovative startups. He actively engaged with the startup, academic and aspiring entrepreneur community to involve them in early stage companies and promote innovation culture. Worked closely with local authorities to help them improve investment and entrepreneurship climate as well as International Corporations to start local corporate venturing practices and successfully drive innovation.

Currently serves as an independent board member of Telia Lietuva - the largest fixed and mobile operator in the Baltics. Has previously served as an independent board member of Lithuanian Energy Company ESCO and Kaunas Technical University.

Being an active member of business community he serves as the President of the Board of the Knowledge Economy Forum, is a member of Advisory Boards of MITA (Agency for Science, Innovation and Technology) and MTEPI (Strategic Government Committee on Science, R&D and Innovation chaired by Prime Minister). He is a former Board member of Invest Lithuania, Infobalt, AmCham and Lithuanian Business Confederation.

Mindaugas is a guest lecturer at International School of Management ISM on Executive MBA Program where he introduces executives to business planning and innovation funding methodologies most used by startups and how they can be applied in well-established enterprises.

Daina Kleponė

Enterprise Lithuania is a trade promotion agency, established by Ministry of Economy. Daina Klepone has gained a comprehensive experience as a senior executive in leading multinational organisations and local projects across a wide range of different industries and markets.

Before taking a lead of Enterprise Lithuania, she was known as general management professional with history of significant profit, volume, market position achievements and proven track record from successful turnarounds, transitions and brand developments, driven with focus on planning, implementation and achievement of budgets for sales, income and costs.

After university studies in chemistry she followed with an MBA for international executives by Baltic Management Institute. Daina was leading big local enterprises as “Šatrija”, “Baltika Lietuva”, “Audimas”, was in management board of biggest insurance company “Lietuvos draudimas”, several years has been consulting foreign capital companies in Austria, Switzerland and India.


Jekaterina Govina

Jekaterina takes part in developing policies for the fintech industry in Lithuania. She is coordinator of the Bank of Lithuania Fintech strategy and Head of Innovation Committee. She also leads the Bank of Lithuania LBChain project (blockchain sandbox/accelerator).

She has been working as a lawyer in various divisions of the Bank of Lithuania, with the areas of responsibility that included insurance, payments, lending, peer-to-peer lending and crowdfunding regulations. She has been awarded as a Public Sector Lawyer of the Year for developing the concept of the crowdfunding regulation in Lithuania and preparing the draft law on crowdfunding and was acknowledged by Lattice80 as one of the Top 100 Women in Fintech:

Kola Aina

His prior entrepreneurial experience spans several sectors including venture capital, technology, media, agriculture, infrastructure, publishing and real estate.

As an angel investor and while leading the early stage African VC firm Ventures Platform – he has lead investment in about 28 companies including Payments company; Paystack, Connectivity company; Tizeti, Healthcare company; MDaaS and the Agric-tech company; Thrive Agric.

Ventures Platform is a leading early stage African VC fund that provides founder friendly capital and support to early stage companies in a framework that is buoyed by corporate governance and hands-on support. Other ecosystem interventions, research and social impact initiatives are deployed through the Ventures Platform Foundation in conjunction with her local and international partners. In 2016 VP opened its flagship innovation hub campus in Abuja - Ventures Park - an artsy Co-working space in Abuja.

Prior to focusing on venture building, Kola worked in corporate finance, administration, corporate turn-around and strategy, having started off as a financial analyst with Fifth-Third Bank, after his MBA and initial training as an Electrical Engineer in the United States.

Kola studied Electrical Engineering and then secured a Master in Business Administration degree with a specialization in Finance from Bowling Green State University, Ohio. He has received further education from Berkley University, Harvard University and the Lagos Business School.

Kola is a leader in the African startup and investing ecosystem, a Ted speaker and volunteers his time advising founders, speaking at events and serves on the Presidential Committee for Job Creation and Youth Employment as well as the Private Sector Advisory Group to the Presidency on Creativity and Technology."

Eugène Désiré Nzengou

Eugène Désiré Nzengou describes himself as “subtle mix of multiculturalism, through his Rwandan, Central African origins and a Belgian citizenship”.

Eugène Désiré Nzengou is an engineer and nuclear physicist by training. He is a versatile tech professional with a deep interest in - but not limited to - data analytics, innovation, AI and blockchain, capacity building, diversity in tech and inclusion.

Countries where he has lived and/or worked in include Italy, Belgium, Portugal (the Azores), France, Canada, USA, Central African Republic, Rwanda. Organizations he has worked with include Google and Caterpillar

As Senior Industrial Technology Advisor for the Government of Rwanda’s National Industrial Research and Development Agency (NIRDA), they are building up Rwanda’s first STEM-based laboratory for product development and business incubation. A particular emphasis is put on solutions for energy storage, mobility, agro-processing, health tech, edutech.