The Secretariat


Max Bankole Jarrett – Director-in-charge

Max Bankole Jarrett is the Director-in-charge of the Africa Progress Panel. He has over twenty-six years of professional experience in the field of political and socio-economic affairs as an international broadcaster, writer and analyst in the media sector; and, as an Executive Office aide, speech writer and team leader in the United Nations system. His most recent duties as a UN officer included serving as an Adviser to the Executive Director of the Coalition for Dialogue on Africa (CoDA), a policy-oriented think tank that brings together a range of stakeholders to promote dialogue, and, provides a platform for African voices to be heard.

Between 1990 and 2001 Max worked with the BBC World Service in London, editing,  producing and presenting “Network Africa” and “Focus on Africa”, the BBC’s award winning daily current affairs radio programmes for its African audience. During that period, he also wrote country analyses and reports for the Economist Intelligence Unit.

Max is currently a member of the Governing Council of Africa 2.0, a Pan-African Civil Society network of young and emerging leaders from Africa and the Diaspora. He also serves on the Advisory Board of the Washington DC-based Center for Sustainable Development in Africa.

Max received his B.Sc (Hons) in Economics in 1990 from the London School of Economics and Political Science and his M.A in African Studies (Specialism: The Political Economy of Tropical Africa) in 1996, from London University’s School of Oriental and African Studies. He was born not very far from the Atlantic Ocean in Monrovia, Liberia.

Read about Max’s appointment to the APP in Forbes Africa (PDF, 1MB).

Follow Max on Twitter @mbankolej

Portrait image of Dan Graham

Dan Graham – Communications Strategist

Dan is the Communications Strategist for the Africa Progress Panel. He joined the organization from the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, where he was the Head of Web and Social Media.

Prior to joining WFP, Dan served as the Director of Online Marketing Programmes for the Internet Society, the world’s trusted independent source of leadership for Internet policy and technology standards.

Between 2003 and 2010, Dan worked for WWF International, where he managed the global conservation organization’s online communications.

Previously, Dan’s experience includes time spent at Canadian wireless provider Bell Mobility in both Montreal and Toronto, where he was responsible for various online communications and marketing activities.

He holds a Business Administration degree from the Université du Québec a Montréal (UQAM)

Follow Dan on Twitter @danjgraham


Peter da Costa – Senior Advisor, Policy and Strategic Communications

Peter da Costa is a development policy and strategic communication specialist who has worked extensively in Africa as well as on global issues and initiatives for more than two decades. A trained journalist, he reported from West Africa during the early 1990s for a range of print, broadcast and multimedia outlets. In 1994 he became Regional Director for Africa of Inter Press Service, a global media and development communication agency, and moved to Zimbabwe.

In 1997 he was appointed Senior Communication Adviser to the UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Secretary, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, headquartered in Ethiopia. In 2003 he left the UN to pursue doctoral studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, and was subsequently awarded a Ph.D. in Development Studies. His areas of expertise include Translating Research into Policy; Strategic Communication; Monitoring and Evaluation; and Organizational Development. He consults extensively with multilateral and bilateral development agencies, philanthropic foundations and civil society organizations. He originates from The Gambia and Ghana, and is currently based in Nairobi, Kenya.

Follow Peter on Twitter @PeterdaCosta2


Damien Naon-ib Somé – Research Fellow

Damien Naon-ib Somé is a Research Fellow with a focus on reaching francophone audiences for the Africa Progress Panel.

Damien was born and raised in Burkina Faso where he began his education before pursuing his studies abroad; first in Taiwan and now in Switzerland. He holds a Master of Arts in International Affairs from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva.

Damien has worked in both the private and non-profit sectors. He speaks three languages fluently – French, English, and Mandarin. He is interested in youth-led entrepreneurship and leadership endeavours in Africa. In particular, he is leading business incubation initiative that strives to foster young entrepreneurs and innovative ideas in Burkina Faso.

Follow Damien on Twitter @n_damien

Abisade Adenubi – Intern

Abisade is a research intern at the APP. She is Nigerian and spent several years working as a corporate lawyer in the City of London, UK.

Abisade is currently completing a Master programme in International Law at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland. Her area of specialization is international economic law and development.

Abisade qualified as a lawyer in England & Wales in 2009, and thereafter worked in various international law firms and financial institutions as legal counsel, advising clients on corporate finance, investment transactions and risk issues. After over 7 years of working in private practice, Abisade is now focusing her career and research efforts on economic development in Africa.

Abisade is the founder of an ethical fashion initiative that aims to use fashion as a tool for development.

Nana Mariam Maiga – Intern

Nana Mariam, a.k.a. Nana is a communications and research intern with APP.
Nana was born and raised in Bamako, Mali, where she lived for most of her life before pursuing her higher education in the United States where she completed a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations.

Nana is currently completing a Master Programme in Conflict and Development with an interest in state building and non-state actors at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland.

Although Nana’s track of specialization is related to conflict, she is very interested by other aspects in the field of development, such as education, health and resource mobilization for short- and long-term development projects.

Follow Nana on Twitter @nana_mariamm