The Secretariat

Portrait photo of Caroline Kende-Robb

Caroline Kende-Robb – Executive Director

Caroline Kende-Robb is the Executive Director of the Africa Progress Panel. Prior to joining the Africa Progress Panel, Caroline worked at the World Bank and International Monetary Fund for 16 years as a senior manager and technical expert in the regions of Africa, Europe and Central Asia, and East Asia and the Pacific.

At the World Bank, Caroline led teams of technical experts to implement World Bank loans and grants and conducted policy research on a range of global issues including the links between macroeconomic policies and poverty outcomes, conflict and fragility, climate change, social justice, and financial crises. At the International Monetary Fund, Caroline was the first Poverty and Social Development Advisor recruited by the Fund to manage the introduction of a poverty and social perspective into their macroeconomic programs and policy dialogue.

Caroline began her career in 1983 where she spent five years as a manager in the private sector. From 1989 – 1993, she lived in The Gambia. She initially worked for the European Union and The Gambian Government as a Business and Community Development Advisor for Voluntary Service Overseas. In this role, Caroline worked on an artisanal fisheries development project and was based in a small village along the Atlantic coast. She then worked as the West Africa Field Director for Africa Now, a civil society organization. Caroline later joined the UNDP in The Gambia as Poverty Alleviation Focal Point.

Caroline is a Non-Executive Director for Mara Social Media. She is also a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Councils, previously on Africa and currently on Justice. She is an Advisor for CAMFED, a civil society organization focused on the education of girls in Africa, and an Ambassador for Protect African Lions. Caroline is the author of many publications including, “Can the Poor Influence Policy?” a book co-published by the World Bank and the IMF. She holds a BA (Hons) in Geography and MSc in Social Policy from the London School of Economics.

Follow Caroline on Twitter @carolinekende

Articles from the Executive Director


Max Bankole Jarrett – Deputy Director

Max Bankole Jarrett is the Deputy Director of the Africa Progress Panel. He has over twenty-four 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.

Follow Max on Twitter @mbankolej


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


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

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


Kajsa Hultgren – Project Assistant

Kajsa is the Project Assistant with APP. She is a native of Sweden and has lived in the Geneva region since 1989.

In Geneva Kajsa has held administrative posts in different organizations but is originally a trained programmer.

Between 2008 and 2015 Kajsa worked for PATH (an international health organization driving transformative innovation to save lives) as Project Administrator.


Daniela Pokorna – Research Assistant

Daniela is the Research Assistant with APP with a special interest in information and communication technologies, innovation, and development. She is a native of Slovakia.

Daniela has an experience in conducting research, collecting and analyzing data. Most recently, she has been assisting with research at International Telecommunication Union, Médecins Sans Frontières, UNHCR, and Internet Society.

Daniela holds a Master of Arts in International Affairs from The Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland. She has also studied at universities in China, France, and the United Kingdom.


Ebunoluwa Aribido – Intern

Ebunoluwa, a.k.a. Ebun is a communications and research intern with APP. She is Nigerian-Canadian.

Ebun is currently completing her Master’s in Development Studies, at the Graduate Institute for International and Development Studies in Geneva. Her area of focus is human development with an interest in Migration and Diaspora issues.

Ebun is the Co-founder of an NGO which works to help refugees integrate into the workforce and into society in Geneva.

Follow Ebun on Twitter @eboonie_j