Manie Eagar, Co-founder and Chair
Manie is the Chair of the Digital Finance Institute and is responsible for providing oversight and guidance to the Institute’s board and its advisors.
He is a global investment, mergers and acquisitions executive with over 30 years of driving new wealth creation, business growth and strategic innovation. He brings international experience and deep skills in the startup, investment management and venture capital space. He has been involved in multiple successful start-ups, government policy developments and national educational initiatives in South Africa.
Manie is an expert in educational policy and charitable developments, particularly in emerging and new areas. He was the founder and CEO of the Open Learning Systems Education Trust in South Africa. OLSET was a national strategy that delivered math, science and technology courses to students in South Africa that was sponsored by USAID, CISA and Kagiso Trust. In 1996, Former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, visited Manie’s OLSET project and assisted with teaching a class to students in South Africa.
Manie was the chief strategist for the South African government’s $40 Billion Development Bank of South Africa Infrastructure Centre of Excellence for Infrastructure Development Plan implemented in 2012 and in that capacity is an expert in global infrastructure development for emerging markets.
He is a director of the Bitcoin Alliance of Canada and a member of the Global Bitcoin Alliance and the Bitcoin Foundation. With Christine Duhaime, he founded the DFI to make a valuable contribution to digital finance and cryptocurrency globally at every level of its development and deployment and for integration with the financial and retail ecosystems. Manie has a sound understanding of the emerging markets and the needs of the financially underserved and under-banked.
The past two years he has focused on deal shaping and making in the new world of digital value inter-exchange, mobile media delivery platforms and digital finance 2.0, inspired by the latest cryptocurrency protocols. He has supported a number of startups, growth acceleration, mergers and acquisitions, VC tie-ups and alignments with regulatory compliance. He developed the openaxyz collaboration software that was deployed at leading financial institutions such as Barclays Africa and was nominated for the RIC Innovation Idol in Ontario in 2012.
Christine Duhaime, Co-founder and Executive Director
Christine is the Executive Director of the Digital Finance Institute and its co-founder. She is responsible for setting policy direction, fundraising and building partnerships with the private and public sector for digital finance goals and initiatives. She drives the regulatory reform, financial inclusion, First Nations and women in fintech policy initiatives for the Institute.
Christine is a prominent financial regulatory lawyer and an author and speaker. She is an anti-money laundering legal specialist with expertise in financial regulation, digital financial services and products (such as Bitcoin), terrorist financing, bribery, money laundering law, sanctions in regulated industries such as banks, money services businesses and casinos. She is the author of the world’s first legal text on digital finance and the Co-Chair of the Western Chapter of the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists, and a member of the Judicial Advisory Committee of British Columbia Branch of the Canadian Bar Association.
Christine is frequently asked to provide insight to the media on into complex legal issues of the day, including on Bitcoin, terrorist financing, money laundering, financial regulation and policy developments, and has appeared on Al Jazeera, CBC News, Global News and in the The Wall Street Journal, Globe & Mail, Toronto Star and in the financial regulatory press. She is the legal columnist for Corporate Risk Magazine and has written for Financier Worldwide and American Banker. She frequently speaks at international conferences on issues of financial crime compliance and regulation of digital finance.
Pumela Salela is a Director of the Institute and is the Chair of the Nelson Mandela Scholarship Alumni Association and an Advisor to the World Bank.
She was voted one of South Africa’s “Most Inspirational Women” and was featured in Destiny Magazine as one of South Africa’s “Young and Powerful Achievers” and one of the “Top 40 Young Leaders, Innovators and Job Creators in South Africa”. She was on an Entrepreneurship Television Show called Rise South Africa that was broadcast on the South African Broadcasting Corporation.
She is a Director of the Global Sourcing Council, a non-profit in the Untied States funded in part by Microsoft that advocates for sustainable sourcing practices in trade, and is an Ambassador for Sustainable and Socially Responsible Outsourcing in Africa, and sits on the Executive Committee of the Tri-Sister City Alliance, a formal alliance among cities in the BRICS.
Pumela also serves on the Advisory Board of the World Summit on Internet and Social Media and on the Board of Sable Accelerator LLC, an organization that helps South African entrepreneurs, start-ups, academic institutions, and companies commercialize technology innovations, promote and protect intellectual property, fund new business concepts, finance growth, and expand into global markets.
Pumela received the inaugural Global Fellowship on Social Innovation to address poverty issues, from the Rockefeller Foundation. She is the founder of SourceAfrica, an Africa-wide initiative to promote viable business process outsourcing and ICT-enabled services.
She was a consultant for the World Bank and a director at the Department of Trade and Industry in South Africa. Before that, Pumela held the position of Deputy Director for Investment Promotion at Trade and Investment South Africa where she was responsible for attracting and negotiating with potential foreign investors to set up operations in South Africa.
Pumela has spoken at numerous international conference and seminars in United States, the Middle East, the Far East (including China), Africa and Europe and at the Silicon Valley in the areas of Clean Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Emerging Markets (BRICS), BPO and highlighting investment opportunities in Africa. She has been interviewed by VoiceAmerica and has been a guest speaker on various media discussing outsourcing to Africa. She is also an Advisory Board member of Youth In Action South Africa.
Raj Wanniappa is a Director of the Institute and is the Founder and Director of Agile Ventures Holdings based in Johannesburg, South Africa, which invests in telecommunications, big data and analytics and crypto currency initiatives throughout Africa. He worked at the Dimension Data Middle East and Africa Group for 11 years including roles as the General Manager of Big Data, Executive for Carrier Services at Internet Solutions and General Manager of Public Sector. Prior to Dimension Data, he was a senior manager at Accenture South Africa and an engineer at IBM/Celestica in Toronto, Canada. Raj has a B.Sc in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Toronto, Canada.
Raj is also closely involved with the Wi-Fi Forum of South Africa, a voluntary industry body comprising operators, service providers, technology providers and associated parties. The objectives of the Forum are the acceleration of the adoption of high-speed, reliable and cost-effective broadband services in South Africa. Its mission is to promote the effective utilization of Wi-Fi technologies in the delivery of ubiquitous, interoperable and seamless connectivity in South Africa.