M-RCBG Senior Fellow-Led Study Group: Patrick Okigbo

Wednesday, April 28, 12:00-1:00pm
Zoom meeting; registration required. Please use a Harvard.edu email address, if available.

Africa continues to underperform other continents.  Democracy has a significant (albeit indirect) effect on development outcomes.  The impact depends on high integrity elections that create the incentives for public officials to deliver public goods.  Despite challenges with elections, 68 percent of Africans still prefer democracy over other forms of government.  But the voting technologies continue to deliver low integrity elections.  Although the compromise of any stage of the voting cycle could be detrimental to the entire process, for Africa, election day issues (with vote casting, vote counting, and result announcement) are the most significant challenges.  Are there innovative technologies that can ensure high-integrity elections?  The ubiquity of mobile phones in the continent, with about a 45 percent penetration rate, raises some possibilities.  The study group will explore how to leverage blockchain technology to improve election integrity and minimize the impact of any central authorities on the results.  The session will consider the elements that must be in place for such technologies to work.

Patrick Okigbo III headshotPatrick O. Okigbo III is the Founder of Nextier, a public policy advisory firm and think-tank, focused on improving governance and development outcomes in Africa.  Patrick started his career in Nigeria in 1998 with Diamond Bank Plc. before joining Accenture where he worked with financial services clients across West Africa.  He was part of the team that advised on the first electronic payment processing platform in Nigeria. Patrick joined the Management Associate Programme at Citigroup in New York City in 2003 and worked in different capacities including providing services to the U.S. government.  He left Citigroup as a Vice President in 2007 to join Transcorp Plc. in Nigeria as the Chief Financial Officer.  He led efforts to restructure the firm’s finances and to start-up two new ventures in agro-processing and hospitality.  In 2010, Patrick served as a Senior Special Assistant to the President of Nigeria; focused on reforming the country’s electricity industry.  In 2011, he founded Nextier.  The firm works with major government institutions and international development programmes.  It is the local implementing partner on the two largest infrastructure-focused development programmes in Nigeria.  It has grants from top foundations (MacArthur Foundation and Open Society Initiative for West Africa) to its support research and advocacy activities. Patrick has a Bachelor of Agriculture degree from the University of Nigeria, an MBA from Emory University, and an Executive Masters in Public Administration from the London School of Economics.  He sits on the board of Tenece, a technology services firm with operations in four African countries and Dubai.  He is a Global Advisor to Energy for Growth Hub, a Washington D.C.-based energy solutions institution.  Patrick serves on several government committees and trusted advisor to several public officials.  He writes a regular blog on public policy and is widely published in newspapers.  Patrick is married to Awele and they are blessed with four children. As a Senior Fellow, Patrick’s research will be on Rebuilding the Falling House: Technology Innovations and Africa’s Renaissance.  His faculty sponsor is John Haigh, Co-Director, Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government, and Lecturer in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. Email:  pokigbo@hks.harvard.edu