Professor, Esq. CEO, Afrocosmo Development Impact, LLC, Maryland, USA (co moderator)
Val Okaru-Bisant ( Valentina or Prof. OB) has over 15 years of high-level advisory & work experience in economic development, business, trade, water and gender sectors. She is the CEO & Founder of Afrocosmo Development Impact, LLC, a company with a mission to achieve impactful, inclusive and long term sustainable development through delivery of quality advisory due diligence, research, match-making, training and advisory services to small & medium enterprises & governments in trade, investments and development space. Val is also an adjunct professor at the Catholic University of America & taught for several years at the George Washington University, the Elliott School of International Affairs, Washington DC. She has over 15 business and scholarly publications & has private sector & World Bank experience. She also moderates & presents her research at many high -level meetings & conferences. She was one of the pioneering members of Jean-Roger Mercier’s initial World Bank project environmental review team that categorized and reviewed project compliance with Bank procedures. She & her team started the process of formulating World Bank operational policies, including OP 7.50 (international waters), OP 4.01 (environmental assessment and OP 4.12 (involuntary resettlement). She & her World Bank team (Pauline and Mike) also monitored & supervised the $300 multi-donor financed RUSAFIYA water supply project & within the framework of the project, they introduced the concept of community based participation to World Bank management (as referenced in Maggi Black, Learning What Works, A Twenty Year View on International Water & Sanitation Cooperation). Her 2011 published law review article also spearheaded the concept of corruption risk insurance coverage which some prominent Banks adopted in their portfolios.
Val has: 1) a Doctor of Science of Law from Stanford Law School – Stanford University, where she was a recipient of a fellowship grant award from the Morrison Institute for Population and Resources Studies & from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; 2) a Masters in International Relations from Tufts University, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy; 3) a Master of Laws from the London School of Economics; and 4) a Bachelor of Laws (Honors) from University of Jos. She also has a Certificate in French language from the C.A.V.E.L, University of Nice. She is a licensed attorney with bar admissions in the United States (Connecticut) and Nigeria. Val is on the advisory committee and board of several organizations. She is also an Editorial Board member of the Journal of Environmental Economics, Business Perspectives, Ukraine.