William Asiko joined The Rockefeller Foundation in 2019 as the Managing Director of the Africa Region Office.
William is an experienced, results-oriented leader of international development institutions with both private and public-sector experience. William started his career as an attorney for the Government of Kenya’s external resources department, handling transactions between the Government and international development finance institutions and monitoring the implementation of the obligations placed on the Government. William then moved to the private sector and, in a career spanning nearly 20 years with The Coca-Cola Company, held various positions in several countries, including the United States, Kenya, Morocco, the United Kingdom and South Africa. In 2007, William was appointed President of The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation based in Johannesburg, South Africa, managing programs in more than 30 countries across Africa, which he held for six years until May 2013.
William was formerly the Executive Director of GrowAfrica, an innovative agricultural development partnership between the World Economic Forum, the African Union and NEPAD that accelerates private sector investment into African agriculture. GrowAfrica runs over 40 programs in different value chains across 12 countries in Africa with an ambitious growth plan to take the Grow Africa model across all countries in Africa.
Before this, William spent 3.5 years in Tanzania as Chief Executive Officer of The Investment Climate Facility for Africa (ICF), a pan African development organization that works with African Governments to remove barriers to greater private sector investment in their countries. ICF ran 75 programs across 21 countries in Africa before completing its mandate in 2016.
William serves on the Discovery Channel’s foundation boards, the Discovery Learning Alliance in Washington DC and Isha Sesay’s women’s empowerment foundation, W.E. Can Lead in New York, USA. William also previously served on the boards of the African Leadership Academy in South Africa and Rotarians For Family Health & Aids Prevention, Inc. (RFHA) in Atlanta, USA, respectively. In 2010, William was appointed by the President of the Republic of Togo to the International Investment Advisory Council of Togo. In that capacity, he advised the Togolese Cabinet on investment and development matters.
Before joining Coca-Cola, William served five years as State Counsel in the Office of the Attorney General for Kenya and two years as a partner in the law firm of Hamilton Harrison & Mathews in Nairobi, Kenya. William earned a law degree from the University of Nairobi in 1987 and an MBA from Emory University’s Goizueta Business School in the United States in 2005. He is a non-practising member of the Kenya Bar
His prior experiences in each sector give him a unique ability to navigate different cultures, align incentives and draw on the particular strengths of a wide range of actors to solve large-scale development challenges. Today William is working to deploy philanthropic capital to attract private sector commercial investment and align public sector resources to help end energy poverty in Africa by 2030 and lift the incomes of millions of farmers across the continent. He is also using the Rockefeller Foundation’s convening power to bring together Governments, development partners and the private sector to ensure equitable and efficient COVID-19 vaccine delivery in Africa at both the continental and national levels.
William is an avid advocate for efficient and sustainable economic development in Africa. He firmly believes that Africa will only truly transform when its growth story stops being Africa Rising and starts to be Africans Rising. He believes that development is multifaceted and must take a multi-sectoral approach and have a strong emphasis on women and youth to be sustainable and impactful.
As the youngest continent globally, Africa must ensure that women and young people are at the Centre of economic development. For this to succeed, William believes that mentorship is a critical part of Africa’s transformation story. Empowering women and youth is empowering the entire society. With his varied experience, he knows he can help young people exploit their full potential and achieve their goals through mentorship.
Apr 13 2023Blog Post Africa, Rich in Resources, Can Become a Climate Champion The images of Africans facing drought, floods, or climate-triggered hunger always hit hard. But that is not the full picture. Africa should be viewed as a potential climate champion, not a climate victim. Shifting this narrative is a key part of The Rockefeller Foundation’s Global Economic Recovery work. Certainly, climate change pummels the African continent […] William Asiko May 06 2020Blog Post Working Together to Help Africa Fight Covid-19 As numbers of Covid-19 cases on the African continent have risen, African leaders have responded by implementing a range of prevention and containment measures. As of April 19th, several African countries had either imposed night-time curfews, partial lockdowns, and in cases like South Africa and Rwanda, full national lockdowns. For the most part, and perhaps […] William Asiko