Rockefeller Foundation appoints new head of Africa operations

Friday January 10 2020

William Asiko, the managing director of the Africa regional office, Rockefeller Foundation. PHOTO | COURTESY

By The EastAfrican

The Rockefeller Foundation has appointed William Asiko as the managing director of the Africa regional office.

In a statement on Thursday, the Washington-based foundation said Mr Asiko will supervise its regional operations from the Nairobi office.

“William will oversee all Africa regional operations for the Foundation from the Nairobi office. William brings over three decades of international development experience spanning the private and public sectors,” said the statement.

Prior to his appointment, Asiko worked as the executive director of Grow Africa, a convener that works to accelerate private sector investment into African agriculture.

“William’s expertise and deep relationships with civil society, private and public sector leaders across Africa make him an ideal person to lead our work in the Africa region,” said Steve VanRoekel, Chief Operating Officer at The Rockefeller Foundation.

“He has also proven himself a results-oriented leader of international development through a number of high-impact public service roles. I am confident that he will be instrumental in helping us scale our impact from the Nairobi office.”


Acknowledging his appointment, Asiko said he was anticipating to strengthen existing partnerships and creating new opportunities.

“I am honored to be leading The Rockefeller Foundation’s Africa regional office...many of the Foundation’s core programs, from health to food, have been instrumental in bettering the lives of communities across sub-Saharan Africa. I look forward to strengthening our existing partnerships in the region and unearthing new opportunities to grow the Foundation’s impact in Africa,” said Mr Asiko.

Under his leadership at Grow Africa, the organisation ran over 40 programs across 12 countries in Africa with an ambitious growth plan to take the its model across the continent.

Prior to this role, Asiko spent 20 years with Coca-Cola working in several positions in the United States, United Kingdom, Kenya, Morocco and South Africa.

In 2007, he was appointed president of The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation—based in Johannesburg—managing programs in more than 30 countries across Africa until May 2013.

He also served in Tanzania as CEO of The Investment Climate Facility for Africa (ICF), a pan African development organisation that works with African governments to remove barriers to greater private sector investment in their countries.

He spent five years as State Counsel in the Office of the Attorney General for Kenya, and was appointed by the Togolese president to the International Investment Advisory Council of Togo to advise the Togolese Cabinet on investment and development matters.

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.