Comparative Political Economy Research
Wilmot Allen is an experienced emerging market entrepreneur, investor and political economist. Wilmot works both as a practitioner and researcher with experience across 40 countries in Africa and over 20 years of experience as an investment professional in the US and emerging markets. Based in Nairobi, Wilmot has a PhD from Georgetown University in Comparative Political Economy, an MBA from the Wharton Business School, an MPA from Harvard University and BA from Yale University. He has served as an adjunct lecturer at the Chandaria School of Business at USIU-Africa (Kenya), held research appointments or fellowships at the Fletcher School at Tufts University (SovereigNET), Johns Hopkins SAIS and Wits University (South Africa). He is a frequent commentator on African affairs related to investment, trade, sovereign wealth funds, diaspora engagement and innovation in tech, energy, the creative economy and healthcare among other sectors across Africa. Wilmot was selected as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. He is co-author of the 2022 Sovereign Wealth Fund Index by Konfidants and of the forthcoming Sovereign Wealth Funds and the New State Capitalism in Africa with Michael Kottoh (Palgrave MacMillan).
Wilmot is Founder of VentureLift Africa (VLA), a venture studio with an advisory firm (VLA Capital Advisors) facilitating investment, trade, tech transfer, market entry and expansion for SMEs, startups and corporates. As a trade program implementation partner with DAI and USAID, VLA provides information services educational training on the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) in order to facilitate commercial deals between buyers and suppliers. Wilmot is also Managing Director for Africa with DGrid Energy (a VLA Venture Studio Company), a solar power-based cold storage company with operations in the US, India and Africa. In the creative sector in Africa, Wilmot is Co-Founder of the International Writer’s Lab (IWL), an accelerator program that showcases African writing talent, connects the African film and television ecosystems to Hollywood creative talent and content buyers, facilitates deals for writers and catalyzes job creation and investment into the creative sector. Wilmot is a Venture Partner with RH Managers (RH Bophelo) based in Johannesburg, a private equity fund investing in healthcare across Southern and Eastern Africa. Wilmot is Founder of the Africa Healthcare and Biotech Alliance, a platform for curating Diaspora investment into Africa and linking Diaspora life scientists with their counterparts in Africa for research collaboration, innovation and institution-building. Wilmot was recently a management consultant to the African Union Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to create the strategy, fundraising and operational plan for its new Africa Public Health Foundation (APHF) and served on the CDC COVID-19 Response Taskforce. Wilmot’s other prior roles in healthcare include genomics company Co-Founder, management consultant to the R&D division of Allergan Pharmaceuticals and a clinical researcher with Proctor & Gamble. Prior, in financial services, Wilmot worked with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) in Washington DC, executing investments totaling over $300 million and managing a portfolio of $2.5 billion with the private equity, financial institutions and infrastructure groups. At the IFC, he was also Senior Advisor to the CEO Lars Thunell on entrepreneurship initiatives supporting SMEs in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
In other roles, Wilmot executed over $4 billion in combined transactions as a venture capital investor with the Commonwealth Enterprise Fund in Boston, a technology M&A investment banker with JPMorgan in San Francisco, and a private placement and IPO investment banker with Merrill Lynch in New York. Wilmot also worked as the Director of East Africa with CrossBoundary LLC, leading the transaction advisory practice for East Africa from Nairobi. Under his leadership, this group served as the transaction team for the East Africa Trade and Investment Hub. Prior, he worked on various engagements to strengthen intra-Africa trade and FDI in roles with COMESA (Zimbabwe) and the Foreign Investment Network (Nigeria).