Africa Practice

About us

We are a strategic advisory firm dedicated to developing inclusive markets that work for underserved communities, and united by our mission to play a leading role in building a prosperous Africa that inspires the world.

For 20 years we have been capacitating organisations to quantify value at stake, understand the political economy, spot trends and opportunities, and engage within systems to shape policy outcomes that solve social problems and deliver inclusive growth.

Our approach is rooted in a deep appreciation of stakeholder landscapes, power relationships and market systems, as well as a conviction that sustainable performance depends on building trust, respecting the environment and co-creating solutions to unlock value for all.

We have a track record of partnering with public, private and philanthropic organisations to address complex business and development challenges. 

We have helped raise sovereign debt capital to finance national development plans; developed scenarios to forecast the effects of changes to the political-economy on global commodities markets; secured regulatory approval for new technology standards;  and designed and executed successful advocacy campaigns that accelerate digitalisation and decarbonisation, and improve human health. See our Case Studies here.

Our People

Africa Practice people are multi-lingual strategists, political and policy analysts, regulatory specialists, digital and data scientists, economists, strategic communicators, advocates, and citizens. We apply our diverse range of skill sets and perspectives to complex business and development challenges. 

Marcus Courage
Marcus Courage
CEO

Marcus founded Africa Practice in 2003, with a mission to drive more capital flows to and within Africa, and to co-create markets for the private sector to deliver goods and services to underserved communities.
He is experienced in capacitating organisations to quantify value at stake and engage institutional decision makers to co-create policies that spur innovation, catalyse investments and strengthen resilience. Prior to founding Africa Practice, Marcus served as director of international affairs for a NYSE-listed firm, helping governments and donors to galvanise support for policy reforms and realise public diplomacy goals.
A graduate of Manchester University (BA Hons in Political Sciences). Marcus lives in Gaborone, and speaks French.

Natalie Maule
Natalie Maule
Director, Strategic communications and People

Natalie is responsible for the quality of consulting solutions across the Group.
She specialises in designing and delivering strategies to build trust and confidence in innovative new business and impact models.
Natalie provides strategic counsel to founders and CEOs at inflection points where there is significant value at stake, including market-entry, capital-raising and in sensitive or crisis scenarios. She has a 17-year track record of consulting for blue chip corporates and private equity funds across a range of sectors. She has advised three African governments and several global philanthropic foundations.
Natalie holds a first class degree in Modern Languages from the University of Oxford. She speaks French and German.

Richard Kiplagat
Richard Kiplagat
Director, East Africa

Richard directs strategic client assignments throughout East Africa, and leads business development activities for the group.
He has more than 27 years of experience advising at the intersection of markets and the state. Prior to joining Africa Practice, Richard worked at Microsoft Africa as the Head of Global Strategic Alliances and also worked with SAP as the East African Regional Manager.
Richard has an Economics and Political Science degree from the University of Toronto, Canada. He speaks French and Kiswahili.

Tim Newbold
Tim Newbold
Director, West Africa

Tim has more than 16 years’ experience in strategy, public policy advocacy, corporate and financial communications.
He advises leading TMT industry operators, global philanthropic foundations, financial services and energy companies.
Tim spent his early career as a researcher and advisor in the British parliament. He holds a BSc (Hons) degree in Politics and International Relations from the University of Manchester.
Tim has been resident in Lagos, Nigeria since 2007.

Steen Joffe
Steen Joffe
Director, Digital and Data

Steen directs our digital technologies and data science practice.
He specialises in applying cloud computing and data services to tackle real world social and economic challenges.
Steen has more than 20 years experience, leading and resourcing technology teams on complex system builds for some of the world's leading brands. Prior to joining Africa Practice he managed, consulted and published on policy and practice of innovation systems and technology enabled development for international foundations and agencies including FCDO, the World Bank and UNDP.

Shaheed Khaki
Shaheed Khaki
Finance Director

Shaheed leads the group’s finance team.
He has a wealth of experience across the African continent and the United Kingdom, specialising in financial accounting and structures, finance management, business risk and corporate tax planning.
Shaheed has proven success in implementing efficient costing frameworks, managing liquidity and forex exposures, as well as the development of processes to ensure true value for money.
He is a qualified Chartered Accountant with a BSc (Hons) degree in accounting and finance from the University of Birmingham.

Margarita Dimova
Margarita Dimova
Chief of Staff

Margarita directs the group’s intelligence and analysis work, coordinating a team of political-economy analysts.
She has 12+ years’ risk and strategic advisory experience, focusing on sub-Saharan Africa.
Margarita specialises in telecommunications and technology, as well as social impact. She has led hundreds of complex cross-jurisdictional projects for blue-chip clients looking to scale up, navigate challenging environments or anticipate compound risks.
Margarita has a PhD in African Politics from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. She speaks Kiswahili and French.

Marie Wilke
Marie Wilke
Director, Southern Africa

Marie directs the group’s Public Policy and Regulatory Affairs work, and manages our Southern Africa operations.
She has 15+ years experience in global, regional and national policy advisory and advocacy.
Marie has advised blue chip clients, UN institutions and governments, and represented clients in international and national negotiations, legal proceedings and policy making processes. She has facilitated coordinated public-private responses to pressing economic, health and environmental crises.
Marie is a trade and investment lawyer by training and holds an LLB from the Hanse Law School and an LLM from Helsinki University (summa cum laude). She speaks French.

Tewodros Sile
Tewodros Sile
Associate Director

Tewodros is an Associate Director within the group’s Intelligence and Analysis team.
He has 10 years’ experience in management consulting, with the past 7+ focused on risk analysis and advisory across sub-Saharan Africa.
Tewodros is experienced in helping clients assess and navigate political, regulatory and reputational risks across sub-Saharan Africa, with a focus on East and Horn of Africa.
He holds an MA in International Studies and Diplomacy from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London and an MA in Social and Political Sciences from the University of Cambridge. He is a native speaker of Amharic and Tigrinya.

Magdalene Kariuki
Magdalene Kariuki
Associate Director

Magdalene is an Associate Director at Africa Practice East Africa, based in Nairobi. She is a public policy expert with over 15 years of progressive knowledge and expertise in government affairs and strategies. She has developed and driven aggressive growth strategies for development and commercial clients alike, advocating for resource mobilisation and human rights, inter alia.


Magdalene is an advocate of the High Court of Kenya and a member of the East Africa Law Society, with certifications in climate change and sustainability, mediation, arbitration, migration policy, regional trade, gender studies, ICT law and policy, sports and entertainment law, and finance, among others.


Before joining Africa Practice, she worked in the public policy and regulatory space working with both private and public sectors to develop conducive regulatory frameworks that support investment and business development.

Kimera Chetty
Kimera Chetty
Associate Director

Kimera is an Associate Director in our Public Policy and Regulatory Affairs (PPRA) practice, specialising in regulatory monitoring, analysis and engagement. A legal professional with particular expertise in legislative processes, legal and policy analysis, and strategic litigation, she has professional experience in both the public and private sectors.

Before joining Africa Practice, she completed her articles of clerkship at a commercial litigation law firm, worked in the contracts directorate of a provincial government department, and then as a legal researcher at South Africa's foremost constitutional law think tanks. Kimera has, by invite, engaged directly with parliamentary committees on numerous bills, providing input on legislative drafting, constitutional and legal analysis, and policy recommendations. Her research focuses on public institutions, governance and accountability, as well as participatory democracy.

She holds an LLB from the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

Nick Branson
Nick Branson
Associate Director

Nick is an Associate Director in Africa Practice’s Intelligence and Analysis team, based in London. He has over a decade of experience advising senior decision-makers across anglophone, francophone and lusophone Africa, including heads of state and government and company boards.

Nick leads our work on the energy transition, which includes advising international investors in energy and mining projects navigate complex political, regulatory and macroeconomic risks. He has a strong network across the continent, having previously advised African political parties on their policy development strategies, and worked at an Africa-focused think tank.

Nick holds a MA in International Studies and Diplomacy, and a MPhil in African Politics from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. He speaks fluent French and intermediate Spanish and Portuguese.

Helina Tirfie
Helina Tirfie
Associate Director

Helina is an Associate Director in Dakar and is responsible for supporting Africa Practice’s growth in West and Central Africa. She has over 15 years of experience in the development sector where she specialised in managing and coordinating donor-funded projects. Her expertise includes providing technical and programme support to beneficiaries, promoting the development and dissemination of best practices, fostering partnerships, and overseeing relationship management.

Helina has worked with various international organisations including UN-Habitat, UNAIDS, and the World Bank. Her career spans multiple regions in Africa, notably in East Africa (Kenya), West and Central Africa (Senegal, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Togo, Ghana, and Mauritania).

Helina holds an MSc in Development Studies with a specific focus on HIV/AIDS in southern Africa from Wits University and an MBA in International Business Management, earned from the University of Nairobi.

Raphael Sourt
Raphael Sourt
Associate Director

After working for the French Development Agency (AFD), Raphael embarked on his journalistic journey in East Africa, commencing in Nairobi with the French department of the BBC World Service. Following a period at the BBC headquarters in London, he joined Africa Practice in 2010. There, he assumed the role of Regional Director for Central Africa, with his operational base in Libreville.

In 2014, Raphael transitioned to the role of Communications Africa Director at Kinross Gold Corporation, a global leader in gold mining. His responsibilities encompassed communication oversight in Mauritania and Ghana, while his professional home was the Canary Islands. In 2019, Raphael returned to Africa Practice, this time as an Associate Director, lending his expertise to specific projects in Central and Southern Africa.

Raphael is a distinguished academic, holding an MA in Contemporary History and International Relations from the University of Human Sciences of Toulouse, and an MA in International Commerce from the ISC Paris Business School. Raphael is also a reverse officer in the French Army.

Samuel Ayiro
Samuel Ayiro
Talent Development Lead

Samuel is the Talent Development Lead at Africa Practice where he is responsible for the Design, Development and Deployment of people focused enablement initiatives across the employee life cycle that ensure the organization has the best collection of talent equipped with the skills to develop innovative solutions for all the clients served. He has over 18 years of experience in capability building across various industries.

Prior to joining Africa Practice, Samuel worked in the Financial Services Sector where he most recently led the Learning, Development, and Talent function for KCB Bank Group.

He holds an MBA from Oral Roberts University, USA, and is a Certified Executive Coach.

Emmanuel Balogun
Emmanuel Balogun
Associate Director

Emmanuel has over 13 years of experience supporting companies to achieve their strategic missions through communications, advocacy, reputation management, and stakeholder engagement. He drives mission-led engagement strategies across various sectors for development summits, development banks, and international, regional, and national campaigns, and specialises in Development Finance, Financial Services, Infrastructure, Technology, and Sustainability.

He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Anthropology from Goldsmiths College, University of London and a Masters in African Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London.