Executive Team

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Issa Baluch, Chairman

Issa S. Baluch founded Swift Freight International in 1989, one of the top freight logistics providers in the Middle East & Africa, pioneering the thriving sea-air combined transport multi-modal freight business that has shaped the industry in the UAE. He helped found and served as President of the National Association of Freight Logistics (NAFL), and from 2003-2005 served as President of the Zurich based, International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations (FIATA).

Mr. Baluch has authored two previous books, Transport Logistics: Past, Present and Predictions, and Transport Logistics, the wheel of Commerce.

Mr. Baluch has served as a Senior Fellow of the Harvard University Advanced Leadership Initiative and was recently appointed to the Dean’s Council of the Harvard Kennedy School. In 2016, Baluch was appointed visiting chair Professor of the National Taiwan Ocean University. He currently serves as the Chairman of First Hectares Capital, and the Chairman of AKILI, the Agribusiness Knowledge and Innovation Leadership Initiative.

Issa holds an MBA from the University of Hull (UK).

Jon Vandenheuvel, CEO

Jon Vandenheuvel is CEO of First Hectares Capital, an infrastructure development company focused on Africa and the Middle East. First Hectares is working to develop infrastructure and financing for small farm clusters and economic systems in Malawi and Somalia, with a special emphasis on refugees and IDPs. He is co-founder of AKILI, the non-profit Agribusiness Knowledge, Innovation and Leadership Initiative, and he recently served as an MIT Visiting Scholar for African Urbanism.  He is also co-founder of Africa Atlantic Franchise Farms in Ghana, a laboratory farming operation on the shoreline of Lake Volta.

Mr. Vandenheuvel started his career on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., serving as Executive Director of the Republican Conference of the U.S. House of Representatives for then-Chairman, U.S. Congressman J.C. Watts of Oklahoma.  Earlier, he served as Chief of Staff for US Congressman Pete Hoekstra of Michigan.

Jon holds a masters degree from Johns Hopkins University (Maryland) and bachelor’s degree from Wheaton College (Illinois).

New Book: Africa Risk Dashboard 


By Issa Baluch & Jon Vandenheuvel (www.riskdashboard.org)