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James Woods

Senior Advisor
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James Woods is an African affairs consultant and a strategic communications expert, recognised for his multifaceted career spanning sports, business, politics, and governance. As Partner and Director at Rainbow Sports Global, he has played a critical role in positioning the company as a leading Pan-African sports enterprise, specialising in sports management, marketing, and media solutions for African football and sport in general.

Woods' career is marked by contributions to Africa-EU relations through his four years posting as a senior diplomat for the Embassy of Malawi to Belgium and the European Union. His role encompassed intricate diplomatic engagements with key European nations including France, Principality of Monaco, Andorra, Italy, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands, as well as with various international bodies (FAO; IFAD; OPCW; UNESCO; ACP; ICC; ICJ to name a few) and government institutions. Has worked on promoting good governance in Africa through his three year tenure at the Mo Ibrahim Foundation. He also served as an Advisor at Invest Africa (formally known as Business Council for Africa) and offers regular analysis on Africa’s political and socio-economic affairs on television, radio and print. 

Woods has provided strategic counsel in presidential elections across Africa. His work has extended to the private sector where he has offered services in due diligence, communications, market entry, and governmental relations.

In addition to these roles, Woods has collaborated with governments on strategic communications and investment, leveraging his diplomatic experience and deep understanding of African markets to foster positive outcomes in international relations and economic development.

In 2015, he was honoured with the prestigious African Achiever of the Year award at the African Achievers Awards in Johannesburg, South Africa, a recognition he shared with notable figures such as President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania and Chairwoman of the African Union, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma. The following year, he was celebrated with the Malawi Rising Star Award by the Malawi Achievers Awards in the UK.

He is an Archbishop Desmond Tutu Fellow and holds a bachelor’s degree in Politics, Philosophy and History from the University of London; an MSc in Social Policy and Development from the London School of Economics and Political Science; received high level training and certifications in Diplomacy; Strategic Communications and Crisis Management from the Clingendael Institute of International Affairs in the Netherlands. He is currently completing a two-year Executive MBA (completion in latter part of 2024) at the University of Oxford, Saïd Business School.

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