Over 300 international speakers from Heads of States, Government and Business.
Dr. Agnes Kalibata
As President of AGRA, Dr. Kalibata leads the organization’s efforts with public and private partners to ensure a food secure and prosperous Africa through rapid, sustainable agricultural growth, improving the productivity and livelihoods of millions of smallholder farmers.
Prior to joining AGRA in September 2014, Dr. Kalibata was Rwanda’s Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI). In this role, she was widely considered to be one of the most successful Agriculture Ministers in sub-Saharan Africa. Dr. Kalibata has held several other leadership positions, including Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Agriculture and Deputy Vice Chancellor of University of Rwanda. She also worked for the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture in Uganda, and various other agricultural development organizations. She sits on various boards including the International Fertilizer Development Corporation (IFDC), Institute of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry, the Strategic Advisory Council of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH).
Dr. Kalibata has a distinguished track record as an agricultural scientist, policy maker and thought leader. She holds a doctorate in entomology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
Chairman and Founder, Econet and Board Chair, AGRA
Mr. Masiyiwa is from Zimbabwe and is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Econet Wireless International, based in Johannesburg, South Africa. He is also a Trustee of the Rockefeller Foundation. In 2002, Mr. Masiyiwa was named to the Time Magazine List of Most Influential People, and in March 2014, he was selected to Fortune Magazine’s list of the “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders.” He is one of Africa’s most influential figures, and a champion for the power of technology to improve the lives of millions of Africa’s smallholders.
Founding Chair of the Kofi Annan Foundation
Kofi Annan, the founding chair of the Kofi Annan Foundation, is a Nobel Peace Prize laureate and was the Secretary-General of the United Nations between 1997 and 2006. With the Foundation, Kofi Annan seeks to mobilise political will to overcome threats to peace, development and human rights. Mr. Annan is the Board Chair Emeritus of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, which works for a food secure and prosperous Africa by supporting smallholder farmers. He also chaired the African Progress Panel, which advocates for equitable and sustainable development in Africa, until its 2017 transition to Nigeria. Kofi Annan continues to serve as Chair of The Elders, an independent group of global leaders who work together for peace and human rights.
Dr. Jennifer Blanke
Vice-President, Agricultural, Human and Social Development, AfDB
Dr. Jennifer Blanke is Vice-President Agriculture, Human and Social Development at the African Development Bank Group, responsible for overseeing the Bank’s strategy and activities in this area. She was previously Chief Economist at the World Economic Forum, overseeing economic research activities and projects. She has written and lectured extensively on issues related to national competitiveness. Blanke holds a doctoral degree in International Economics from the Graduate Institute in Geneva, Switzerland, as well as a Master of International Affairs and International Economic Policy from Columbia University in New York.. She is also presently a member of the Canadian government’s Council of Economic Growth and holds a number of non-executive board responsibilities in the not-for-profit sector.
Founder, Tony Blair Institute
Tony Blair – Prime Minister, Great Britain and Northern Ireland (1997-2007)
Tony Blair is one of the most consequential global figures of our time.
Mr. Blair served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1997 to 2007, becoming the only Labour leader in the party’s 100 year history to win three consecutive elections. In doing so he redefined modern, progressive politics.
During his time in Downing Street Mr. Blair implemented a major domestic reform agenda. Through record investment and reform, the education and healthcare sectors were transformed. Mr. Blair’s New Labour Government implemented the largest hospital and school building programme since the creation of the UK’s welfare state. Overall crime was reduced by a third, and the first ever national minimum wage was introduced. There was also transformational progress on human rights and equality. All this while overseeing a period of record economic growth and levels of employment.
Mr. Blair was also a central figure on the global stage. He helped bring peace to Northern Ireland, securing the historic Good Friday Agreement in 1998. As a passionate advocate of an interventionist foreign policy, he took military action in Sierra Leone, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq. Mr. Blair created the Department for International Development, tripled the UK’s foreign aid to Africa, and introduced landmark legislation to tackle climate change.
In his post-office life Mr. Blair has remained at the very forefront of world affairs.
Over the last decade he has been focussed on addressing critical global challenges, including supporting African governments and their leaders to deliver effectively for their people and working towards Middle East peace as Quartet Representative.
In 2017, all Mr. Blair’s various areas of work formally came together as one not for profit organization; the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change.
The Institute builds on the legacy of Mr. Blair’s activities since leaving Downing Street.
It focuses on helping nations deliver effective governance for their people, tackling extremism and promoting peaceful co-existence, working to deliver long-term regional peace and security in the Middle East and on developing the policy answers to the challenges posed by the rise of populism and insecurity in the West.
Mr. Blair is at the forefront of today’s most challenging debates, such as how technology will impact the workforce, tackling issues of inequality in societies across the globe, and in particular, on Brexit.
Mr. Blair’s unparalleled international experience, both as Prime Minister and since leaving office, gives him a unique perspective on global events and the political insight to offer solutions to the critical challenges of our time.
Dr. Kanayo F. Nwanze
Former President, IFAD & Inaugural Africa Food Prize Winner
Madam Josefa Sacko
African Union Commissioner For Rural Economy And Agriculture
Senior Adviser and Head of Global Initiatives, Yara International
Arne Cartridge is a lead strategist and practitioner in developing public-private partnerships for a sustainable development. He is currently Senior Adviser and Head of Global Initiatives at Yara International. He previously held positions as the CEO of Grow Africa, Senior Director at the World Economic Forum, Executive Vice President with Yara International ASA, and has held senior management positions with Telenor, Gazette, and Digital Equipment Corp. Mr. Cartridge is the initiator of the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) and the Yara Prize, now the Africa Food Prize and has served as the Chair of the Board for the humanitarian organization CARE Norway, been on the board of CARE International, on the board of the Global Fairness Initiative and been acting Managing Director for the Food and Land Use Initiative at the World Business Council on Sustainable Development. Mr. Cartridge is the Chair of the Farm to Market Alliance (FtMA) and a member of the Management Team for the Food and Land Use Coalition (FOLU).
Dr. Ousmane Badiane
Africa Director, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)
Dr. Ousmane Badiane, recipient of the Africa Food Prize in 2015 and a Distinguished Fellow of the African Association of Agricultural Economists, is the Director for Africa at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). He oversees the institute’s programs and partnerships in Africa. As an Advisor to the NEPAD Secretariat from 2004 to 2007, he was instrumental in developing and guiding the implementation of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP). Before his current tenure at IFPRI, Dr. Badiane was Lead Specialist for Food and Agricultural Policy for the Africa Department at the World Bank and Adjunct Professor for Economics of Development in Africa at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies. Dr. Badiane received a Masters Degree and PhD in agricultural economics from the University of Kiel in Germany. He is also recipient of a Doctoral Degree Honoris Causa from the University of KwaZulu Natal in South Africa
Mr. Mostafa Terrab
Chairman and CEO of the OCP Group
Mr. Mostafa TERRAB has served since June 2008 as Chairman and CEO of the OCP Group, a global leader in the phosphate sector. After being appointed Director General of the Office Chérifien des Phosphates, OCP’s predecessor entity, in February 2006, he led its transformation from a state administration to a global corporation.
Mr. TERRAB’s distinguished career has spanned the public, private and university sectors and a range of expert fields. After an engineering degree from the École Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées (Paris, France 1979), he received an M.S. (1982) and Ph.D. (1990) from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Mr. TERRAB worked for Bechtel Civil and Minerals Inc. (1983/85) in San Francisco, California, as an analyst in transportation systems. From 1988 to 1990, he was a fellow of Draper Laboratory, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Between 1990 and 1992, he was an assistant professor at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York, where he held joint appointments in the Department of Decision Sciences and Engineering Systems and the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Between 1992 and 1998, Mr. TERRAB was an advisor in the Royal Cabinet, Rabat, a period during which he also served as Secretary General of the Middle East/North Africa Economic Summit.
In 1998, he was appointed as the first Director General of the Moroccan National Telecommunications Regulatory Agency (ANRT). He joined the World Bank in 2002 as Lead Regulatory Specialist in the Global Information and Communications Department; he also headed the World Bank’s Information for Development (INFODEV) program.
Prof. Richard Mkandawire
Director, Africa Secretariat Alliance for African Partnership (AAP) | Chairperson Malawi National Planning Commission.
Prof. Richard Mkandawire is a Socio-economist and a Rural Development expert. He is currently; the Director of the Alliance for African Partnership (AAP), Africa Secretariat and Chairman, Malawi Planning Commission. Before joining AAP, he worked as Vice President of the African Fertilizer and Agribusiness Partnership (AFAP) where he led a team of experts in driving innovative interventions for efficient and effective delivery of fertilizers among smallholder famers in Africa.
Prior to joining AFAP, Prof Mkandawire was Senior Advisor to the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), where he was the principal architect in the design of NEPAD’s Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP) and a catalyzer for its acceptance by African Heads of State and Donor Agencies. During CAADP’s critical initial decade, he served as CAADP’s heart and soul, as well as its public face.
Prof Mkandawire academic career includes teaching and research at Bunda College of Agriculture (LUANAR) where he was at the helm of leadership in the establishment of the Centre for Agriculture Research and Development (CARD). He also served as an external examiner to a number of Universities in East and Southern Africa.
Prof. Mkandawire development initiatives have been recognized across the continent. In 2008 he received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Kwazulu Natal for his work in spearheading the CAADP agenda and in 2008 he was an awardee of “Drivers of Change” for his leadership in driving CAADP acceptance by African Heads of State and Government and development partners. In 2012 the University of Pretoria appointed him as “Extra-Ordinary Professor” for his contribution to spearheading agriculture transformation in Africa.
Dr. Eleni Gabre-Madhin
CEO, Ethiopia Commodity Exchange
Research Fellow, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)
AECF Board Member
Anne-Marie has over 25 years’ experience in African financial and private sector development, with Development Finance Institutions, Consulting/Advisory Firms and Private Equity Funds, managing investment and development finance projects in 32 African Anglo, Franco and Luso-phone countries. She has worked during the course of her career for the World Bank, DFID and other DFIs. She joined, Alitheia IDF Managers as a Principal Partner and Co-Founder, to raise a US $100 million Pan-African private equity fund, anchored by the African Development Bank, for growth SMEs focusing on women led business. In recent years, she was CEO of the Financial Sector Deepening-Mozambique (FSDMoç) fund, financed by the UK Government’s Department for International Development (DFID), now acting as Advisor. She was also given the mandate to manage a distressed US $20 million Pan African private equity portfolio for micro-finance, AfriCap Micro-finance Investment Company, returning capital to shareholders.
As a leader in development finance, she sits on the Boards of the USD310million Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund, the Financial Sector Deepening Fund Africa, and Untu Micro-finance Bank-Zimbabwe. She is also an Africa Advisory Council Member of Women’s World Banking, past member of Making Finance Work for Africa-AfDB, and founding member of a Pan African network of Women in Finance, NFNV. Anne-Marie is a Zimbabwean, and holds a BSc Psychology, McGill University, Montreal and MA Economics, University of Toronto, Canada.
J. Scott Angle
President & CEO, IFDC
Dr. J. Scott Angle received his BS and MS at the University of Maryland in Agronomy and Soil Science, respectively. He obtained his PhD from the University of Missouri with an emphasis on Soil Microbiology.
Angle worked for 24 years as a Professor of Soil Science and administrator (Director of the Maryland Agricultural Experiment Station and Maryland Cooperative Extension) at the University of Maryland. His early work focused on the study of losses of nutrients from agro-ecosystems, and their impact on the Chesapeake Bay. He also studied the impact of heavy metals on the food chain with the goal of protecting our food supply from these harmful elements. Later he concentrated his studies on phytoremediation, the use of plants for extraction of heavy metals from soil. In 2005, he moved to Athens, Georgia, where he served as Dean and Director of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at the University of Georgia for 10 years. He is a fellow in the American Society of Agronomy and the Soil Science Society of America. He is also a Fulbright Fellow having worked at the Rothamsted (Research) Experimental Station, in the UK.
Currently, he is the President and CEO of the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC), where he oversees a staff of over 800 and coordinates development projects in diverse regions of the world. IFDC provides solutions to alleviate global hunger and poverty through the promotion of economic development and self-sufficiency.
Founder and CEO, Gro Intelligence
Sara Menker is founder and CEO of Gro Intelligence, a technology company that is bridging data gaps across the global agriculture sector, empowering decision makers and creating a more informed, connected, efficient and productive global agriculture industry.
Prior to founding Gro, Menker was a vice president in Morgan Stanley’s commodities group. She began her career in commodities risk management, where she covered all commodity markets, and she subsequently moved to trading, where she managed a trading portfolio.
Menker is a trustee of the Mandela Institute For Development Studies (MINDS) and a trustee of the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT). She was named a Global Young Leader by the World Economic Forum and is a fellow of the African Leadership Initiative of the Aspen Institute.
Menker received a B.A. in Economics and African Studies at Mount Holyoke College and the London School of Economics and an M.B.A. from Columbia University.
Daniel is a seasoned development finance professional with more than 25 years-experience of global senior leadership in private sector enterprise development, partnership and resource mobilization, management consulting, manufacturing, logistics and oil & gas across Africa. He also has significant prior operations experience at the African Development Bank Group. Prior to AECF, Daniel was the CEO of an SME funding micro-finance entity focused on deepening financial inclusion. His diverse experience cuts across both the public and private sector, with strong interest in SME development. He has lived in West, East, North and Southern Africa. He is a mechanical engineer and holds an M.B.A. in strategic management and an MSc in finance.
Co-Founder, and CEO, of Twiga
Grant Brooke is co-Founder, and CEO, of Twiga. Twiga is a mobile based B2B platform for small and medium size vendors to purchase stock from, and farmers to list their products. Twiga is currently Kenya’s largest seller of bananas, potatoes, tomatoes, and other staple commodities. Since its founding in 2014, Twiga has grown serve 8,000 outlets a week, employ over 400 staff, and source from farmers with collection sites in 20 Kenyan counties. Twiga’s work has been highlighted in the Financial Times, BBC, CNN, and Bloomberg. In 2018, Twiga was recognized as Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies in Africa and the Africa CEO Forum’s Most Promising Company.
Prof. John W. Mellor
Cornell University and President of John Mellor Associates
He is currently Professor Emeritus, Cornell University and President of John Mellor Associates, Inc. a policy consulting firm. Prior to that he was founding Director General of the International Food Policy Research Institute, Chief Economist of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID/Washington,) and Vice-President of Abt Associates. At Cornell University he is now Professor Emeritus, and was Professor of Agricultural Economics, Economics, and Asian Studies, Director of the Comparative Economics Program and Associate Director and Acting Director of the Center for International Studies. He received degrees from Cornell University and Oxford University. He was the recipient of the Wihuri Prize (Finland) and the Presidential Award (The Reagan White House, USA) for efforts to alleviate hunger in the World and is an elected Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Agricultural Economics Association. He is the recipient of numerous awards for the quality of his research, the author and co-author of ten books, and hundreds of journal articles and conference papers (largely on economic and agricultural development.)
Ms Margarita Astralaga
Director Environment Climate, Gender and Social Inclusion Division/IFAD
Margarita Astrálaga is the Director of the Environment, Climate, Gender and Social Inclusion Division and joined IFAD in 2015.
She is a Colombian biologist, specialized in environmental management from the Danish Water Institute, with a Masters in Regional Development Planning.
She has more than two decades of experience in the environment and sustainable development sector, including a wide-range of responsibilities, at the national and international levels.
The first part of her career was devoted to the Colombian Environmental Agency and after that she has worked with several international organizations on sustainable development and environmental sustainability in several continents.
Member of the CPC Leading Group of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of the People’s Republic of China
Wu Hongyao, male, born in 1964, is currently Member of the CPC Leading Group of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of the People’s Republic of China. He has long been engaged in the research on China’s agricultural and rural policies, and worked for the Ministry of Agriculture, the General Office of the State Council and the Office of the Central Rural Work Leading Group prior to his current post.
Dr. Joseph D. DeVries
Vice President for Program Development and Innovation, AGRA
Dr. Joseph D. DeVries is the Vice President for Program Development and Innovation at the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).
Dr. DeVries, a citizen of the USA, began his career in Africa in 1986 as a United Nations volunteer building irrigated rice schemes in drought-afflicted areas of West Africa’s northern Sahel region. In the late 1980s and early 1990s he delivered seed of staple food crops and technical assistance to Mozambican farmers trapped behind the front lines of the country’s civil war.
He earned a PhD in plant breeding and genetics at Cornell University in 1994, after which he joined World Vision International as Director for Food Security in Africa, based in Accra, Ghana, leading the development of agricultural recovery and development activities in 20 countries. In 1997, he joined The Rockefeller Foundation, where he developed a new initiative focused on genetic improvement of African crops and a farmer demand-driven system.
In 2006, while serving as Deputy Director for Agriculture with The Rockefeller Foundation, he led a team that developed the business plan for the “Program for African Seed Systems” (PASS), which became the first program of the newly-formed AGRA. Over a period of 10 years, with DeVries serving as its Director, the PASS initiative invested nearly $300 million in the development of public crop breeding and private sector-led seed supply in 18 countries of Africa. By 2016, 119 private, independent seed companies supported by AGRA were annually producing approximately 126,000 MT of certified seed, serving the needs of approximately 15 million smallholder farmers. The PASS-supported network of seed companies is the largest source of certified seed to farmers in Africa.
Dr. DeVries currently oversees AGRA program investments in the areas of seed and fertilizer systems, agricultural extension, input supply, capacity building, resilience and innovative finance.
Professor of Contemporary Indonesia Studies at Leiden University (Netherlands)
David Henley is Professor of Contemporary Indonesia Studies at Leiden University (Netherlands). A Southeast Asia specialist by training, he played a leading role in an international research project, sponsored by the Netherlands government and the Overseas Development Institute (London), on the comparative historical development trajectories of multiple African and Southeast Asian countries. He is author of Asia-Africa development divergence: a question of intent (London: Zed Books, 2015), in which he argues that small farmers were much more central to Asian development success than is often assumed. He advocates pro-rural, pro-agricultural, and pro-poor development strategies based on the three guiding principles of outreach (‘quantity, not quality’), urgency (‘priorities, not plans’), and expediency (‘results, not rules’). He admires both the aims and the achievements of those African countries, notably Ethiopia and Rwanda, which have already embraced such strategies to good effect.