H.E. Jakaya Kikwete announced as Africa Food Prize Chair
2023 Nominations for Africa’s preeminent award for food security now open
ADDIS ABABA, 17 February 2023 – Former President of the United Republic of Tanzania, H.E. Dr.
Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, has been announced as the new Chair of the Africa Food Prize (AFP). He will
succeed former Nigerian President, H.E. Olusegun Obasanjo, who has been serving as the AFP Chair
Welcoming the appointee, outgoing Chair, H.E. Obasanjo expressed enthusiasm noting that through
his work, H.E. Kikwete has shown a genuine passion and dedication towards transforming Africa’s
“I congratulate Dr. Kikwete on his appointment as Chair of the Africa Food Prize. Through his
leadership, I am confident that the continent will continue to explore and implement food systems
strategies that lift people from poverty through inclusive growth and sustainable development,” H.E.
Dr Kikwete has a commendable track record as a leading contributor to the transformation of Africa’s
food systems. As President of Tanzania, H.E. Kikwete led the implementation of ‘Kilimo Kwanza’
(Swahili for Agriculture First), an initiative that unlocked productivity and profitability for the country’s
smallholder farmers. He also spearheaded the implementation of the Southern Agricultural Growth
Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT), a public-private partnership aimed at unlocking more private sector
investment in the country’s agricultural sector.
Upon his retirement, and through the Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete Foundation, H.E. Kikwete has been
collaborating with farmers and researchers to develop initiatives and strategic interventions to
increase yield and productivity in smallholder farming and agribusiness.
Dr. Kikwete’s appointment coincides with the 2023 call for nominations for the US$100,000 Africa
Food Prize. The Africa Food Prize is the preeminent award recognizing the extraordinary women, men,
and institutions whose contributions to African agriculture are forging a new era of sustainable food
security and economic opportunity that elevates all Africans.
This year, Nestlé partnered with the Africa Food Prize, contributing CHF 100,000 (equivalent to US$
108,400) which will go to the main award, and a special category focusing on innovations that
advance regenerative food systems.
“We are excited to see how this year’s applicants for the Africa Food Prize are making a difference.
Their research and innovation efforts will help drive the transformation of agriculture on the African
continent, and we are proud to support this,” said Remy Ejel, Chief Executive Officer of Zone Asia,
Oceania and Africa, Nestlé S.A.
In 2022, Eric Yirenkyi Danquah, a Ghanaian plant geneticist, won the award for his outstanding
expertise, leadership and grantsmanship skills that led to the establishment and development of West
Africa Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI), a world class centre for training plant breeders in Africa
for Africa. Through WACCI, Mr. Danquah’s innovations led to the creation of more than sixty improved
seed varieties, including superior maize hybrid varieties, which continue to boost yield for farmers and
contribute towards food and nutritional security in Ghana.
Organisations, institutions, businesses, and individuals who have created opportunities for Africa’s
farmers to gain viable livelihoods from their trade can submit their nominations at
www.africafoodprize.org/nominate before Monday, 16 May 2023.
Winners will be selected by the Africa Food Prize committee and will be announced at the AGRF,
Africa’s Food Systems Forum 2023 to be held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in September.
About the Africa Food Prize
The US$100,000 Africa Food Prize celebrates Africans who are taking control of Africa’s agricultural
agenda. It puts a bright spotlight on bold initiatives and technical innovations that can be replicated
across the continent to create a new era of food security and economic opportunity for all Africans.
The winners are selected by an independent panel of distinguished experts in African agriculture. The
Africa Food Prize began as the Yara Prize, established by Yara in 2005. It was moved to Africa and
rechristened the Africa Food Prize in 2016. More at africafoodprize.org.
For any media interview requests and enquiries, please contact:
Head of Communications, AGRA
Notes to Editors
All media materials related to the opening of the Africa Food Prize nominations can be found
at www.africafoodprize.org. Follow the conversation on Twitter at @AfriFoodPrize and share content