Over 300 international speakers from Heads of States, Government and Business.
Dr. Agnes M. Kalibata
President, Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA)
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), Bioversity International, Africa Risk Capacity, the Malabo-Montpellier Panel, and is a member of the Global Agenda Council of the World Economic Forum.
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
Strive Masiyiwa is the Founder and Executive Chairman of Econet Group, a pan-African telecommunications, media and technology company with operations and investments in over 20 countries.
Masiyiwa serves on a number of international boards including Unilever Plc, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Council on Foreign Relations’ Global Advisory Board, the Africa Progress Group, and the Hilton Foundation’s Humanitarian Prize Jury. Masiyiwa also serves as Chairman of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), a position he took over after Kofi Annan’s term.
As a philanthropist, Masiyiwa is a member of the Giving Pledge, and his contributions to education, health and development have been widely recognized. Masiyiwa and his wife finance the Higher Life Foundation, which has supported the education of over 250,000 African orphans in 20 years. Their family foundation provides scholarships to over 40,000 African orphans every year.
Masiyiwa has been selected twice, in 2014 and 2017, to Fortune Magazine’s list of the “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders”.
Over the last few years, Masiyiwa has devoted his time to mentoring the next generation of African entrepreneurs through his Facebook page, which has a growing followership of nearly 3-million young people from across the continent. Facebook has identified his platform as the most engaging of any business leader in the world.
Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto
Minister of Food and Agriculture, Ghana
Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto is a graduate of the University of Ghana, Legon, where he obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture.
He furthered his education at the University of Cambridge, England, where he obtained a Master of Science in Agric Economics, and in 1985 obtained a Ph.D. in Agric Economics.
He worked as an Economist, Senior Economist, Principal Economist and Chief Economic Advisor over a period of 18 years at the International Coffee Organization (ICO), London, England.
He also worked as a consultant to the World Bank, United Nations on Soft Commodities (Cocoa, Coffee, and Sugar).From 1995 to 2008, he was the CEO of Goldcrest Commodities Limited, and the CEO of Plantation Resources Limited.He is a two-term Member of Parliament for Kwadaso, and, whilst in Parliament, from 2009 to 2013, was the Deputy Ranking Member for Committee on Food and Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs.
Gilbert F. Houngbo
President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)
Gilbert F. Houngbo became the sixth President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) on 1 April 2017. Born and raised in rural Togo, Houngbo has spent more than 30 years working to improve the lives of some of the world’s most vulnerable people, and has extensive experience in political affairs, international development, diplomacy and financial management.
Prior to his appointment as IFAD President, Houngbo was the Deputy Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO), where he led field operations in more than 100 countries and managed bilateral and multilateral partnerships.
From 2008 to 2012, he served as Prime Minister of the Togolese Republic, where he introduced economic reforms and enhanced the rule of law and civil liberties. From 1996 to 2008, he undertook a number of roles at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), including Chief of Staff, Assistant Secretary-General and Africa Regional Director, and led poverty alleviation programmes in 45 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Before this, he spent a decade in the private sector, including at Price Waterhouse, Canada, where he worked in Audit and Financial Advisory Services.
Houngbo has a Matrîse en gestion des entreprises from the University of Lomé, Togo, and a Diplôme d’Etudes Supérieures Spécialisées in Specialised Accounting from the University of Quebec, Canada. He is a member of the Canadian Institute of Chartered Professional Accountants.
Regional Director-East and Southern Africa, International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD)
Sara Mbago-Bhunu is the Director of IFAD’s East and Southern Africa Division. Mbago-Bhunu brings to IFAD rich work experience spanning more than 20 years in the agriculture sector across Central, East and Southern Africa. She has worked on agriculture policy and sector reviews, value chain development, access to agricultural finance, social enterprise models and the promotion of small and medium-sized enterprises in peri-urban and rural areas. She has also led and managed teams in other development organizations in the design of development projects and capacity-building programmes. Prior to joining IFAD, Mbago-Bhunu worked at the World Bank as a Senior Agricultural Economist for the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Republic of Congo, based in Kinshasa. From 2013 to 2016, she served as Country Director for SNV-Netherlands Development Organisation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Mbago-Bhunu holds a Masters in Business Administration from Maastricht School of Management, Netherlands, and a BSc in Agricultural Economics from the University of Reading, United Kingdom.
Svein Tore Holsether
President & CEO - Yara International
Svein Tore Holsether (b. 1972) is President and Chief Executive Officer of Yara, a global crop nutrition leader with more than 17,000 employees worldwide. Mr. Holsether is passionate about promoting the Sustainable Development Goals in the global business arena. To contribute to a thriving future and drive inclusive growth he is a member of the Executive Committee for the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). He also serves on the Executive Committee and Board of the International Fertilizer Association (IFA) and International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI). Previously, Mr. Holsether has held a range of executive and senior position in large industrial companies, and he was a Commissioner of the Business and Sustainable Development Commission (BSDC). Mr. Holsether has a BSc degree, specializing in Finance & Management, from the University of Utah, USA.
Michael Hailu has been Director of the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) since May 2010. He has more than 30 years of experience in agricultural research, communications and development in Africa and Asia. Prior to joining CTA, he held senior leadership positions at the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) in Nairobi, Kenya and at the Center for International Forestry Research in Indonesia.
Mr Hailu has implemented major strategic realignment of the CTA refocusing the Centre’s work on promoting innovations and capacities to advance youth and women entrepreneurship, digitalization and climate resilience in agriculture. He has degrees from the Universities of Pittsburgh, USA and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and has been trained in strategic leadership at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business in the United States.
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
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