Over 300 international speakers from Heads of States, Government and Business.
Xavier Le Prince
Head of Business Sustainability EAME
Xavier Leprince is the Head of EAME Business Sustainability for Syngenta, one of the world’s largest agricultural technology companies with 28,000 employees across 90 countries. Syngenta is committed to helping to improve global food security by enabling millions of farmers to make better use of available resources, rescuing land from degradation, enhancing biodiversity and revitalizing rural communities.
As Head of EAME Business Sustainability, Xavier leads a team across Europe and Africa Middle East (EAME) responsible for sustainable technologies for agriculture and innovation. His team is also responsible for regulatory, public affairs and public policy, building the corporate brand and company’s reputation. Xavier is an agribusiness professional with over 35 years’ experience across a variety of business positions and locations at Syngenta and its legacy companies. Prior to his current role, he was Head of Global Business Unit Fungicides. Xavier Leprince is French and is an agronomist who graduated from “Institut Supérieur Agriculture” de Lille, France. He holds a master’s in Finance from Lille University as well as an MBA from EDHEC business school.
He is also a board member at the Institut Supérieur d’Agriculture in Lille and a visiting professor specialized in strategy for medium sized companies.
Dr Roberto RIDOLFI
Dr Roberto Ridolfi, Ph.D. is seconded from the European Union to FAO in Rome as Special Adviser for Strategy and Financing Development, as of January 2018.
Dr Ridolfi was Director for Sustainable Growth and Development as well as Director for Planet and Prosperity at the Directorate General for International Cooperation and Development (DEVCO) of the European Commission (2013-2017).
He was instrumental in developing main policy innovations on the role of the private sector in development, the promotion of financial instruments and blending, notably in the areas of renewable energy and productive agriculture launching, inter alia, initiatives like ELECTRIFI and AGRIFI and, most notably though the conception and the start-up of the 44 Billion EUR European External Investment Plan and the European Fund for Sustainable Development.
Twice Ambassador, Head of Delegation of the European Union (EU), Dr Ridolfi first worked in Suva, Fiji, from 2005 to 2007, where he was in charge of relations of the EU with 15 Pacific countries and territories. In 2010, he was appointed by the High Representative for Foreign Policy of the EU in Uganda, where he served as Ambassador for the EU until September 2013.
From 2008 to 2010, as Head of the Global Thematic Programmes of the European Commission, at EuropeAid, he managed worldwide programmes dealing with agriculture and rural development, environment and climate change, food security, human development, migration and asylum, renewable energies, as well as the One-Billion-Euro Food Facility in 50 countries.
Dr Ridolfi joined the EU in 1994 and worked in several countries beyond the Pacific and Uganda: Malawi, Namibia and Kosovo as development and economic adviser. Throughout accession negotiations (2001-2004), he was the principal coordinator dealing with environment and transport, and was also in charge of Public-Private-Partnerships on which he is a key note speaker and writer.
Instrumental to his drive in the private sector are his working experiences in the private sector before joining the Commission. These experiences, which were mainly in strategic management, finance and marketing engineering, were coupled with lecturing and (later on) with roles as Associate Professor at various universities in Italy and abroad.
Dr Ridolfi holds a M.Sc. in Engineering, an MBA and a Ph.D. in A. Technology.
Director R4D, Central Africa and Natural Resource Management
Bernard Vanlauwe joined IITA in Kenya in March 2012 to lead the Central Africa hub and the Natural Resource Management research area.
In this capacity, he is also having an oversight role in the Humidtropics, the Water, Land, and Ecosystems, and the CCAFS CGIAR Research Programs. Prior to this recent appointment, he was the leader of the Integrated Soil Fertility Management (ISFM) program of the Tropical Soil Biology and Fertility research area of CIAT (TSBF-CIAT). He joined CIAT-TSBF in 2001 and led the development, adaptation, and dissemination of best ISFM options in various agro-ecological zones in sub-Saharan Africa. In September 2010, the obtained a Visiting Professor position at the Swedish Agricultural University in Uppsala in the Soils and Environment Department. Before, he worked at IITA in Nigeria (1991 – 2000) and the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium (1989-1991), focusing on unraveling the mechanisms underlying nutrient and soil organic matter dynamics in tropical agro-ecosystems.
In that context, he obtained his PhD in 1996 in Applied Biological Sciences. He has published over 150 papers in scientific journals and over 160 in other forms and has (co-) supervised over 40 PhD and over 60 MSc students.
Founder and Chairman, Blue Skies Holdings Ltd
Anthony Pile is the Founder and Chairman of Blue Skies, a leading manufacturer of fresh-cut fruit, freshly squeezed juice, and dairy-free ice-cream, with eleven operations in seven countries, including Ghana, Egypt, South Africa, Ivory Coast and Senegal. Blue Skies supplies leading retailers around the world, including Waitrose and Sainsbury’s in the UK, Albert Heijn in the Netherlands and Carrefour in France.
The company is built on the principle of value-adding at source. This means that Blue Skies aims to make the finished product in the countries where the fruit grows, rather than exporting only the raw material and processing it elsewhere. By doing this it believes that 75% of the value of the finished product remains in the country of origin, as opposed to only 15% if processed overseas. This approach also enables the business to deliver a better quality fruit that is delivered ‘fresh from harvest, from farm to store within as little as 36 hours.
Anthony was a soldier in the British Army for 13 years and saw active service in the Middle East, Northern Ireland and Cyprus. He has been a magistrate, attended the post graduate Sloan Fellowship Programme at the London Business School and was the Managing Director of Orchard House Foods from 1989 to 1996. In 1997 he founded Blue Skies in Ghana and has grown the company over the last 20 years into a company employing over 6,000 people with a turnover of £100m.
Dr Jemimah Njuki
Senior Program Specialist, Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC)
Dr Jemimah Njuki is a Senior Program Specialist at Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) where she oversees a portfolio of projects on gender and women’s empowerment in agriculture as well as supporting gender integration in agriculture projects in IDRC’s Agriculture and Food Security Program. For the last 18 years she has carried out gender research and managed women’s economic empowerment programs in Africa and Asia. She has published widely on gender and women’s economic empowerment specifically in the areas of gender and technology, women and markets, and women and livestock. She has recently co-edited two books; one on ‘Women and livestock in Eastern and Southern Africa’, and the other on ‘Transforming Gender and Food Systems in the Global South’. She is the founder and editor in chief of the Journal of Gender, Agriculture and Food Security. Prior to joining IDRC, she started and led the Women in Agriculture Program (Pathways to empowerment) at CARE USA, working in 6 countries in Africa and Asia and headed the Gender and Impact Program at the International Livestock Research Institute. She is an Aspen New Voices 2017 Fellow and currently chairs the advisory committee of the African Women in Agriculture Research and Development (AWARD) and in the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Sustainable Intensification.
Dr. Marco Wopereis
Director General, World Vegetable Center
MARCO WOPEREIS is a Dutch national and holds a PhD degree in tropical agronomy from the Wageningen University, Netherlands. He is the Director General of the World Vegetable Center and based in Taiwan. Prior to his current position he served as the deputy director general of the Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice, Benin). He also worked for the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD, France), the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC, Togo), the West Africa Rice Development Association (WARDA, Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire) and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI, Philippines).
Africa Director, International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)
Debisi Araba is the Africa Director at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT). He leads CIATs work in Africa, in collaboration with hundreds of partners, to make agriculture and food systems more competitive, profitable, and resilient through smarter, more sustainable natural resource management, as well as improving human health and nutrition across the continent. He is also a member of the Malabo Montpellier Panel, a group of international agriculture experts who guide policy choices that accelerate progress towards food and nutritional security in Africa.
He was previously the Senior Technical Adviser on Environmental Policy to the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development in Nigeria and the team leader of the Environment and Climate Change Unit in the Ministry (2012-2015). He holds a MSc in Clean Technology from the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne, a Doctorate degree from Imperial College London and a Master in Public Administration from the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government.
João Bosco Monte
João Bosco Monte holds a PhD in Education from the Federal University of Ceará and Postdoctoral studies from the University of Brasilia (UNB), with the object of research on the integration of the African continent. He is a visiting professor of important Brazilian and African universities and author of books and publications about the relations between the various international actors.
Professor Monte also acts as an international consultant for Brazilian and foreign organizations. He is a columnist and commentator in important media in Brazil. In 2018 Professor Monte was admitted as Comendador da Ordem de Rio Branco, a very prestigious award of the Brazilian Government, in recognition for his merits achieved on the promotion of the relations between Brazil and Africa.
He was a Brazilian delegate to the 2013 edition of the Academic Forum of the BRICS. He is the General Coordinator of the Brazil Africa Forum and the President of the Board of Trustees of the Youth Technical Training Program (IBRAF).
Madame Maimouna COULIBALY
Founder and CEO, Faso Kaba Seed Company
Madame Maimouna Coulibaly is an accountant who in 2003 retired from an American NGO, CLUSA-Mali sponsored by USAID, which worked with Farmers organizations in Mali. Maimouna developed interest in seed business during the period when her spouse was pursuing post graduate studies at IOWA State University in US she got a part time job to work for a seed company.
It is the knowledge gained from her US seed company experience and her 15 years of experience in NGO work that allowed her to start and manage Faso Kaba Seed Company in Mali. The company started with a production of only 28.5 MT of seed in 2007, with a bank loan of $10000 guaranteed for 50% (paid back) by the NGO SG2000 in Mali. Today Faso Kaba is producing over 1,500 MT.
From a humble beginning, the company now has in place modern facilities to process, distribution network and producing a range of crops from hybrid maize, sorghum, rice, cowpea, peanut and vegetable seeds, with AGRA technical and financial support. Maimouna has participated in several national and international seed panels including one in Senegal where she represented seed companies in West Africa to meet Barrack Obama when he was US president. Maimouna has equally attended several trainings in seed in Africa and other continents and it is this experience she has used to grow Faso Kaba Seed Company to the biggest company in Mali.
Co-Founder & CEO, Farmcrowdy
Onyeka Akumah is the Co-Founder and CEO of Farmcrowdy – Nigeria’s first Digital Agriculture platform. Prior to Farmcrowdy, Onyeka has been involved in the inner-workings of some of the leading Internet businesses in Nigeria. Such businesses include Konga.com, Jumia.com, GTBank, Deloitte, Wakanow.com and Travelbeta.com.
Although he was one of the top in his class learning Software Engineering in an Indian University, Onyeka’s eye for marketing led him to focus on the user-experience and customer journey of selling products and services of technology-reliant organizations he has worked for or founded on his own.
Onyeka currently seats on the Board of leading tech start-ups in New York and Lagos and constantly seeks ways to impact on Nigerian youths through media and technology. He was named 2017 Tech Startup CEO of the Year at the Nigeria Technology Awards as well as one of the Top 20 Young Entrepreneurs to Watch in Africa by the African Youth Forum in Egypt and more.
In his capacity as a public speaker, he has spoken on a number of platforms including The Economist Summit in Kenya, TEDx BellsTech, Abuja International ICT Conference and more.
Co-Founder and CEO, KadAfrica Estate
Eric was born and raised in Kenya, with a Kenyan mother and a Uganda father he considers himself an East African. He is the Co-Founder and CEO of KadAfrica Estate, a commercial passion fruit farm and out grower network. KadAfrica has worked with more than 2000 out of school girls aged 14-24 in western Uganda to build sustainable livelihood options by starting viable agro-enterprises cultivating passion fruit. He “passionately” believes that involving youth in agriculture is key to creating sustainable development on the continent.
Eric’s organization KadAfrica is a commercial passion fruit farm and socially-driven agribusiness that uses passion fruit farming to empower out of school girls in Western Uganda through a proprietary training program called the KadAfrica Experience. By equipping girls with knowledge, skills and assets
to begin their own sustainable passion fruit farms, they become financially literate, entrepreneurial leaders generating income through agribusiness. This girl-powered vertically integrated value chain creates vibrant rural communities and allows us to provide the highest quality fruit at a consistent price, year-round.