Over 300 international speakers from Heads of States, Government and Business.
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.
President and Founder, New Markets Lab
Katrin Kuhlmann is the President and Founder of the New Markets Lab, a Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School, and an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University Law Center. Her work focuses on the intersection between law and economic development, agricultural market regulation, and regional trade harmonization, and she is published widely and speaks frequently on these topics. Ms. Kuhlmann is also a Senior Associate with the Global Food Security Project of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a member of the Trade Advisory Committee on Africa of the Office of the United States Trade Representative, and a member of the Bretton Woods Committee. Previously, she held senior positions at think tanks and non-profit organizations, worked as a trade negotiator, and practiced international law. Ms. Kuhlmann holds degrees from Harvard Law School and Creighton University and was the recipient of a Fulbright scholarship to study international economics.
Khalid Bomba is the Chief Executive Office of the Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency. The Agency is an initiative of the Government of Ethiopia, established by federal regulation to promote agricultural sector transformation in Ethiopia by identifying solutions tosystemic bottlenecks in key program areas. Modeled after similar and successful organizations in Asia, the Agency has a unique operating structure and reports to a Transformation Council chaired by the Prime Minister of Ethiopia. Prior to joining the ATA, Khalid was Senior Program Officer within the Agriculture Development Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation where he developed and managed grants intended to strengthening the human and institutional capacity of the agricultural sector in African countries. Prior to that, Khalid served as the Regional Director for Africa at the Global eSchools and Communities Initiative, an organization founded by the United Nations ICT Task Force. He has also held senior level and executive positions in various public and private sector institutions and began his career at JP Morgan, where he spent ten years on corporate finance and sovereign debt issues. Khalid received his BA from Swarthmore College in the United States and his MSc from the London School of Economics in the United Kingdom
President of GrainPro, Inc. of Concord, MA, USA.
Since 1996, Philippe Villers has been the President of GrainPro, Inc. of Concord, MA, USA.
GrainPro is the world leader in hermetic storage and transportation systems, as well as solar drying. Its hermetic systems dramatically reduce losses and prevents the growth of aflatoxins.
These certified-for-organic-use systems are used in 115 countries, protecting food quality and reducing losses due to rodents, insects, mold growth, oxidation and rancidity without the use of pesticides in dried, agricultural commodities.
GrainPro’s hermetic systems lead to better quality of life for farmers and their families, safer and more nutritious food, and reduced losses for communities, companies and consumers.
He holds an AB (with honors) from Harvard, an MS in Mechanical Engineering from M.I.T., and a Doctorate of Humane Letters (hon.) from the University of Lowell, in Massachusetts, USA. He is a member or former member of Sigma Xi, ASME, IEEE, and SME.
Villers holds 11 patents.
Director of the World Bank’s Food and Agriculture Global Practice
Simeon Ehui, was appointed Director of the World Bank’s Food and Agriculture Global Practice in September 2017.
Since joining the World Bank in 2003, Dr. Ehui has held a number of assignments. He was manager of the Food and Agriculture Global Practice for Africa (2015-2017) and South Asia (2009-2015). He also served as Lead Economist and Sector Leader for the Sustainable Development Network in Nigeria covering a variety of issues such as agriculture, environment, transport and energy.
Before joining the World Bank, Dr. Ehui worked for 15 years in the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). He managed multi-country agricultural research development programs in Africa and Asia for both the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI).
Dr. Ehui holds a Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics from Purdue University and has published extensively in his field. He is an honorary fellow of the African Agricultural Economist Association, and a Distinguished Agricultural Alumnus of Purdue University.
Professor Benno Ndulu
Governor of the Central Bank of Tanzania
Professor Benno Ndulu was appointed Governor of the Central Bank of Tanzania in January 2008. He has presided over Tanzania’s macroeconomic stabilisation and has implemented prudent policies overseeing its strong economic performance over the past years. He has supported the expansion of Tanzania’s financial inclusion by licensing commercial banks, introducing agent banking, and tapping into the growth of mobile financial services.
He started his career at the University of Dar es Salaam in the early 1980s before joining the World Bank as a lead economist covering east Africa.
Ndulu is best known for his involvement in setting up and developing one of the most effective research and training networks in Africa, the African Economic Research Consortium. He served as its first Research Director and later as its Executive Director.
He received an honorary doctorate from the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) in The Hague in 1997 recognition of his contributions to Capacity Building and Research on Africa.
Following his Ph.D. degree in economics from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, Ndulu taught economics at the University of Dar es Salaam, and has published and taught widely on growth, regional integration, adjustment, governance, trade, and investments.
Executive Secretary of the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF)
Emmanuel Nnadozie is a Professor of Economics and, since 2013, the Executive Secretary of the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF). He was formerly Director of Economic Development and NEPAD Division at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) where he was also the Chief Economist. An award-winning Economist, his work, spanning over 30 years, has impacted sustainable growth and development in Africa. The author of African Economic Development, Africa at the Crossroads of Globalization, and dozens of other peer-reviewed journal articles, Professor Nnadozie is well known in APRM and NEPAD circles, having led the United Nations coordinated support to the African Union and its NEPAD program.
He also led the production of the well acclaimed annual Economic Report on Africa from 2004 to 2007 and from 2010 to 2013 as well as the Least Developed Countries Monitor, the geo-spatial monitoring tool which helps countries monitor their implementation of the Brussels and Istanbul Programs of Action and contributed to Africa’s participation in the G8 and G20 processes.
CEO, Africa Improved Foods (AIF)
Amar was born and brought up in the UK, and joined Africa Improved Foods in 2016 with more than 20 years of global experience in a variety of startup and corporate roles, the last 7 years focused on developing new agri-food business models in Africa.
At AIF, he oversees the creation, planning, implementation and integration of the strategic direction of the company in Rwanda and in Ethiopia. He ensures that the organization’s leadership maintains awareness of both the external and internal competitive landscape, opportunities for expansion, markets, new industry development and standards.
He holds an MBA from INSEAD in France and a BsC in Psychology, Sociology and Chinese Studies from Leeds University
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.
Filmmaker and small-scale farmer
Kisilu Musya is a filmmaker and small-scale farmer from Mutomo, Kenya. His video footage shot over a period of five years has been part of several short docs that have won awards internationally. In March 2017, Kisilu’s full story in the documentary Thank You for the Rain premiered to critical acclaim at CPH:DOX film festival. Musya has had a leading role in bringing his community together to find common solutions to tackle climate change.
Lord Paul Boateng
AECF Board, Chair
The Rt. Hon the Lord Boateng is a Barrister, former British MP, Cabinet Minister and British High Commissioner to South Africa. Brought up in Ghana, West Africa he is a frequent writer, broadcaster and lecturer on Africa. He founded his own market regulatory advisory company Akyem Law and Advisory, is on the Health Policy Advisory Board of Gilead Sciences and is an advisor to a number of other international companies.
As a member of the House of Lords, he is Vice Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Agriculture and Development. He is also a Trustee of the Planet Earth Institute, Chairs Book Aid International, the English Speaking Union and the International Council of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.
A Methodist Lay Preacher, married to Janet Lady Boateng, a Social Policy Analyst and Company Director. They have five children and six grandchildren.
Agriculture, Inclusive Growth and Economic Transformation Lead, Tony Blair Institute
Jonathan leads the Tony Blair Institute’s work on agriculture, inclusive growth and economic transformation. He has been with the Institute for four years, spending most of that time as an advisor to former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in Liberia. There he ran a team of embedded advisors in the government on her inclusive growth agenda, spanning seven Ministries and Agencies. Previously Jonathan worked on agriculture transformation and private sector development in Malawi with Imani Development, serving as an embedded advisor to the Ministry of Industry and Trade for over three years. Jonathan also served as an ODI fellow in Guyana, supporting the Ministry of Commerce to drive its competitiveness and business enabling environment agenda. Jonathan started his career as an economics and business consultant in the United Kingdom, where he worked for three and a half years. He read MSc Economics at the University of Warwick in 2004.
Alemayehu Konde Koira
Country Representative, Rwanda Mastercard Foundation
Alemayehu represents the Mastercard Foundation in Rwanda and leads the development and execution of programs to address the challenge of youth employment including the Hanga Ahazaza and Leaders in Teaching Initiatives. Alemayehu has more than 20 years’ experience in a variety of international non-governmental, donor and academic organizations within the international development field. Prior to his appointment as Country Representative, Alemayehu managed a portfolio of the Foundation’s Youth Livelihoods Program with a focus on youth employment, entrepreneurship, skills development, social and financial education and agriculture. Before joining the Foundation, Alemayehu worked for Plan International in different capacities based out of its headquarters, U.K., South Africa covering Eastern and Southern Africa Region and in Tanzania. Alemayehu holds a Bachelor of Science from Alemaya University of Agriculture, Ethiopia and a Master of Agriculture Economics from Reading University, UK.
Mr. Cyril Ugwu
Regional Coordinator West Africa, IDH The Sustainable Trade Initiative.
Cyril is the IDH Regional Coordinator, West Africa and the global head of the Industrial Cassava Program of IDH and Grow Africa. He oversees and coordinates the development and implementation of the Program in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Program aims to transform and establish cassava as industrial crop in Africa by delivering proof that inclusive large-scale production and processing of cassava, in Africa, is sustainable and scalable. In this regard, he anchors the partnership between IDH and the Rockefeller Foundation’s Yieldwise Initiative on cassava improvement, post-harvest loss reduction and improvement of lives of small holders farmers, in the cassava value chain in Nigeria. He also provides support to other commodity programs of IDH in the region. Cyril has over 35 years professional experience in agricultural banking, corporate banking and sustainable inclusive supply chain development in both the private, public and civil sectors. Prior to IDH, he led the successful sustainability program of Armajaro Nigeria, an international cocoa trading company, which witnessed the setting up a certification program that certified over 18,000 cocoa farmers in UTZ standards, in 2 years. As West Africa Regional Manager of Solidaridad, in Ghana Regional Office, he set up the regional cocoa program of the organisation in four countries; Cote Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria and Cameroon. He holds an honour’s degree in Economics and MBA in Finance
Dr. Lindiwe Sibanda
Vice President, Country Support And Delivery, AGRA
CEO, Southern African Confederation of Agricultural Unions (SACAU)
Mr Sunga holds a BSc Economics from the University of Zimbabwe and a Masters in Strategic Management degree from the University of Derby in the UK. Post graduate training includes a certificate in Rural Research and Rural Policy from the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex, UK.
Mr Sunga has more than 30 years’ experience mainly in the development sector covering various areas, including agriculture, rural transport, energy and manufacturing, agro processing, small scale mining, cooperatives and light engineering. His involvement covers research, food security, market linkages, smallholder development, small and medium enterprise development, organisational development, policy, development management, local economic development, and advocacy. He has worked in academic and research institutions, international development agencies and consultancy firms, and his experience covers southern Africa and other parts of Africa, the UK, India, Bangladesh and Sri-Lanka.
Mr Sunga became the Chief Executive Officer of SACAU and over the years has positioned the institution to be the main platform and voice for organised farmers in southern Africa. Among others, he is spearheading the organisation’s work in ICTs, climate change management, the development of a new generation of farmers and of farmers’ organisations, governance of value chains, public private partnerships, development financing, good corporate governance, sustainable development and nutrition.
His wide ranging experience and thought leadership has seen him being involved in the following global initiatives in an advisory capacity: Grow Africa – Steering Committee member; African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) – Steering Committee member; World Economic Forum’s (WEF) – (i) New Vision for Agriculture (NVA) initiative (NVA Ambassador), (ii) Stewardship Board for the System Initiative on Shaping the Future of Food, (iii) Working group on digital identity, led by the Forum’s Digital Economy and Society team and he is part of the (iv) bioinnovation in food and agriculture working group; Member of the Montpellier Malabo Panel of experts; AgriCord – Advisory Committee Member; the Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) – Advisory Committee Member. AgriConnexions – one of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) partners in the conceptualisation and implementation, amongst others.
Director At African Women In Agricultural Research And Development (AWARD)
Dr. Ulrich Sabel-Koschella
Head Value Chains Agriculture
Dr. Ulrich Sabel-Koschella heads the Value Chains Agriculture section, Africa Department, GIZ, German International Cooperation. Prior to that he coordinated agriculture programs in the International Foundations team at GTZ, German Technical Cooperation. He joined GTZ in 1987 and undertook short-term missions to over 50 countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia and 15 years of longterm assignments. His first work experience in Development Cooperation dates back to 1978 in Ruanda.
5 years (2004 to 2009) he led the “rural development program“ in Laos and established the German Development Cooperation Office (Lao-German House) in Vientiane.
10 years (1994 to 2004) he served as senior advisor agriculture at GTZ headquarters (Eschborn, Germany) where he directed several sectoral and regional projects and established the Public Private Partnership Program in agriculture (e.g. Common Code for the Coffee Community, 4C).
7 years he worked for GTZ in Malawi (1987) Zimbabwe (1987-1989) and Ruanda (1990-1994), where he supervised various Rural Development Programs and established the GTZ-office in Kigali.
He is fluent in German, English, French and Spanish, holds a M.Sc. in agriculture from Georg-August University, Göttingen and a PhD in agricultural science from Technical University Munich.
Chief Operations Officer, Hello Tractor
Martha Haile is the chief operations officer at Hello Tractor, where she drives innovative social impact programming to increase smallholder farmers’ access to tractor service. She designs, develops, and implements donor-funded projects and integrates impact into business practices. Martha has more than 10 years of experience in managing global teams and multi-million dollarprograms within the private, public, and nonprofit sectors. She recently served as a staff representative on the President’s Council on Doing Business in Africa (PAC-DBIA). Previously, she co-founded the global engagement community of practice at Booz Allen Hamilton as a senior consultant. In her personal time, Martha serves as an advisory board member for The Africa Society, a non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C. Martha received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and master’s degree from the University of Maryland School of Public Policy.
Regional Director for East and Southern Africa, IFDC
Alexander Fernando is IFDC’s Regional Director for East and Southern Africa based in Nairobi, Kenya. Fernando has 19 years of experience in agribusiness, market systems and value chain development, and management consulting. He previously served as IFDC Portfolio Manager for the region and as Country Representative and Chief of Party of the Agricultural Input Markets Strengthening (AIMS) project in Mozambique.
Prior to joining IFDC, he worked for several development organizations including TechnoServe, DAI, ACDI/VOCA, CNFA, and Chemonics. His focus has been on market systems and value chain development in staple crops, horticulture, livestock, coffee, as well as in agricultural input markets.
Fernando holds a master’s degree in international affairs from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) in New York and a bachelor’s degree in international relations from the University of Pennsylvania.
Regulatory and Scientific Affairs Regional Head for Nestlé in Sub-Saharan Africa
Currently Regulatory and Scientific Affairs Regional Head for Nestlé in Sub-Saharan Africa, where he coordinates regulatory and advocacy strategies across 48 countriesand leads engagement with regional and pan-African institutions, John was previously Communications Manager at the company’s Swiss HQ. In that role he produced Nestlé’s Creating Shared Value reports – together with accompanying global communications programmes – over a 10 year period. Prior to his career at Nestlé, Johnwas Worldwide Internal Communications manager at Novartis and Internet/Knowledge Management Director at HR solutions provider Adecco. Fluent in French and German, he is a graduate of the University of London.
Dr. Ruth Oniang’o
Founder And Executive Director Of Rural Outreach Africa, 2018 Africa Food Prize Winner
Dr Nalishebo Meebelo
National CAADP Expert, Zambia
Dr Nalishebo Meebelo is the National Expert for Zambia on matters concerning policy advice for strengthening implementation of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) and domestication of the 2014 Malabo Declaration. She holds: A Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics with Public Administration; an MBA with Finance; and, a PhD in Business Studies, focused on knowledge management within the sustainable development framework. Meebelo has worked at both African regional and continental levels, coordinating and facilitating implementation of CAADP for more than a decade. She has supported African Union (AU) member States in their efforts to promote domestic and foreign investment (FDI) linked to smallholders along key agriculture commodity value chains, through targeted policy reform. Dr Meebelo was the Deputy Coordinator for CAADP in the COMESA region and, first Coordinator of the COMESA Business Council – voice of the private sector in eastern and southern Africa. She has also contributed to the development of several COMESA and AU frameworks and guidelines as well as strategic plans and programmes in support of regional integration and agriculture development. Meebelo participated in the development of the recent AU Continental Agribusiness Strategy and AU Country Agribusiness Partnership Framework (CAP-F). She is an Associate Editor for a publication titled ‘Women Writing Africa: The Eastern Volume’ (2003) and was also nominated as Role Model under the Modernising African Food Systems (MAFS) initiative in 2015.
Managing Director, Aflasafe Technology Transfer and Commercialization Program, IITA
Mr. Konlambigue, a citizen of Togo joins IITA in 2016 as the Managing Director of the Aflasafe Technology Transfer and Commercialization Program. He manages a diverse team of researchers, business and marketing professionals within the Business Incubation Platform to bring Aflasafe products to market. He leads the development of strategic partnerships between public and private sector players to invest in the manufacturing and the distribution of agricultural technologies to farmers through technology transfer and licensing.
Abdou has more than 15 years’ experience in private sector development, rural finance, structured trade financing, and agricultural value chain development. He joins IITA from the Alliance for a Green revolution in Africa (AGRA) where he occupied various positions including recently, Senior Program Officer and Technical lead Markets & Harvest Management. Prior to that, Mr. Konlambigue has been the Regional Advisor on Value Chain Economics and Rural at the International Fertilizer Development Centre (IFDC).
Mr. Konlambigue holds a Master’s degree in Rural Economics from the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium and Engineer degree in Agronomy (Major: Agricultural Economics) from the University of Lomé’s School of Agronomy.
Mr. Konlambigue serves on the board, advisory committees of several organizations and programs.