Over 300 international speakers from Heads of States, Government and Business.
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.
Maria Isabel Andrade
Co-recipient of the 2016 World Food Prize
Maria Isabel Andrade, a co-recipient of the 2016 World Food Prize, has 30 years of working experience in Africa. Her research interests include technology transfer, breeding seed systems and the amelioration of value chains for income-generation, facilitating knowledge sharing and constructing communications platforms to heighten the visibility and impact of sweetpotato in Sub-Saharan Africa to reduce Vitamin A deficiency and improve markets and crop production. She has released 30 bio-fortified sweetpotato varieties of which 20 are drought tolerant. These drought tolerant varieties have reached a million farmers who have adopted them and are making profits selling the roots and vines and processed products. Over the last 15-20 years, crop research and the development of the seed systems has resulted in the increase of the yield, from about 5-6 tons per hectare in 2003 to almost 14 tons in 2016 (FAOSTAT, 2016) and 23% of all sweetpotato grown in Mozambique is bio-fortified. In recognition of the significant contribution OFSP can make to food security and nutrition, Government of Mozambique has included Orange Fleshed Sweetpotato (OFSP) in their country investment plan. Also, In the nutrition sector, OFSP has been adopted as a mainstream technology for combating vitamin A deficiency by the Technical Secretariat for Food Security and Nutrition in Mozambique (SETSAN) and in the country’s strategy in the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) movement.
Today, Maria serves as CIP’s country manager in Mozambique, Sweetpotato breeder for Southern Africa & Asia, over and above her scientific leadership role. Maria served as the vice president for fund raising for the International Society for Tropical Root Crops (ISTRC) global for five years. She is a Member of External Panel review of Next Generation Cassava Breeding Project, project of Cornell & IITA. She is also member of the high-level group of champions for the Food Forever Initiative-Global Crop Diversity Trust. Key recognitions for her sweetpotato breeding work include: Appreciation award from ISTRC-AB for her outstanding leadership & contribution on RTC in Africa, outstanding Alumnus award from NCSU, 2016 World Food Prize co-laureate and 2017 Swaminathan Award for Environmental Protection. Also, she was nominated as one of the 5th Wonder Women of Agriculture by USDA, Mar 27, 2018, and the 2018 Woman of the Year in her own country, Cape Verde in July 7th, 2018.
Prof. João Bosco Monte
President of Brazil Africa Institute
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).
Dr. Diane Ngendo Karusisi
Chief Executive of Bank of Kigali
Dr. Diane Ngendo Karusisi, The Chief Executive of Bank of Kigali, is a seasoned economist who has held several leadership positions in the past. Prior to joining Bank of Kigali, Diane was the Head of Strategy and Policy and Chief Economist at the Office of the President. Diane also served at the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda where she oversaw the design and implementation of major surveys.
Before she moved back to Rwanda, Diane worked as a Fixed Income Portfolio Engineer at Credit Suisse in Zurich and taught Statistics at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland. She studied Economics majoring in Econometrics and holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Fribourg. Her research areas mainly concentrated on Risk Modeling and Measurement. Her doctoral thesis entitled “Dependency in credit portfolios: Modeling with Copula Functions” was published in 2009.
Diane currently serves as non-executive director on several boards including the University of Rwanda and Rwanda Development Board.
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.
Dr Milindi Sibomana
Dr Milindi Sibomana is an agricultural scientist with an educational background in biotechnology and agriculture from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Prior to moving back to Rwanda, Milindi was involved in sugarcane production systems research with large-scale commercial cane growers across KwaZulu-Natal, developing guidelines on best practices for maximizing crop quality for milling, and subsequently as a Research Fellow working on optimization of tomato postharvest systems with the largest commercial tomato producer in South Africa, based in Limpopo. Currently, Milindi is based in Rubengera where he leads the Impact division of OAF Rwanda, a division which constantly assesses the Rwandan farmer condition and focuses on improving this by identifying innovative products and practices which can be made accessible to these smallholder farmers across the country.
Head of Operations, Agricultural Finance Corporation (AFC) - Kenya
Millicent Omukaga is a banker and accountant with 20 years experience in development finance and institutional transformation in Africa. She’s currently employed at Agricultural Finance Corporation (AFC) Kenya as Head of Operations, and deputizing the Managing Director.
Millicent has advised on and championed financial vehicles for investment in African agriculture, including micro finance, rural and agricultural development. Some of the innovative financial instruments have had tremendous catalytic impact on agri-value chain actors in the rural, small holder farmers, women and youth, as well as agri- SMEs. She’s currently championing the financial inclusion for women in agriculture through AFC’s Women Affirmative Access to Agri-finance Window (WAAW) Initiative in line with Kenya’s agricultural transformation strategy.
In addition to serving on corporate boards, she serves as a volunteer in various National and international organizations. Millicent served as Commissioner for University Education at a time when Kenya’s University Sector was undergoing tremendous transformation and ably steered the Commission to deliver its mandate. She also chaired the Planning Working Group that created the National Research Fund for Kenya.
Prior to these responsibilities, her management and transformative leadership experience spanned from serving as Head of Programmes at AFRACA, General Manager at Kenya Women Microfinance Bank and various senior roles at Family Bank, Price Water House Coopers (PwC) and Kenya Commercial Bank. Millicent holds an MBA and a Bachelor of Commerce (1st class honours) degree both from the University of Nairobi. She’s a Certified Banker, Certified Public Accountant of Kenya, Certified Internal Auditor and holds a postgraduate certificate in Strategy from the Harvard Business School, USA.
Dr. Getaw Tadesse
Research Fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)
Dr. Getaw Tadesse is a Research Fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Africa Region. He conducts research on agricultural trade, agricultural markets and cooperatives, and food security. Before Joining IFPRI, he served as a researcher at Center for Development Research (ZEF), Bonn University, Germany, where he led a team of young researchers on the costs and triggers of the 207/2008 global food price volatility. He also served as researcher and University lecturer in Ethiopia for about 10 years. Dr. Tadesse received a Masters Degree and PhD in agricultural economics from the Norwegian University of Life Sciences in Norway. As part of his PhD study, he has been a research scholar at Purdue University, USA.
Leader Key Accounts Seed / Market Leader Europe/Africa of PETKUS Technologie GmbH
Peter Hüser manages the European key accounts from the company headquarter and is supported by the European Sales & Service Centres. He has been working in the seed industry for a long time and is very familiar with it. Before joining PETKUS, he worked for various global and leading plant breeding companies. New in his area of responsibility is also the support of the African market
Managing Director, QualiBasic Seed Company Ltd
Andy is the Managing Director of QBS (QualiBasic Seed Company Ltd.), He’s an agriculturalist with over 37 years of commercial experience in sales, marketing, business management, strategy development and implementation. He was the MD of Syngenta East and Southern Africa and Head of Large Scale farming for Syngenta in Africa and has worked in Private equity and Consultancy.
Andy has his own farm, producing vegetables for the Kenyan market and is expanding into fruit production, he sits on the board of Karen Country Club as Director of Golf and is a Non-Executive Director on the board of Coopers Kenya Ltd.
Married to a Kenyan, he has three children, two living and working in the UK and one embarking on her A levels at Brookhouse school, Nairobi.
Co-founder and MD of Suguba
Fayelle Ouane started her career in strategy consulting. She assisted the Government of Rwanda in implementing the national coffee and tea strategies as part of the Rwanda National Innovation Competitiveness (RNIC) program through a multi-stakeholder working group from 2005 to 2007. Fayelle also has experience leading multinationals’ expansions across Africa in the healthcare industry. Since 2015, Fayelle has focused on empowering and supporting social impact entrepreneurs across Francophone Africa. She co-founded Impact Hub Bamako in 2016 with a specific focus on agribusiness start-ups. She’s currently the co-founder and MD of Suguba. Suguba is a regional platform that fosters robust entrepreneurial ecosystems in West Africa and promotes regional integration by focusing on youth and women entrepreneurship. She develops entrepreneur support programs to enhance their ability to attract funding and create jobs. Fayelle is a Tutu fellow and she holds a BA in Economics and International Relations from Stanford University and an MBA from the Harvard Business School.
Consultant – Agcuity. growhow
Kinyua M’Mbijjewe is a food and agricultural consultant for Syngenta and AFAP, following 20 years leading Corporate Affairs in Africa for global agricultural companies Syngenta and Monsanto – after 4 years working in the food industry with Del Monte in Kenya.
His focus and ambition is on enabling farmers succeed commercially so that they can better feed Africa, through shaping progressive partnerships that provide predictable markets, quality farm inputs, affordable financial services, good agricultural knowledge, IT solutions and an incentivizing policy environment. In place, these elements spur a dynamic agribusiness environment that stimulates rural prosperity and economic growth.
He is particularly keen on innovative ways to support youth engagement in agribusiness, convinced that young people have the entrepreneurial energy to build successful business’ in the food and agricultural space. He is based in Nairobi, is married with two children and is an active farmer.
GIZ Project Manager for the Green Innovation Centre in Burkina Faso
Jens Treffner works as GIZ Project Manager for the Green Innovation Center in the Agro-Food Sector in the west of Burkina Faso. He used to work in organic farming in Europe before joining the field of international development. As an agro-economist he is in search of viable, adapted solutions to increasing prosperity in rural areas, and very happy about his current job at the interface of capacity development and the facilitation of private sector engagement in rural transformation.
Felix Kwame Yeboah
Assistant Professor of International Development, Michigan State University
Dr. Felix Kwame Yeboah is an Assistant Professor of International Development and a member of Food Security Group at Michigan State University. In this role, he conducts agricultural and food policy research and advises various development-related initiatives in Africa. He has expertise in multiple areas of social policy including agricultural and food system transformation, natural resource management, and youth livelihood issues in Africa.
For the past decade, he has provided critical analysis to inform a range of social policies both in the US and in Africa. Notably, his research informed The MasterCard Foundation’s strategies promoting youth employment in Africa’s agri-food system; the State of Michigan’s effort to reduce non-point source pollution in the Great Lakes; and strategic change initiatives advancing solid waste recycling and energy conservation at Michigan State University. More recently, he served as the lead author for the 2018 Global Food Security Report commissioned by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs to advise the US Government’s strategies addressing youth livelihood challenges in developing countries. His research was also featured in the 2016 Africa’s Agriculture Status Report, a flagship report of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa. He is also the lead Principal investigator of the Young Innovators in Entrepreneurship and Leadership Development (YIELD) project that is capacitating young agri-preneurs in Ghana and Tanzania to access and maximize opportunities in Africa’s agrifood system. In 2012, he was recognized as a Milton H. Steinmueller scholar of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and a George and Nancy Axinn fellow of International Development.
Dr. Yeboah holds a Masters and Ph.D. in Environmental Policy and International Development, with specializations in Environment and Resource Economics from Michigan State University, USA and a Bachelor’s in Natural Resource Management from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana, West Africa. He was also a John M. Gunn Exchange Scholar at Washington and Lee University, Virginia.
Farmer and multiple award winning Agriprenuer
Yvonne Otieno is a farmer and multiple award winning Agriprenuer. Yvonne has over 16 years’ experience in international organizations as a development communication specialist before setting up Miyonga Fresh Greens. Since establishment in September 2014, the company has worked with small holder farmers in, Kenya produced and sold high quality produce for export. The company won four awards including Sinapis Business plan competition at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2014, Gender in Innovation in Agriculture Award 2016 and Social Impact Award in Nairobi Innovation week 2017 and most recently selected among T op 50 innovators in Africa at the Africa Innovation Summit 2018. Her focus is in reduction of food waster through farmer certification, value addition and market facilitation.
Country Director , East Africa Exchange (EAX), Rwanda
Joshua Rugema is currently the Country Director at East Africa Exchange (EAX), Rwanda and Head of East Africa Operations. Prior to joining EAX, Joshua was the Managing Director at H2O Venture Partners, providing leadership for the firms Africa operations. H2O Venture Partners is an investment firm that is building and investing in profitable, high-growth, high-impact, agricultural ventures in East Africa.
Joshua grew up in Kenya, Germany, Israel and The United States of America and spent ten years in private equity and investment management at RGG Capital Partners in the US before moving to East Africa in 2015. Joshua began his career in sales and supply chain management at the Weaver Company, a fast growing international snack Food Company with facilities in the United States of America, Europe and Argentina. He is currently the Vice-Chairman of the Rwanda National Agricultural Export Board (NAEB). Joshua also serves on the advisory board of Give Directly, Rocket Products and EarthEnable.
Kebede Ayele has over 30 years of experience with governmental, nongovernmental and bilateral organizations in various capacities, including as grass-roots practitioner and manager. Kebede has dedicated his life to long-term, sustainable agricultural and rural development of his country, Ethiopia. He is committed to empowering the rural people to take control of their own destiny and end hunger and poverty. He has rich experience in designing and managing development programs, with a proven track record of accomplishments in strategic planning and management, fund mobilization, program management, private sector development, value chain development, financial management and human resource development.
Prior to joining Digital Green, Kebede has worked for International Development Enterprises (iDE) where he established and successfully run the iDE Ethiopia Program for nearly 13 years. He helped iDEEthiopia to grow from a nonexistent organization to one of a reputable and well-known organizations in the country, from an annual budget of $30 thousand to $3.5 million and from a one person to over 140 staff.
Kebede holds Master’s Degree in Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development from Imperial College (UK), Postgraduate Diploma in Water Supply and Sanitation from Loughbrough University (UK) and Bachelor’s Degree in Applied Sociology from Addis Ababa University (Ethiopia).
Fahad is a young entrepreneur from Tanzania. He is the founder of YYTZ Agro-Processing, a cashew processing company. YYTZ Agro has been working with rural cashew farmers in the Mtwara and Singida region to help them add value to their own crop and earn more income.
YYTZ’s flagship facility is located in Zanzibar, with a processing capacity of 2,500MT per annum. YYTZ recently won $500,000 from AGRA’s Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund competition. They are building a Cashew Farmer Processing Centre in Mtwara, Tanzania. The facility will have modern equipment and adequate storage facilities for farmers to use. Farmers are assured of a market, as YYTZ are the sole off-takers. The semi-processed cashews are purchased at a higher price; they are sent to Zanzibar for finishing before export to European markets. They provide GAP, food safety training in addition to financial literacy and business skills training for their farmer groups. By integrating them in the cashew value chain, the farmers are able to earn more from their crop. By empowering farmers, YYTZ can help alleviate poverty in rural Tanzania.
Fahad is passionate about enabling young Africans to add value and create finished products; ensuring that value remains in Africa.
Fahad has been a featured speaker at the African Union – UN dialogue at the 72nd UN General Assembly (New York, USA), SIMLESA Conference (Arusha, Tanzania), Aga Khan Development Network – Scale Talks (Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania), African Union Private Sector Forum (Pretoria, South Africa) and the International Tropical Agriculture Conference 2017 (Brisbane, Australia). Fahad was nominated for African Leadership Awards’ Young Person of the Year 2017.
Fahad has been named by Forbes’ as one of the 30 Most Promising Young Entrepreneurs in Africa for 2017 and 2018.
Learn more www.yytzagro.com
Dr. Innocent Butare
Senior Program Specialist, International Development Research Centre (IDRC)
With a PhD and MSc in Experimental and Applied Ecology, Innocent Butare works as a Senior Program Specialist with Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC). He is a skilled research manager whose work cuts across critical development issues such as land, people and water; sustainable use of biodiversity; rural poverty and environment; agriculture and food security; innovation and policy in Sub-Saharan Africa.
His work currently focuses on sustainable intensification, agricultural mechanization, post-harvest technologies, food security and nutrition, women and youth employment.
Senior Client Development Advisor - McKinsey and Company
Dr. Boettiger is Senior Advisor at the McKinsey Center for Agricultural Transformation. She is an agricultural economist focused on rural economic development. Prior to joining McKinsey, Dr. Boettiger was Deputy Director at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, taught international development at UC Berkeley, co-founded several non-profits, was Chair of the Board of Trustees of CIMMYT, faculty fellow at Harvard University’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society, and served on the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Councils. She is an experienced social impact adviser in a wide range of subjects within agriculture as well as outside, such as policy and institution change, philanthropic strategy, application of technologies in new markets, digital applications to emerging and developing markets (across the spectrum – from IoT to satellite imagery to mobile), corporate governance, and intellectual property rights. She continues to serve on the boards of a number of non-profits, including: The Summit Institute (a social entrepreneur convener), the Planetary Skin Institute (a remote sensing non-profit, former JV between Cisco and NASA), and the Living New Deal (a historic preservation non-profit in the US).
Dr Vera Songwe
Executive Secretary, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa
Dr Vera Songwe took up her new role as the Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) on 3 August 2017. She brings to ECA and the position of Executive Secretary a long-standing track record of providing policy advice on development and a wealth of experience in delivering development results for Africa, as well as a demonstrated strong and clear strategic vision for the continent. Until recently, she was Regional Director of the International Finance Corporation, covering West and Central Africa. In addition, she continues to serve as a non-resident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Africa Growth Initiative. She is also a member of the African Union institutional reform team under the direction of the President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, and a board member of the African Leadership Network and the Mo Ibrahim Foundation.
Previously, she was Country Director for the World Bank, covering Cape Verde, the Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritania and Senegal. She was also Adviser to the Managing Director of the World Bank for Africa, Europe and Central and South Asia and a lead Country Sector Coordinator for the organization. She had earlier served as the World Bank’s Senior Economist in the Philippines.
Prior to joining the World Bank, she was a Visiting Researcher at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minnesota and at the University of Southern California.
She holds a PhD in Mathematical Economics from the Center for Operations Research and Econometrics and a Master of Arts in Law and Economics and a Diplôme d’études approfondies in Economic Science and Politics from the Université Catholique de Louvain in Belgium. She also has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and Political Science from the University of Michigan. She is also a graduate of Our Lady of Lourdes College in Cameroon and has published widely on development and economic issues.
Jean Kiarie Ngumo
Head of Sustainability and Public Policy, Diageo/ East Africa Breweries Ltd (EABL)
Jean is an experienced corporate affairs professional with specialisation in business sustainability. Jean currently heads up sustainability and public policy for Diageo/ East Africa Breweries Ltd (EABL) in the region with her remit also touching on local sourcing – agriculture, environment, water and strategy. She also works with stakeholders that include government, farmers, development partners, community, suppliers and communities in building structured value chains that enhance impact on socio-economic development in the region. She additionally heads the EABL Foundation – the social investment arm of the business. She has served at Diageo/ EABL in various leadership roles with delivery in the areas of strategic communication, public affairs, corporate governance, brand PR and advocacy. Jean previously worked with Deloitte & Touche, a top professional consultancy firm – leading key assignments for multinational clients such as Diageo Plc. She previously worked with the country’s national carrier, Kenya Airways, where she was instrumental in building its corporate image and brand repositioning and product development. Jean is passionate about the environment and sits in various national and regional sustainability steering committees and Boards such as the Nairobi Water Fund.