H.E Samia Suluhu Hassan
Minister of Climate Change and Environment, United Arab Emirates
Her Excellency Mariam bint Mohammed Saeed Hareb Almheiri is appointed as the Minister of Climate Change and Environment of the UAE. In this capacity, she leads the Ministry’s mission of spearheading the UAE’s drive to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change, protect the country’s ecosystems, and enhance its food and water security through developing and implementing effective measures, policies, and initiatives. Prior to her current role, she was appointed as Minister of State for Food and Water Security. Her responsibilities included monitoring national food stocks and water supply, channeling investments in food and water technology innovation, and building international partnerships in this area. Previously, Her Excellency Mariam Almheiri held the post of Minister of State for Food Security, where she oversaw the development of the necessary infrastructure to achieve the country’s food security objectives in line with the UAE Centennial 2071.
Minister of Agriculture, Tanzania
Hon. Hussein Mohamed Bashe is a Tanzanian CCM politician and Member of Parliament for Nzega Urban constituency since 2015. In January 2022, he was appointed Agriculture Minister. Beyond his political accomplishments, Hon. Hussein Mohamed Bashe is recognized for his advocacy efforts in areas such as education, social welfare, and community empowerment. His initiatives have aimed to improve access to quality education, healthcare, and economic opportunities for all citizens, particularly in underserved regions.
Board Member, AGRA
His Excellency Former President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete served as the President of the United Republic of Tanzania for two terms. He holds a degree in Economics from the University of Dar es Salaam and started his career in the ruling party and the military, where he rose to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel before retiring from the army in 1992. He joined the Cabinet in 1988 and held several ministerial portfolios including Minister for Finance, Minister for Water, Energy and Mineral Resources and Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. During his tenure in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he led Tanzania’s efforts to bring about peace in the Great Lakes region, particularly in Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). As Chairman of East African Community’s Council of Ministers, he played a pivotal role in moving forward the process of regional integration in East Africa, particularly the delicate negotiations of establishing a Customs Union between Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda. He also Co-chaired the Helsinki Process on Globalization and Democracy with the Foreign Minister of Finland. In 2007, President Kikwete was elected Chairman of the SADC Organ on Security, Defense and Politics. On 31 January 2008, President Kikwete was elected Chairman of the African Union Assembly of Heads of States and Government, where he took a proactive role in the resolution of conflicts in the Republic of Kenya, the Comoros and the Democratic Republic of Congo. He also advanced to greater heights the relations between the AU and the UN, EU and International Community at large. He has completed his Chairmanship of the East African Community and it was during his tenure that the EAC signed and ratified the Protocol on the Common Market. He left negotiations on the Monetary Union at an advanced stage. On retirement, he spends time in his home village of Msoga where he is a dairy farmer and Kiwangwa where he grows pineapples and papayas.
Dr. Kalibata has served as the President of AGRA since 2014, where she leads the organization’s efforts with public and private partners to ensure a food secure and prosperous Africa through inclusive, sustainable agricultural growth, improving the productivity and livelihoods of millions of smallholder farmers in Africa. From 2019-2021, Dr. Kalibata also served as the Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for the 2021 Food Systems Summit, a catalytic process at the start of the Decade of Action to improve food systems around the world to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Paris Agreement. Prior to joining AGRA, Dr. Kalibata was Rwanda’s Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI) from 2008 to 2014, where she drove programs that moved her country from a food insecure to a food secure status and became a reference point for other countries that sought to deliver agriculture transformation. Dr. Kalibata also sits on various boards, councils and commissions including the Global Commission on Adaptation, the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, the Global Panel for Agriculture & Food Systems for Nutrition, the Global Agriculture & Food Security Program (GAFSP), the Food Systems Stewardship Board of the World Economic Forum, the Malabo-Montpellier Panel, the Architecture for REDD+ Transactions and the Global Commission on Climate Overshoot, the Advisory Committee of the Presidnecy of CoP28, among others. Dr. Kalibata has a distinguished track record as an agricultural scientist, policy maker and thought leader, and sheholds a doctorate in Entomology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She is recipient of many prestigious awards including but not limited to the Yara Prize, now the Africa Food Prize, in 2012, an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Liège in 2018, an Honorary Doctorate from McGill University in 2019, and the National Academy of Sciences’ Public Welfare Medal in April, 2019 for her work to drive Africa’s agricultural transformation through modern sciences and effective policy thereby improving livelihoods of smallholder farmers. In 2022, she received an Awarded from World Farmers Organization recognizing her leadership in mobilizing farmers’contribution to the Food Systems Summit an the same year also received the Planetary Health Award through the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation.
President, African Development Bank (AfDB), Nigeria
Often described as “Africa’s Optimist-in-Chief”, African Development Bank Group President Dr Akinwumi A. Adesina (1960) is widely lauded for his visionary leadership and passion for Africa’s transformation. Formerly the Nigerian Agriculture Minister, Dr Adesina was first elected President of the African Development Bank Group on 28 May 2015. He was unanimously re-elected for a second five-year term on 27 August 2020. Dr Adesina graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Economics (First Class Honours) from the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University), Nigeria, in 1981. Dr Adesina holds a master’s degree (1985) and a PhD in Agricultural Economics (1988) from Purdue University, United States of America, where he won the Outstanding Ph.D. thesis award for that year. Dr Adesina won the prestigious Rockefeller Foundation Social Science Fellowship in 1988, which launched him into his international career. A bold reformer, as Minister of Agriculture in Nigeria from 2011 to 2015, Dr Adesina turned the agriculture sector of Nigeria around within four years. Under his tenure, Nigeria ended 40 years of corruption in the fertilizer sector by developing and implementing an innovative electronic wallet system, which directly provides farmers with subsidized farm inputs at scale using their mobile phones. Within the first four years of its launch, this electronic wallet system reached 15 million farmers, dramatically transforming their lives. With Dr Adesina at the helm, the African Development Bank Group achieved the highest capital increase since its establishment in 1964 when on 31 October 2019, shareholders from 80 member countries raised the general capital from $93 billion to a historic $208 billion. The African Development Bank Group responded boldly and swiftly to the Covid-19 pandemic. On 3 April 2020, the premier development finance institution launched a landmark $3 billion Covid-19 Social Bond followed by a Crisis Response Facility of $10 billion. Dr Adesina has been recognized with numerous awards. On 19 October 2017, the President was conferred with the World Food Prize, also known as the “Nobel Prize for Agriculture”. On 29 February 2020, he was named African of the Year 2019 by one million readers of the African Leadership Magazine. On 14 December 2020, the Academy of Public Health, the flagship body of the West African Institute of Public Health, announced Dr Adesina as one of the winners of its 2020 Distinguished Fellowship Award for his successful efforts in helping Africa to curb the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. On 2 February 2022, the President was conferred an Honorary Doctorate by the Federal University of Technology in Nigeria in recognition of his global leadership in agriculture, food security, development finance, and good governance.
Minister of Livestock, Tanzania
Former President Federal Republic of Nigeria
His Excellency Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2010-2015, was born in Otuoke, Bayelsa State on November 20, 1957. He holds Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctorate degrees in Zoology, Hydrobiology and Fisheries Biology respectively; all obtained from the University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria. Previously, Dr Jonathan served as a Science Inspector of Education, a lecturer, and later as an Assistant Director of the Directorate of Environmental Protection and Pollution Control in the defunct Oil Mineral Producing Areas Development Commission (now Niger Delta Development Commission). President Jonathan’s active political career began in 1998 when he was first elected Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State. He served in that capacity from 1999-2005, where his innate traits of humility, service, and loyalty received public notice. Afterward, he became the acting, and later, the substantive Governor of Bayelsa State from 2005-2007. Dr. Goodluck Jonathan was elected Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 2007, a position he held until January 2010 when he became Acting President and following the death of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua in May 2010, he was sworn in as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He was recently nominated as a member of the ECOWAS Council of the Wise (CoW). In and out of office, Dr Jonathan has received several local and international awards, in recognition of his exceptional public service and commitment to peace, democracy and good governance on the continent.
FAO's Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Africa
Abebe Haile-Gabriel is currently FAO's Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Africa, a position that he has been holding since 2018. In this capacity, he leads FAO’s response to Africa regional priorities for food security, nutrition, agriculture, and rural development, with a commitment to steering FAO's efforts toward a more efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable agrifood systems within the African continent. During his over 35 years of extensive experience, he has demonstrated strategic leadership and management skills in complex environments across national, subregional, and regional levels, specifically in agricultural and rural development. His previous experiences include FAO Deputy Regional Representative for Africa, Regional Programme Leader, and FAO Representative to Ghana; more than a decade of service to the African Union in various capacities, including as Director of the Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture from 2010-2015, during which time he notably facilitated the implementation of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), led the formulation of the 2014 Malabo Declaration on Agricultural Growth and Transformation, and coordinated the African Common Position on Climate Change, among other continental flagship policy frameworks and initiatives. Abebe began his career as a faculty member at Alemaya University of Agriculture in Ethiopia in 1986 and progressed to become an educator, researcher, and leader within Ethiopian Higher Education system. He played a crucial role in designing and executing capacity-building initiatives that supported governance reforms and agricultural transformation in his native country, Ethiopia. Abebe HaileGabriel holds a PhD in Development Studies from the International Institute of Social Studies, Erasmus University, the Netherlands.
CEO and Managing Director of Food Systems for the Future
Ertharin Cousin currently serves as the CEO and Managing Director of Food Systems for the Future, a nutrition impact investment fund; a Distinguished Fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs; a Bosch Academy, Robert Weizsäcker Fellow; and a Visiting Scholar at the Stanford University, Center on Food Security and Environment. Cousin is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago; the University of Georgia Law School and the University of Chicago Executive Management Program-Finance for Non-Financial Executives.
IFAD Special Envoy for the Thirteen Replenishment of IFAD’s resources
Mr Beavogui currently serves as IFAD Special Envoy for the Thirteen Replenishment of IFAD’s resources. A former Prime Minister of the Republic of Guinea (2021-2022), Mr Beavogui has over 35 years of international experience in development Finance and Risk Management. He is a former United Nations Assistant Secretary General and served as the Board Chair of the United Bank for Africa in Guinea and Chair of the Advisory Investment Group SIAF. He also served as the first Director General of the African Risk Capacity (ARC) from 2015 to 2020. Prior to his appointment as Director General of ARC, Mr Beavogui worked as Director of Partnerships and Resource Mobilization and Senior Advisor to the President of the United Nations International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). He joined IFAD in 2001 as Director of the West and Central Africa Division and was responsible for delivering the lending and grant program and managing a large portfolio of projects for Africa.
Prior to joining IFAD, Mr Beavogui worked for 7 years for the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) in New York as Senior Project Management Officer, and subsequently as Regional Director for West and Central Africa.
Previously, he worked close to a decade for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) as Chief Technical Adviser, respectively in Burundi and in Rome, Italy. Before this, Mr Beavogui worked in the African Regional Centre for Engineering Design and Manufacturing (ARCEDEM) in Nigeria, and for the Government of Guinea. Mr Beavogui is a member of several panels focusing on regional and global issues related to Finance, Investment, and Food Security and a recipient of several awards and distinctions.
Minister of International Development, Norway
Hon. Anne Beathe Tvinnereim (née Kristiansen) is a Norwegian diplomat and politician of the Centre Party. She has served as minister of international development since 2021, and the party’s second deputy leader since 2014. She is a member of the Centre Party and has been an integral part of its leadership, serving as the party's second deputy leader since 2014. Tvinnereim has studied political science at the University of Costa Rica and the University of Oslo. From 2000 to 2002 she was leader of the Centre Youth, and she was political advisor for the Centre Party's parliamentarians at the Storting from 2002 to 2005. She was assigned as secretary at the Norwegian embassy in Maputo, Mozambique (2007–2011). From 2006 to 2011 she was political adviser in the Ministry of Transport and Communications. She served as State Secretary in the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development from February 2011 to October 2013. In 2014 she was elected second deputy leader of the Centre Party.
Minister of Food and Agriculture, Republic of Ghana
Hon. Bryan Acheampong currently serves as the Minister of Food and Agriculture. He is a Member of Parliament for the Abetifi Constituency, where his dedicated service to his constituents is notable. Additionally, he serves as the Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee for Foreign Affairs and is an active Member of the Defense and Interior Committee. With a diverse background, Hon. Bryan Acheampong brings a wealth of experience to his roles. He is a distinguished retired soldier of the US Air Force, contributing his expertise to matters of national security. Moreover, he is a seasoned entrepreneur, displaying his prowess in various sectors including IT, Security and Intelligence Consulting, and Hospitality and Real Estate. Hon. Acheampong's educational achievements include graduating from Presec Legon, Johnson and Wales, Georgetown, Leicester University, and UGBS Legon, obtaining a Bachelor's Degree, three Master's Degrees, and his current pursuit as a PhD candidate. His doctoral research is centered around the exploration of mutual technology projects, highlighting his commitment to innovative and collaborative advancements.
Minister of Agriculture & Land Reclamation, Arab Republic of Egypt
Hon. El Sayed Mohamed Marzouk El Quseir is a distinguished figure in the Arab Republic of Egypt, currently serving as the Minister of Agriculture & Land Reclamation. With a profound commitment to agricultural development and land management, he plays a pivotal role in advancing Egypt's agricultural sector. El Quseir's expertise spans a range of domains, from agriculture to land reclamation. His leadership in these critical areas contributes to the nation's food security and sustainable resource management.
Minister of Industry, Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
Hon. Melaku Alebel is a distinguished Ethiopian politician and public servant, currently serving as the Minister of Industry in the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. He has demonstrated unwavering commitment to driving economic growth, promoting industrial development, and advancing trade relations within Ethiopia and on the international stage. Prior to this, he has served at other different capacities as Vice president and bureau head of industry and Investment, Amhara Regional State, 2018 –2020, Investment Commissioner, Amhara Regional State Investment Commission, 2015 – 2018 and various leadership roles in Amhara Trade and Transport Bureau and Amhara Industry and Urban Development Bureau 2010 – 2015. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Plant Science from Haromaya University and an MBA in Executive Business Administration from Bahirdar University.
Minister of Agriculture, Republic of Malawi
Minister of Investment, Republic of Togo
Hon. Rose Kayi Mivedor has served as the Minister of Investment Promotion in Togo since November 2020, with the mission to advance Togo's aspiration of becoming an appealing investment destination and to attract a greater influx of both domestic and foreign investments. With over 15 years of experience in the banking sector, Ms. Mivedor has held significant senior management positions. Beginning as the Director of Risks and subsequently assuming the role of Director of Corporate Banking at Banque Atlantique Togo, she then transitioned to become the General Manager of Diamond Bank Togo. Eager to take on fresh challenges, she made a strategic move to ORAGROUP, a Pan-African conglomerate, in 2016. Her tenure with ORAGROUP saw her ascend to the position of General Manager for the Gabon subsidiary in March 2018, where she was one of the few prominent women leaders in Gabon's banking sector. In recognition of her achievements, in 2017, Ms. Mivedor was acknowledged as one of the 50 most influential women leaders in Francophone Africa by "Jeune Afrique" magazine. She is a former president of the Association of Banks and Financial Institutions (APBEF of Togo) and an alumna of Science Po Paris. Her accomplishments also extend to winning the prize for Female Entrepreneurship awarded by the French Development Agency in 2017.
Minister of Planning and Investment, United Republic of Tanzania
Hon. Prof. Kitila Mkumbo serves as the Minister of Planning and Investment in the United Republic of Tanzania. Prior to this, Mkumbo ran in the 2020 Tanzanian general election and won the Member of Parliament seat for Ubungo. Before that he had a brief stint in government as the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Water in the Tanzanian Union Government and later a Minister of Industry and Trade. He holds a PhD in psychology from the University of Southampton, UK; Master of Applied Social Psychology and BSc (education) from the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. He has published widely in peer-reviewed journal articles and made dozens of presentations at international academic conferences.
Minister of Agriculture, Zanzibar, United Republic of Tanzania
Hon. Shamata Shaame Khamis serves as the Minister of Agriculture, Zanzibar, United Republic of Tanzania. He is a distinguished Tanzanian politician and public servant, dedicated to promoting agricultural development and ensuring food security within the United Republic of Tanzania, specifically in the region of Zanzibar. Khamis has held various crucial positions in his career. He served as a Livestock Extension Officer within the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources from 2004 to 2010. He continued his impactful service in the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries as a District Veterinary Officer (D.V.O) in Micheweni from 2010 to 2016. Later, he took on the role of Deputy Minister in the Ministry of State President Office for Regional Administration, Local Government, and Special Department from 2016 to 2020. Throughout his political journey, Hon. Khamis has remained committed to the Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party. He has been a party member since 1995 and has been an ambassador for CCM from 2010 to 2015. Notably, he has also served as the Assistance Secretary of Economics And Finance in the Micheweni District under CCM. His dedication to political service led him to become a Member of the House of Representatives, representing the Micheweni Constituency, a position he holds to this day. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Human Resources Management (BHRM) from Open University Tanzania (OUT).
Minister of Investment, Industry and Trade, United Republic of Tanzania
Dr. Ashatu K. Kijaji holds a PhD in International Management Majoring in Economics acquired from University of Agder in Norway between 2008-2013. She also holds a Master Degree of Science in Business Administration specialized in International Management from the same University. Dr. Kijaji is a political-academic figure served in different positions within the government including the current position she holds as the Minister of Investment, Industry and Trade since January 10th, 2022. She also served as the Minister of Information, Communication, and Information Communication Technology between September 12th, 2021, to January 8th, 2022. In the Fifth government under the leadership of the late President John P. Magufuli, Dr. Kijaji served as the Deputy Minister of Finance and Planning between December 12th, 2015, to November 5th, 2020. She also serves as the Member of Parliament for Kondoa Constituency since November 2015. Before joining political arena, Dr. Kijaji held various posts while serving in academic institution namely Mzumbe University since 2002 to 2015 as Tutorial Assistant, Assistant Lecturer, Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, Head of Development Policy Department, and Director of Institute of Development Studies. Dr. Kijaji has a notable achievement while serving as the Deputy Minister of Finance and Planning in collaboration with the then Minister of Finance and Planning, Dr. Phillip Isdor Mpango who is the current Vice President of Tanzania managed to make a country strong in terms of economic performance to qualify for the status of middle-income country as declared by the World Bank.
President & Ceo, Heifer International
Surita Sandosham joined Heifer International in 2022. Born and raised in Singapore, Sandosham has more than two decades of senior leadership experience at global nonprofit organizations. Most recently, she served as Executive Director of Heartland Alliance International, a humanitarian and human rights nonprofit based in Chicago, Illinois. Prior to Heartland, Sandosham was Vice President of Programs at the global nonprofit Synergos in New York, building multisectoral partnerships on behalf of smallholder farmers and other vulnerable populations. Sandosham is a lawyer by training who graduated from City University London and the School of Oriental and African Studies at London University. As an international development practitioner and human rights advocate, she has served in leadership positions at Amnesty International, Equality Now, Rockefeller Foundation, Synergos, and Heartland Alliance International, working to accelerate agricultural growth, address malnutrition, improve retention rates in education and support economic development for marginalized communities.
Minister of Agriculture, Republic of Liberia
The Honorable Jeanine M. Cooper is the Minister of Agriculture of Liberia. She graduated from Michigan State University in 1982 with a double B.A. in Business Administration and in French; and she has an MSc in Managing Rural Change from the University of London, Imperial College at Wye in 2003. Cooper has supported community-initiated agricultural projects and served on the board of directors of developmental bodies and educational institutions in Liberia and in Côte d’Ivoire. Following her time with VSF-S, Mde. Cooper served 13 years with the United Nations. Her, last posting was as the Permanent Observer to the African Union and the Economic Commission for Africa and, Head of the Liaison Office for the U.N. Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA). Ms. Cooper also held postings with the UN-OCHA in Kenya and for the Eastern and Southern Africa region. Honorable Jeanine Cooper founded FABRAR Liberia, currently Liberia's largest rice processor and producer, in 2009 and was managing the company from January 2017 to 2020. The new minister has detailed a vision of the transformation of Liberian agriculture; a visioMadeenteredan on elevation of Liberian farmers from subsistence farming to commercial smallholders. A vision to ensure the supply of quality agricultural products produced in a sustainable and organic manner prized in today’s market.
Speaker of the Parliament, United Republic of Tanzania
Hon. Dr. Tulia is a Member of Parliament and the Speaker of the Parliament of the United Republic of Tanzania. She is also the current President for the Africa Geopolitical Group of the IPU. She is an advocate of the High Court of Tanzania and holds a PhD in Law.
Minister of State for Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Republic of Uganda
Hon. Fredrick Bwino Kyakulaga is a Ugandan Microbiologist and Politician who serves as the State Minister for Agriculture, Animal Industry, and Fisheries, a position he assumed in June 2021. He is also the elected Member of Parliament for Kigulu North in Iganga District on National Resistance Movement ticket. Fredrick Holds a Phd in Public Administration from the Uganda Management Institute, MA in Procurement from Makerere University and currently doing his Phd in Agricultural Research in Plant Pathology Microbiology.
Minister of Blue Economy and Fisheries, Zanzibar
Hon. Suleiman Masoud Makame serves as the Minister of Blue Economy and Fisheries, Zanzibar. Alongside this, he is also an expert in Commercial Law. He is a holder of Master of Laws (LL.M) in Commercial Law from Mzumbe University and has completed a Bachelor of Law and Shariah (LLB) at the Zanzibar University, Zanzibar.
Minister of Infrastructure, United Republic of Tanzania
Hon. Dr. Khalid Salum Mohamed (born 5 October 1961) is a Zanzibari/Tanzanian politician and House Representative for Donge Constituency since 2016. Khalid Mohamed was a finalist in the 2020 CCM Zanzibar presidential primaries.
Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources, Republic of Rwanda
Hon. Dr. Ildephonse Musafiri is a senior economist with more than 19 years of proven experience. He serves as Minister of Agriculture & Animal Resources in Rwanda since March 2023 after serving as Minister of State in the same ministry for 7 months. Prior to that, he worked in the Office of the President for 6 years, respectively as Deputy Head, Head and Executive Director of Strategy and Policy.
Minister of Health, United Republic of Tanzania
Hon. Mwalimu's political journey took root when she joined the CCM in 2007. She has served as a two-term Member of Parliament, initially appointed to represent women in the Tanzanian Parliament in 2010 and then reappointed in 2015. Throughout her tenure, Hon. Mwalimu has held several ministerial positions. From 2010 to 2014, she served as the Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Community Development, Gender, and Children. She also assumed roles in the Vice President's Office and the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs. Hon. Mwalimu has been an advocate for ending underage marriages and has committed to introducing legislation that would make such practices illegal for persons under the age of 18. Her efforts align with a commitment to safeguarding the rights and well-being of Tanzania's youth. Her influence has spanned across various administrations, with roles as Minister of State in the Vice President's Office (Union and Environment) and Minister of State in the President's Office Regional Administration and Local Government (OR-TAMISEMI). Despite the shifting political landscape, her commitment to public health, social welfare, and the development of the nation has remained steadfast. Hon. Ummy Ally Mwalimu's journey in Tanzanian politics and her dedication to enhancing public health and well-being underscore her pivotal role in shaping the nation's policies and governance.
Minister of Trade and Industry, Republic of Rwanda
Hon. Dr. Ngabitsinze was appointed the Minister of State in the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources on March 09, 2020. Prior to being appointed as a Minister of State, he was a Member of Parliament chairing the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) since 2018. Previously, he was a Senior Lecturer at the University of Rwanda for over 10 years, where he taught agricultural economics and agribusiness among other courses, and from December 2018, he was promoted to Associate Professor. Besides teaching and political work, he has served on various boards of government agencies. In 2016, he was appointed to the Board of Directors of the National Agricultural Export Development Board (NAEB) for two years and in the same year 2016, was elected chairperson of Huye District Council. Prior to that, he chaired the National Land Commission under the Ministry of Natural Resources for three years. Ngabitsinze has a PhD in Agricultural Economics from Doctoral School of Technological Innovation in Agri-food and Environmental Sciences from Milan State University, a master’s degree in economics from Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, and a Bachelor's degree in Business Economics from Ca' Foscari University of Venice in Italy. Former Member of parliament where he served as President of Public Account Committee (PAC), Ngabitsinze is fresh from the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (Minagri) where he was Minister of State.
Minister of Health, Republic of Rwanda
Dr. Sabin Nsanzimana is the Minister of Health of Rwanda since November 2022.He previously served as Director General of the University teaching hospital of Butare and the Rwanda Biomedical Centre. He holds extensive experience in infectious disease and non communicable diseases programs design, strategic planning, and implementation science. Dr. Sabin holds a Medical Degree (MD) and a Master’s Degree in Clinical Epidemiology from the University of Rwanda; a PhD in Epidemiology from the University of Basel, Switzerland. Dr. Sabin served as Principal Investigator for several large research projects, including clinical trials in Rwanda and multi-country research collaborations. He is a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburg and African Scientific Institute. He serves as adjunct Assistant Professor of Global Health Delivery at the University of Global Health Equity (UGHE) and Teaches Clinical Epidemiology and research methodology at the University of Rwanda.
Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation, Federal Republic of Somalia
Honorable Ahmed Madobe Nunow is a dedicated public servant and visionary leader who currently serves as the Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation for the Federal Republic of Somalia. With a profound commitment to sustainable development, agricultural advancement, and resource management, Hon. Madobe is a driving force behind Somalia's efforts to enhance food security, promote rural prosperity, and harness the potential of its agricultural sector.
United Nations Assistant Secretary-General, Coordinator Scaling Up Nutrition(SUN) Movement
Afshan Khan is the Coordinator of the Scaling Up Nutrition Movement. She is based in Geneva. Ms. Khan has been an international public servant for over 30 years. Previously she was the UNICEF Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia, and the Special Coordinator for the Refugee and Migrant Response in Europe. She has also held other senior positions including Director of Emergency Programmes for UNICEF; Director of Public-Sector Alliances and Resource Mobilization; Associate Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa; and the UNICEF Representative in Jamaica. Ms. Khan has extensive field experience including assignments in Kenya; Mozambique; Democratic Republic of Congo; and Colombia. She also has broad United Nations-wide expertise stemming from assignments with the Inter-Agency Standing Committee for Humanitarian Affairs (IASC) in Geneva; the Executive Office of the Secretary-General; and the United Nations Development Group. From 2012 to 2014 Ms. Khan took leave from the United Nations to become the CEO of Women for Women International. In that role, she was responsible for setting the strategic vision and mobilizing the necessary resources for women rebuilding their lives after war. Ms. Khan was born in Hyderabad, India, and grew up in Montreal, Canada. She has a Master’s degree in Public Policy from the Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies, and a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from McGill University. She is fluent in English and French.
Executive Director, Food Action Alliance Senior Advisor, COP28 Food Systems Unit
Adam Gerstenmier serves as the Executive Director of the Food Action Alliance, a multi-stakeholder platform initiated by the World Economic Forum, IFAD, and Rabobank to support a transition to food systems that are efficient, sustainable, inclusive, nutritious, and healthy in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals and Paris Declaration. In this role, Adam currently works with more than 40 partner institutions, companies, and countries around the world – including the World Economic Forum and Government of Rwanda as co-leads – to mobilize partnerships and investments behind initiatives that advance food systems action at scale and deliver tangible impact in support of country-led food systems agendas. In complement to this agenda, Adam serves part-time as an official member of the COP28 Presidency team, where he is responsible for leading a pillar of work focused on accelerating national leadership and action for food systems and climate as part of the COP28 UAE Presidential Action Agenda. Prior to these current roles, Adam served as the Chief of Staff in the 2021 UN Food Systems Summit Secretariat, where he supported the Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General to drive the vision and work plan of the Summit over its two-year global engagement process with more than 140 countries and thousands of other stakeholders across all regions. Before this, Adam spent more than a decade as a Chief of Staff and global development strategist, supporting strong leaders to refine and implement their visions. This included five years as Chief of Staff to the President of AGRA, supporting food systems and agricultural transformation across 11 African countries, as well as managing the AGRF as the premier regional forum pulling together stakeholders to take practical actions and share lessons to move African agriculture forward. It also included more than five years in various roles with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, including as Chief of Staff to the Co-Chair, Bill Gates Sr., and as Chief of Staff to the President for Global Policy, Advocacy, & Country Programs, where he worked with teams across five continents to build strategic partnerships to increase awareness, action, and resources devoted to global development priorities. Adam holds a Masters degree in Development Studies from the London School of Economics and a Bachelors degree in Economics from Davidson College. He is based in Kigali, Rwanda.
UN Assistant Secretary General and Director General of the African Risk Capacity (Arc) Group
Ibrahima Cheikh Diong has over 30 years of professional leadership and management experience in Africa, USA, Europe and Asia. In September 2020, he was appointed as UN-Assistant Secretary General and Director General of the African Union specialized agency, the African Risk Capacity (ARC) Group, where he is responsible for defining and executing the strategic vision of the institution. Prior to joining ARC, Ibrahima held several senior positions including Founder and Chairman of ACT Afrique Group; Senior Africa Banker at BNP Paribas; Minister and Special Adviser to the President of the Republic of Senegal; Director General of Int’l Cooperation of Senegal; Permanent Secretary of Energy of Senegal, Manager at IFC Africa Department; Regional Coordinator for Public Private Infrastructure Advisory Facility at the World Bank; and Africa Director for Booz, Allen & Hamilton. Ibrahima graduated from the School of Int’l and Public Affairs (SIPA) at Columbia University in New York City, with a master’s degree in Int’l Affairs (MIA), specialized in Int’l Finance and Environmental Policy. A national from Senegal, Ibrahima is perfectly fluent in English, French, Mandarin Chinese, and Wolof.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Panafrican Farmers Organisation (PAFO)
Babafemi is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Panafrican Farmers Organisation (PAFO). In this role, Babafemi leads the organisation with a membership of over 80million farmers spread across five regional networks in Africa. Babafemi brings three decades of experience in corporate leadership to PAFO, including 10 years in the agriculture industry. Most recently, he served as CEO of African Agribusiness Alliance and CEO of African Cashew Alliance. Prior to these positions, he served as Executive Director/CEO of Africa Energy Investment Corporation (AEICORP), the investment arm of the African Petroleum Producers Organisation (APPO) and General Manager, Banque Internationale du Benin. His extensive experience includes strategy development, risk management, transformational business growth, execution excellence, and partnership development. Dr. Oyewole has almost three decades of corporate governance experience, having served on many boards including Orabank Benin, FINADEV Benin, Supreme Microfinance Bank, Lagos and African Petroleum Institute, Cairo. He was Africa expert for UNCTAD and member of OECD advisory committee on natural resources. He has a PhD from the University of Bradford, UK, MBA from Ogun State University, MSc from University of Lagos and BSc from University of Ilorin, Nigeria. He is married with two children.
Acting Assistant to the Administrator for the Bureau of Resilience and Food Security (RFS) at USAID...
Dina Esposito is now serving as the Acting Assistant to the Administrator for the Bureau of Resilience and Food Security (RFS) at USAID. She also holds the roles of Feed the Future Deputy Coordinator for Development and the Agency's Global Food Crisis Coordinator. Previously, she spent five years at Mercy Corps, where she was the Vice President for Technical Leadership, overseeing subject matter experts providing strategy and support for development and humanitarian programs in over 40 countries. Her areas of focus included economic development, food security, water security, and conflict and governance. Before that, she served as the Director of USAID's Office of Food for Peace, where she managed the Agency's significant food assistance portfolio and contributed to transforming food and nutrition security systems. Throughout her career, Dina has been dedicated to addressing challenges in fragile and conflict-affected regions and pursuing multi-disciplinary solutions. She has a Master's degree from Johns Hopkins University and a Bachelor's degree from Williams College and is married with three children.
Director, Chair of the ReNAPRI Board of Director & Agriculture Principal, College of Economics and Business Studies (CoEBS) at Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA)
Dr. Damas Philip is the Dean at the School of Agricultural Economics and Business Studies (SAEBS) at the Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA). The School has close to 1000 students, a quarter of which are postgraduate students pursuing MSc, MBA (Agribusiness and PhD studies. Bachelor of Business Management (BBM) and PhD (Agribusiness). Prior to joining the Sokoine University of Agriculture, Dr. Philip worked as a Scientific Officer at the Tanzanian Commission for Science and Technology (COSTECH). Dr. Philip holds a Bachelor of Science in General Agriculture and a Master of Science in Agricultural Economics from the Sokoine University of Agriculture. He also holds a PhD in Agricultural Economics from Bonn University. Dr. Philip teaches statistics, farm management and macroeconomics at undergraduate and graduate levels, and supervises undergraduate and postgraduate students’ research projects in a wide range of topics relevant for rural development. Dr. Philip has done research and published various articles in natural resource economics and farm management)
Associate Vice-President, Programme Management Department, at IFAD
Dr. Donal Brown is Associate Vice-President, Programme Management Department, at IFAD. He is responsible for developing and managing the operations that IFAD supports through its loans and grants. He oversees the programme of work of the department, which is undertaken by five Regional Divisions and the Operational Policy and Results Division. Brown previously worked at the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) in a number of senior positions, lastly as the Africa Director, managing 550 staff across the continent. In 2014-2015, he led the UK’s task force to Sierra Leone in support of the government’s efforts to fight Ebola. Brown worked at DFID headquarters and in field offices in Africa, Asia and Latin America, covering all of DFID’s areas of interest. Brown holds a Master’s degree in Tropical Animal Health and Production from the University of Edinburgh, a Postgraduate Diploma in Public Leadership and Management from the University of Warwick and a Bachelor’s in Veterinary Science from the University of Bristol, as well as an Honorary Doctorate in Social Justice from the University of Winchester.
Chief Executive Officer Syngenta Group
J. Erik Fyrwald joined the Syngenta Group, one of the world’s leading agriculture companies, in June 2016 as Chief Executive Officer. Erik Fyrwald served as chief executive officer of Univar, a leading distributor of chemistry and related services, from May 2012 until May 2016. In 2008, following a 27-year career at DuPont, he joined the Nalco Company, a leading water treatment products and services company, serving as chairman and chief executive officer until December 2011, when Nalco merged with Ecolab Inc. Following the merger, Erik Fyrwald served as president of Ecolab, a global provider of water, hygiene and energy technologies. From 2003 to 2008, Erik Fyrwald served as group vice president of the agriculture and nutrition division at the DuPont Company. From 2000 until 2003, he was vice president and general manager of DuPont’s nutrition and health business. Erik Fyrwald attended the University of Delaware, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering in 1981. He also completed the advanced management program at Harvard Business School. Erik Fyrwald serves on the boards of directors of Syngenta Group, Eli Lilly, the Swiss-American Chamber of Commerce and the UN World Food Programme Farm to Market Alliance. He is also Chairman of the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture and CropLife International. Erik Fyrwald was born in the United States in 1959 and is an American citizen.
African Union Special Envoy for Food Systems
Dr. Ibrahim Assane Mayaki of the Republic of Niger is the former Chief Executive Officer of the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD). He held this position from 2009 to April 2022. A former Prime Minister of Niger, from 1997 to 2000, Dr. Mayaki has a Master’s degree from the National School of Public Administration (Enap), Quebec, Canada and a PhD in Administrative Sciences from the University of Paris, France. He worked as a Professor of Public Administration in Niger and Venezuela. From 1996 to 1997, he was appointed Minister in charge of African Integration and Cooperation and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Niger. In August 2000, he set up the Analysis Centre for Public Policy in Niger. From 2000 to 2004, Dr. Mayaki was a guest Professor at the University of Paris XI, where he lectured on international relations. He also led research at the Research Centre on Europe and the Contemporary World within that university. In 2004, he served as Executive Director of the Platform in support of Rural Development in West and Central Africa, the Rural Hub, based in Dakar, Senegal.
Advisor and Global Lead for Food Systems at the World Bank
Geeta Sethi is the Advisor and Global Lead for Food Systems at the World Bank. She is the lead architect of the World Bank’s Food System Transformation agenda, a food system that provides the triple bottom line—prosperity, sustainability and healthy people. She also manages the World Bank’s program on Food Loss and Waste Reduction. She has more than 20 years of experience working as an economist on fragile, low-, and middle-income countries. Her work has focused on issues of rural development, service delivery and intergovernmental fiscal policies around the world. She has delivered many lending programs to the World Bank Board and published books and articles in refereed journals on issues relating to rural labor markets, trade policy and fiscal decentralization. Previously, she was the Chief of Staff to the Climate Change Vice President and Special Envoy, the Operations and Strategy Manger for Climate Change, and worked as the Program Manager for the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program. She has an MBA and PhD in Economics.
Deputy Director, Inclusive Rural Transformation and Gender Equality Division, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations
Lauren M. Phillips is an international political economist and currently Deputy Director for the Inclusive Rural Transformation and Gender Equality Division of the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization. Prior to joining FAO in 2021 she worked in a variety of policy, strategy and advisory roles at another specialized agency of the United Nations, the International Fund for Agricultural Development from 2015-2021, as an Assistant Professor in the Department of International Relations at the London School of Economics (2008-2014), as a Research Fellow at the Overseas Development Institute (2005-08), and in a variety of private finance roles in the City of London and New York. She holds a PhD in International Political Economy from the London School of Economics and Master and Bachelor degrees from Stanford University. Lauren is also an Adjunct Professor at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Bologna, Italy, and has published widely on finance and development.
Executive Director, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN)
Dr Lawrence Haddad has been GAIN’s Executive Director since 2016. In 2020 he was asked by the UN Deputy Secretary General to Chair Action Track 1 of the 2021 United Nations Food Systems Summit : Ensuring Access to Safe and Nutritious Food for All. Lawrence is the co-founder of the Standing Together for Nutrition, a response to the COVID-19 crisis, and is one of the drivers behind the Initiative on Climate and Nutrition (ICAN) which was formally launched by the Egyptian Government at COP27. Prior to GAIN, Lawrence was lead author of the Global Nutrition Report, Director of the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), and Director of the Food Consumption and Nutrition Division at IFPRI. He was made a World Food Prize Laureate in 2018 and was awarded a CMG in the 2023 UK Honours List for his “services to international nutrition, food and agriculture” . Click here for more.
Board Member, AGRA
H.E. Lionel Zinsou is an economist and former Prime Minister of the Republic of Benin (2015-2016). Born in 1954, he holds dual Beninese and French citizenship. He is currently Managing Partner of Southbridge, a leading-edge professional services platform that provides consulting services, investment banking advisory, and private equity entirely focused on Africa. From 2008 to 2015, he served successively as Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of PAI Partners, a French private equity firm with more than € 11 billion in assets under management. Prior to joining PAI, H.E. Zinsou worked for over 10 years at Rothschild & Cie, where he was Managing Partner from 1997 onwards. In this capacity he served as Head of Global Consumer Goods and Head of Africa Middle East until 2008. Previously, Dr. Zinsou had worked at world leading food company Danone, which he joined in 1986 as Financial Controller. He then went on to serve as its Corporate Development Director, Head of UK-USA operations, CEO of the overall Grocery Division and Executive Committee member. His professional career began as a Research Student at the London School of Economics. In 1978 he went on to work, first as Associate Professor and then as Lecturer in Economics and Social Sciences at the University of Paris XIII. He remained Director of the Centre for Social Sciences of the Ecole Normale Supérieure from 1983 to 1986. During that time, he also worked as a consultant to the United Nations Development Programme and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization. In addition, he was involved in two long-term missions for the French Government, first as a researcher in the “Research and Prospective” division within the Ministry of Industry (1980-1984) and then as a member of the office of Prime Minister Laurent Fabius (1983-1986). H.E. Zinsou is a graduate of the Ecole Normale Supérieure (Agrégation in Social Sciences and Economic History – 1978) the premier French institute for higher education and research, as well as of the Institut d’Etudes Politiques (Sciences –Po) and the Paris IV and VII Universities. Mr. Zinsou is currently on the board of several companies including the PAI supervisory Board (Vicechair), the Danone group Board of Directors and the Americana Board (UAE). He is also actively involved in community work, serving as President of the Fondation de l’École Normale Supérieure, of the Fondations Terra Nova and AfricaFrance, and of the Société des Amis du Musée Branly-Jacque Chirac, as well as Administrator to the Ashinaga Foundation (Tokyo), the Fondation Sanofi, and the Fondation Zinsou, the latter of which he also founded.
Founder of LEAP Africa, Changing Narratives Africa and African Food Changemakers
Ndidi Okonkwo Nwuneli is an expert on food ecosystems, entrepreneurship, social innovation, and youth development. She has over 25 years of international development experience and is the founder of LEAP Africa, Changing Narratives Africa and African Food Changemakers. She is also the co-founder of Sahel Consulting Agriculture & Nutrition Ltd. and AACE Foods Processing & Distribution Ltd. Ndidi serves on the boards of the Rockefeller Foundation, the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), AGRA, Nigerian Breweries Plc. (Heineken), Godrej Consumer Products Ltd. India, Stanbic IBTC Group, the Young Global Leaders of the World Economic Forum, and the Bridgespan Group. Ndidi holds an M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School and an undergraduate degree with honors from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. She was a Senior Fellow at the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business & Government at the Harvard Kennedy School, a visiting Scholar at Max Bell School of Public Policy at McGill University, an Aspen Institute New Voices Fellow, and an Eisenhower Fellow. Ndidi is TED speaker, was recognized as a Schwab Fellow and a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum and has received numerous awards and recognitions including a National Honor by the Nigerian Government and the 2021 Harvard Business School Distinguished Alumni Award. She is the author of “Social Innovation in Africa: A Practical Guide for Scaling Impact,” and “Food Entrepreneurs in Africa: Scaling Resilient Agriculture Businesses,” both published by Routledge and “Walking for God in the Marketplace.”
Executive Chairperson, AKADEMIYA2063
Dr. Ousmane Badiane, Distinguished Fellow of the African Association of Agricultural Economists, recipient of the Africa Food Prize in 2015 and member of the World Academy of Sciences, is the founder and Executive Chairperson of AKADEMIYA2063. He has over 30 years of experience as an academic and a practitioner in international development. As the Director for Africa at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), he was instrumental in developing and guiding the implementation of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP). As Lead Specialist for Food and Agricultural Policy at the World Bank, he served as advisor to the Vice President for Africa and originated projects with funding ranging from US$5 million to US$150 million. Between research and development finance, Dr. Badiane taught Economics of Development in Africa at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies for many years. Dr. Badiane received PhD in Agricultural Economics from the University of Kiel in Germany. He is also the recipient of a Doctorate Honoris Causa from the University of KwaZulu Natal.
Partner, Nairobi office, McKinsey & Company
Omid Kassiri is a Partner in the Nairobi office of McKinsey & Company. He is one of the core leaders of the Agriculture practice in Africa, having served governments, investors, operators and not-for-profit players in the sector across Africa. His work has covered a wide spectrum of topics across agriculture and food systems, spanning from government policy to digital enablement, investment due diligence and JV investment support. He is also personally invested in the sector across primary production (horticulture and aquaculture), logistics and big data for agriculture – bringing a very practical perspective to his work from the field. Notably he is leading McKinsey’s partnership with IFAD, the Gates Foundation and AGRA to establish the African Agricultural Transformation Initiative, an IFAD hosted Unit, designed to support countries to implement their agricultural and food-systems’ strategies. The AATI is currently active in Malawi, Senegal and Kenya. This will be expanded to other countries. He holds a BSc from University of Cape Town and an MSc from MIT.
Founder of Rural Outreach Africa (ROA)
Prof Ruth Khasaya Oniang’o is an award winning, distinguished nutritionist, academic, and development practitioner. She has received notable recognitions and many awards: in 2022 IUFoST (International Union of Food Science and Technology) Lifetime Achievement Award for exemplary action to create change to improve the lives of all and for her outstanding work and scientific achievements over a lifetime of service; in 2018, she received Honoris Causa from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland in recognition of major achievements in her field; and received the Africa Food Prize in 2017 for her relentless efforts to feed the continent at grassroots levels, just to mention three. She is a strong advocate for nutrition and eradication of hunger and poverty, and believes this can be achieved through efficient management of Africa’s vast natural resources, and agriculture. She founded the Rural Outreach Program (now Rural Outreach Africa) in 1992 to harness the intellectual resources in the university and connect it with the various capacities within the communities to improve rural poor people’s livelihoods. In 2001, Prof. Ruth founded the African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development (AJFAND) to provide an avenue for sharing scientific findings as well as a mentoring platform for young African scholars and others interested in Africa’s food and nutrition issues. She served in the Kenyan Parliament from 2003 to 2007 where she focused on these issues. “Without healthy citizens, Africa cannot catch up with the rest of the world, and this requires good governance”.
President, Global Growth & Opportunity Division, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
As a member of the Executive Leadership Team, Rodger oversees the Agricultural Development, Financial Services for the Poor, Global Education, Nutrition, and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene programs, which each year pays out approximately $700 million in awards. In this role, Rodger leads foundation efforts to combine policy change with science, technology, and business innovation to: • Alleviate hunger and poverty for millions of farming families in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia by sustainably increasing agricultural productivity. • Make high-quality digital financial services accessible to hundreds of millions of people living in the poorest parts of the world. • Promote foundational literacy and numeracy skills among children of primary school age in Sub-Saharan Africa and India. • Develop and deliver groundbreaking advances in sanitation products and services to people in the developing world.
Senior Vice President for the Food Initiative at The Rockefeller Foundation
Roy Steiner, PhD, is the Senior Vice President for the Food Initiative at The Rockefeller Foundation, where he leads a team focused on creating a more nourishing, regenerative and equitable food system. Roy comes to The Rockefeller Foundation from the Omidyar Network, where he served as Director of the Intellectual Capital team since 2015, focused on helping Omidyar achieve its strategic objectives at all levels including in the agriculture space. He dedicated nearly a decade of his career to leadership positions at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where he was a founding member of the Agricultural Development initiative and was instrumental in working to develop the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, the creation of Ethiopia’s Agricultural Transformation Agency, and dozens of other partnerships which addressed food insecurity around the world. Before the Gates Foundation, Roy spent eight years in Africa where he was founder and CEO of Cyberplex Africa, one of the largest web development and knowledge management companies in southern Africa. Early in his career, he was an original founder and managing director of Africa Online, which pioneered the delivery of Internet service in Zimbabwe. Additionally, he was a founding member of CH2MHill’s Strategies Group and has consulted for McKinsey & Company in the areas of technology innovation, growth strategies and international development. Roy holds a PhD and a Master of Science in agricultural and biological engineering with minors in economics and international development from Cornell University, as well as two degrees in mechanical engineering and biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Chair Professor and Dean of the Academy of Global Food Economics and Policy (AGFEP) China Agricultural University (CAU)
Dr. Shenggen Fan is Chair Professor and Dean of the Academy of Global Food Economics and Policy (AGFEP) at China Agricultural University (CAU). Prior to joining CAU, He served as director general of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) from 2009 to 2019. His research interests include food and nutrition security, agricultural and rural development, poverty reduction, and the transformation of food systems and global food security. He is currently the CGIAR System Board member, acting board chair of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), and vice board chair of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI). He is also a member of the advisory council at the World Food Prize Foundation and a member of the EAT-Lancet commission. He is awarded as a Fellow of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association (AAEA) and an Honorary Life Member of the International Association of Agricultural Economists (IAAE).
Ambassador at Large Global Food Security, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, Spain and CFS Chairperson
Currently serving as Ambassador at Large for Global Food Security at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation of the Government of Spain. Former Director-General for Sustainable Development Policies from 2018 to 2021. In this position, he has been the lead author and strategist of the 2030 Agenda Implementation Action Plan of Spain, coordinating the Spanish Voluntary National Review at the High-Level Political Forum. Lead author of the Spanish Cooperation Joint Response Strategy to COVID-19 pandemic. He served in the Executive Office of the United Nations Secretary-General from 2011 to 2017, including as Coordinator of the UN Secretary-General High-Level Task Force on Global Food Security and as Team Leader of the UN Secretary General´s Special Representative for Food and Nutrition Security from 2016 to 2017, based in Rome. In this capacity, he was representative of the UN SG at the Advisory Committee of the Committee on World Food Security and at the Steering Committee of the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program. He was part of the Milano Group on Sustainable Food Systems convened by UN SG Ban Ki-Moon in 2015 and made seminal contributions to linking ending hunger, poverty and climate-compatible sustainable food systems.
Head, Region Europe, Middle East, and Africa Crop Science Division, Bayer
Jens Hartmann is the Regional Head for Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) for the Crop Science Division at Bayer. His focus at Bayer is driving business growth focused on commercial innovation and execution, such as in the fields of climate-smart innovations, and digital, allowing him to help Bayer unlock agriculture’s great transformation across the EMEA region. Jens has worked in the agriculture industry for his entire career spanning over 30 years with a passion for emerging markets, smallholder farmers and digital. Prior to assuming the overall responsibility as Regional Head for Europe, Middle East, and Africa, Jens led Commercial Operations for Asia Pacific region at Bayer Crop Science, where he oversaw the business in delivering value for customers in Asia. He has held various global and regional leadership roles across the Crop Science division, including the division’s Global CIO (Chief Information Officer), Head of Global Marketing for Commercial Operations and Country Cluster Head for South Asia. His working experience includes various commercial and managerial positions in South Africa, Kenya, Pakistan, India and Singapore. Jens has a B.A. in economics from Cologne, Germany.
Executive Director, Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture in Basel, Switzerland
Simon Winter is Executive Director of the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture in Basel, Switzerland. He previously worked for TechnoServe, McKinsey, the Botswana government, and Barclays Bank. From 2015-2017, he was a Senior Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, where he researched into climate risks and sub-Saharan food and agricultural systems. Simon holds advisory positions with e.g., the World Economic Forum and the Private Sector Mechanism for the Committee on World Food Security. He chairs the Steering Committee of the Farm to Market Alliance and the Board of ACRE Africa. Simon holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of London, UK.
President and Chief Executive Officer, Yara international ASA
Svein Tore Holsether (born 1972) is President and Chief Executive Officer of Yara International since 2015. 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 member of the steering committee of Food Collective and a nature champion and member of the Alliance of CEO Climate Leaders at the World Economic Forum (WEF). He was a co-founder of the GoGettaz agripreneur prize with Agnes Kalibata and Strive Masiyiwa, and was also a Commissioner of the Business and Sustainable Development Commission (BSDC). He is elected President of NHO, the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise. Mr. Holsether has a BSc degree, specializing in Finance & Management, from the University of Utah, USA.
Executive Director African Agricultural Transformation Initiative
Ms. Safia Boly, a national of Mali, has a wealth of experience in the public and private sectors with wide ranging responsibilities in decentralized operations and programmes. She began her career in 1997 in the private sector as the Head of the Finance Department for a drilling company in Mali, managing financial plans and performance for drilling projects. She further enriched her skills in this field by joining the World Bank Group and later the International Finance Corporation in Washington, D.C as a consultant in Accounting and Finance. In 2002 she began a rich career in the oversight and management of field operations at the United Nations which would last over sixteen years. She first joined the Office of the United Nations Controller in New York where she worked on financial management and internal controls for UN field missions. As her experience in the oversight of field operations grew, she joined the UN Regional Service Centre in Entebbe, Uganda in 2012 and led the transformation of the shared service centre to provide efficient and effective support to UN Field Operations. In 2017 she left the Centre for the United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo to lead the logistics support to the electoral process and the UN’s response to the 9th Ebola crisis in the country and subsequently as Chief of Staff of the peacekeeping mission during the transition of the leadership team. In 2018, she joined the Government of Mali as the Minister in charge of the Reform of the Administration and of the Transparency of Public Life. This role was followed by a second position as the Minister for Promoting Investment, Small and Medium Enterprises and National Entrepreneurship. In this position, she led national programs for the promotion of SME and Microfinance in support of the Agriculture Sector. Ms. Boly holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the Ecole Nationale d’Administration of Mali and a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Florida State University.
Director General, IITA and Regional Director for Continental Africa, CGIAR, Côte d'Ivoire
Simeon Ehui, a national of Cote d’Ivoire, was World Bank’s Regional Director for Sustainable Development for Africa and Regional Director for West and Central Africa July 1, 2020 - covering agriculture, environment, social, water, urban, and climate. His main responsibility, among other things, is to provide vision, coherence, and focus for sustainable development in West and Central Africa consistent with the regional/country strategies. Before his current assignment, Simeon was Director of the World Bank’s Food and Agriculture Global Practice (2017-2019). Since joining the World Bank in 2003, Simeon has held several 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 sectors such as agriculture, environment, transport, and energy. Before joining the World Bank, Simeon 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). Simeon holds a Masters (1983) and Ph.D. (1987). in Agricultural Economics from Purdue University, in Indiana, USA, and has published extensively in his field. He also holds a Masters (1981) and Bachelors (1980) in Economics from the National University of Cote d’Ivoire Simeon is an honorary fellow of the African Agricultural Economist Association, and a Distinguished Agricultural Alumnus of Purdue University.
Deputy Director, UN Food Systems Coordination Hub/p>
Ms Sylvia Ekra brings 20 years of experience in development, gender and migration work to the United Nations System. Sylvia first joined the International Organization for Migration (IOM) at its Headquarters in Geneva in 2002, as a project officer working on an initiative striving to mobilize the African diaspora to benefit African development and prosperity. She later led the organization’s gender coordination work for many years, during which she steered the agency’s efforts on gender mainstreaming and protection from sexual exploitation and abuse. In 2014, she was posted in Accra as the Chief of Mission and Country Representative for the IOM offices in Ghana, Benin and Togo. She also served as the United Nations Resident Coordinator ad interim in Ghana, from December 2018 to May 2020. She was later on appointed UN Resident Coordinator in Morocco by the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, a role she occupied from August 2020 to July 2022. Sylvia, is a binational of Cote d’Ivoire and France and a lawyer by training, holds a master’s degree in International Administration, with honours, from the Panthéon-Sorbonne University in Paris, France.
President and CEO, TechnoServe
William Warshauer is the President and CEO of TechnoServe, a nonprofit that harnesses the power of the private sector to help hardworking people in the developing world lift themselves out of poverty. Since joining TechnoServe in 2014, Will has led the organization to grow its impact to historic heights and to achieve a #1 ranking in charities fighting poverty, as assessed by an independent ratings agency. Will brings more than 30 years of experience in international development and the private sector to his position. He launched his career as a Peace Corps volunteer in Sierra Leone and has since worked in over 40 developing countries. Prior to joining TechnoServe, Will served as chief operating officer of Pact and as president of the Pact Global Microfinance Fund, which made over $120 million in loans to poor rural women in 2013. Previously, Will served as executive vice president for health and development solutions with Voxiva Inc., which was an early pioneer in developing mobile phone-based health information systems. As a former executive vice president at PSI, he led initiatives such as the development of the organization’s global strategic plan and oversaw a $90 million portfolio of social marketing health programs in Africa. Will has been a guest lecturer at business schools such as Yale, Columbia, and the University of Virginia, and a speaker at the World Economic Forum, Clinton Global Initiative, Concordia Summit, Net Impact, and Harvard’s Social Enterprise Conference, among others. He has served on several nonprofit boards and is a member of the Nespresso Sustainability Advisory Board. Will is an honors graduate of Yale University and received his master’s degree from the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs.
Senior Program Officer, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Vicki Wilde is a Senior Program Officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Agricultural Development team. She is responsible for the Women’s Empowerment portfolio. In addition to managing grants aimed at empowering women in farming households and agribusiness, she works closely with the foundation’s teams for climate adaptation, nutrition, crops, livestock, markets, data, and policy. Before joining the foundation in 2014, she had 30 years’ work experience in agricultural development. After a decade of field missions throughout Asia and Africa on behalf of FAO, IFAD and WFP, Vicki became the founding director of two programs. In 1999 the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) selected her to set up the Gender & Diversity Program, working with 15 international agricultural research centers worldwide. In 2007, she founded African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD), to build a new generation of African women scientists committed to addressing hunger and poverty through agricultural innovations in 11 countries. She holds a master’s degree in Environmental Psychology from the City University of New York, and a bachelor’s degree in Social Ecology from the University of California, Irvine.
Board Member, AGRA
Ambassador David J. Lane (Ret.) is president of The Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands, a post he has held since September 2016. Before that, from May 2012 until August 2016, he served as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Agencies in Rome, promoting policy reforms in the areas of food security and development. Prior to his service in Rome, Ambassador Lane worked in the Obama administration as Assistant to the President and Counselor to the White House Chief of Staff. From 2007 until 2011, he was President and Chief Executive Officer of the ONE Campaign, a global advocacy organization focused on extreme poverty, especially issues of global health, economic development, and effective governance. From 2001 to 2007, Lane directed the East Coast office of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, leading its public policy and advocacy efforts. In the 1990s, Ambassador Lane held several appointments in the Clinton administration, including Executive Director of the White House National Economic Council and Chief of Staff to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and serves as Chairman of the board of directors for the Stimson Center, a nonpartisan policy research center. A native of Florida, Lane earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political and Social Thought from the University of Virginia and a Master of Public Affairs from the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs.
Chair of the Council of Governors; Governor Kirinyaga County, Republic of Kenya
Her Excellency Governor Anne Mumbi Waiguru is a renowned technocrat, public policy expert and the first of only three women governors in Kenya. She is also the Chair of the Council of Governors in Kenya. Governor Waiguru is recognized globally as one of the most competent female leaders under 50. As a thought leader of public-sector reform for more than 15 years, Governor Waiguru has a wealth of experience in both the private and public sector. Her achievements in both are a manifestation of an emerging stateswoman in Africa.
Governor for Vihiga County-Kenya
H.E. Dr Wilber K. Ottichilo is the current Governor for Vihiga County-Kenya. Dr Ottichilo attended Makerere University from 1974 to 1977, the University of Nairobi from 1981 to 1983, as well as Colorado State University from 1984-1986. He obtained his doctorate in Natural Resource Management and Space Science from the University of Wageningen International Institute for Earth Observation and Geoinformation in The Netherlands. Prior to becoming the MP for Emuhaya Constituency, Dr Ottichilo was the Director General for the Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development (RCMRD), an agency of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA). He was elected to parliament through a by-election after the Emuhaya Constituency seat in the Kenyan parliament became vacant, following the election of Kenneth Marende as speaker of the National Assembly.
State Minister of Agriculture, Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
Hon. Fikru Regassa is State Minister, Ministry of Agriculture, Ethiopia. He is trained in veterinary medicine, molecular biology, and bioscience engineering. His career spans academia, including establishing capacity development initiatives to train African biotechnologists in improving animal health and production through the development of diagnostic tools and vaccines. In 2019, he was appointed Dean of the College of Veterinary medicine at Addis Ababa University. Board member (Ethiopia) in September 2020.
Minister of Labour, Economy and Investment, Zanzibar
Hon. Mudrick Ramadhan Soraga serves as the Minister of Labour, Economy and Investment in Zanzibar. With a proven track record in government administration, he excels in areas such as Policy Analysis, Program Evaluation, Public Policy, and International Relations. His expertise is backed by a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a focus on Business Administration and Management from the Eastern Southern African Management Institute (ESAMI). His contributions highlight a strong dedication to fostering community and social services.
Talk Show Host, Jeff Koinange Live, Citizen Tv
Mr. Jeff Koinange is currently host of the popular and controversial Talk Show, Jeff Koinange LIVE #JKL broadcast on Kenya’s most watched Television Channel, CITIZEN TV. He also hosts a breakfast show on Hot 96 FM alongside Nick Odhiambo. Mostly known as a journalist, broadcaster, and television news anchor, Jeff is a great negotiator, a skilled motivator, excellent showman and gifted presenter. Jeff’s genius for reporting and keen understanding of his subject’s overshadows all his flaws, making him one of the most successful reporters to originate from Africa. Jeff makes interviewing look effortless, but the subject is always treated with integrity and credibility. He is the First Black African journalist to be prominently featured on international network television and at CNN, Jeff cemented his reputation as one of the most accomplished journalists of our time. Perseverance is the hallmark of Jeff Koinange’s career, impartiality and level-headedness is what makes the audience truly… Sit back! ... through many memorable interviews to his jaunty refrain All Kenyan! All the Time! Jeff is also a keen and energetic Master of Ceremonies and has hosted numerous Bilateral and Multilateral events for the African Development Bank (AfDB), the World Health Organization (WHO), The United Nation’s Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), The Economic Commission of Africa (ECA), the East African Community (EAC), the African Union (AU) and various United Nations (UN) Organization agencies.
Journalist, Broadcaster & Co-Founder of Moderate The Panel LLC
Femi Oke is an international multi-platform television and radio journalist, conference facilitator, webinar host, professional moderator, MC, and co-founder of the all-female diverse moderators bureau "Moderate The Panel." Her career began when she was fourteen years old, as a junior reporter for the United Kingdom's first talk radio station LBC. Femi continued to work for commercial radio during her time at school and university. When she graduated from Birmingham University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature and Language she joined the BBC as a radio reporter and producer. Before re-locating to the US Femi worked for BBC television and radio, Sky Television and all the UK terrestrial television networks. Femi Oke joined CNN International in 1999. Based at the CNN Center in Atlanta she spent nine years anchoring and reporting. At a time when CNN's Africa coverage was sparse, she helped devise, launch and develop the network's award-winning African affairs programme "Inside Africa". Femi has trained broadcast meteorologists in Argentina and Mozambique for the UN's World Meteorological Organisation. Speaking, lecturing and moderating credits include the University of Liberia, Emory University, University of South Carolina, European Commission, and the United Nations. In 2007 Femi Oke's work in Africa was recognised by The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Communications Agency with the presentation of the "African Achievers Award 2007". Femi was also named Nigerian media personality of the year in 2007 and picked up the Interaction media award in 2008 for her commitment to broadcasting the complex issues of Africa. Based in London and Washington, D.C where she hosted “The Stream” for Al Jazeera English for a decade, Femi currently reports for NPR's "Here and Now", moderates internationally, and leads the team at Moderate The Panel LLC.
Salma Abdulai is the Co-Founder and CEO of Amaati Company limited, a company that reflects her experience and passion for agriculture and social consciousness. She has her background in Agricultural Economics and has 15 years of relevant working experience and over a decade working on different projects with International non-profit organizations. Her extensive experience in the agriculture sector is particularly focused on working with small scale rural farmers and women groups across Africa. Amaati is an agri-business company she founded and manages since 2013. As a local impactful social business to a global market space, the company specializes in processing and marketing of DIM Fonio grain and flour. She has been recognized internationally as a Cartier Laureate Sub-Saharan Africa (2017), Expo Live global entrepreneur (2018), ‘Business Woman of the decade’ Award from Women Economic Forum (2018), Crans Montana’s New Leaders for Tomorrow awardee (2019) among others.
Managing Director of AFEX Investment Limited
Samirah is the Managing Director of AFEX Investment Limited. She serves on the company’s Executive team where she plays a defining role in overseeing corporate finance and strategic investments critical to unlocking capital for producers, processors, and investors in the agricultural value chain. She leads the newly created team responsible for building distinctive financial solutions and deeper stakeholder relationships that ensure AFEX’s inclusive, sustainable, and innovative business model sets it apart in the commodities ecosystem. To achieve this, she believes in listening to the needs of the clients rather than pushing innovative products to them directly. And this she does leveraging her proven track record of strong leadership, driven by empathy and thoughtful strategy. At AFEX, Samirah is eager to create scalable financial solutions. Along with passion, she brings an endless curiosity and over 21 years of experience successfully managing and providing financial services and resolutions for some of Nigeria’s best business entities like United Bank of Africa PLC, Agro-allied, Olam, real oil, spring field, etc. She earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, and a master’s degree in business administration from Lagos Business School.
Co-Founder and Deputy CEO of Achiever Foods Ltd
Millicent Adoboe is a Food Scientist, Generation Africa Impact Award Winner, Leadership Coach and an Agripreneur. She is the Co-Founder and Deputy CEO of Achiever Foods Ltd in Accra, Ghana. In 2016, she almost died of iron deficiency anemia (a malnutrition disease). During this trauma, she discovered an indigenous climate adaptive crop called turkey berries in her community which helped improve her nutrition and recovery. Together with her husband, they researched the plant and discovered it’s rich in micronutrients that can be of great support to improving nutrition, food security and fighting hunger in Africa and the world. Through her innovation and technology as a Food Scientist, she processed and preserved the crop into ready to use nutritious foods. She empowers small holder farmers and creates a ready market for the turkey berry crops. Millicent’s agribusiness also helps reduce the post-harvest losses that these farmers face after the crop is cultivated by processing them into 20 shelf stable nutritious foods. Through this, she has also created jobs for 16 youth in her community. Since her agri-business conception in 2018, they have received four awards in Istanbul -Turkey, Nairobi – Kenya, and Accra Ghana respectively for its nutritious innovation and impact. One of the awards was given in 2020 by AGRA-Generation Africa, for helping to improve the nutrition of over 400 pregnant women in her community in Ghana. Millicent currently sells her products in Ghana, USA, UK, and some other parts of Africa. She has been trained in leadership and entrepreneurship by Orange Corners Youth Program and PALI Institute. Millicent has been engaged by Global Youth Forum and Nourishing Africa on matters related to Leadership and Food Security. She is a member of the World Food Forum and Nextgen Youth Ambassador empowering the youth especially women in agriculture, with a current focus on 50 smallholder women Farmers.
Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research University of Ghana Research Fellow
Andrew is a native of Akyem Tafo in the Eastern Region of Ghana and has lived and worked in the UK (National Energy Foundation) and in Tanzania (Mzumbe University) as a s Researcher. Between June 2015 and June 2018, he worked at the World Bank, Washington D.C, USA as a Consultant in the Chief Economist’s Office, Africa Region. Between 2018 and 2021, Andrew was a Research Fellow at the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research, University of Ghana, where he was promoted to Senior Research Fellow in 2022. His rich experience doing development research across continents has not only enhanced his ability to work with teams with multi-cultural backgrounds, but also appreciate the need to explain research outcomes within different regional and cultural contexts. He also participates fully in community service. For example, he nurtures younger people in his local church and teaches both graduate and undergraduate courses at the University of Ghana. Andrew received his Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in 2005 and a Master of Philosophy in Agricultural Economics from the University of Ghana in 2008. He also obtained a Doctor of Philosophy in International Development Economics from the Open University, Milton Keynes, England in 2014.
Country Manager, FOLU Ethiopia Africa
Sofia Ahmed leads the Food and Land Use Coalition’s Ethiopia platform, hosted as part of the World Resources Institute (WRI) Africa, which supports transformational change in Ethiopia’s food and land use systems by strengthening the scientific and economic evidence-base for policy reform. Sofia has a strong background in policy and civic engagement, particularly in the field of food systems, having previously served as Economic Justice Policy and Research Coordinator for Oxfam and Civic Engagement Advisor for Save the Children.
Chief Executive Officer of HarvestPlus Solutions
Arun Baral is Chief Executive Officer of HarvestPlus Solutions, overseeing its global effort to develop and deliver micronutrient-rich staple food crops to reduce micronutrient deficiency (or “hidden hunger”) among malnourished populations. He focuses on developing effective partnerships to sustainably scale up biofortification and support development of food systems that provide access to nutritious food for all. He joined HarvestPlus in 2017 as Chief Financial Officer, after more than 30 years in the international agriculture sector, based in Asia, Africa, and the United States. He spent over 24 years at DuPont Pioneer, including as Asia Regional Business Director, where he was instrumental in developing and executing a strategy that significantly grew the Asia business. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Drake University in Iowa, and a Bachelor of Commerce (honors) from Delhi University in India.
Executive Director, ELICO Foundation
Born and raised in Tanzania, Sisty Basil is the Executive Director at ELICO Foundation, a local NGO working to solve persistent last mile energy challenges across Tanzania and beyond. Sisty has over twelve years’ experience working with different environmental and renewable energy institutions and companies. He has worked on biomass energy and climate change programmes and provided advisory services on renewable energy issues to a wide range of actors. He holds an MSc in Environmental Management.
Deputy Regional Director, WFP Southern Africa Region
Mrs Adeyinka Badejo-Sanogo is currently the Deputy Regional Director of the United Nations World Food Programme, focusing on 12 countries in the Southern Africa region. Prior to her current role, she served as the Country Director of WFP South Sudan for nearly three years. She managed a diverse programme portfolio with an annual budget of USD 900 million, addressing humanitarian needs, enhancing the resilience of marginalised communities, and strengthening institutional capacities. From 2016 to 2021, she was the WFP Representative and Country Director in Cote d'Ivoire. During her tenure, she provided strategic guidance in transforming WFP from solely providing food assistance to becoming a facilitator of sustainable food security. She further guided the Government of Cote d'Ivoire in establishing the Centre of Excellence against Hunger and Malnutrition in Africa (CERFAM). She also led the expansion of capacity-building initiatives for smallholder women farmers, including literacy training and financial inclusion, to bolster food security and create economic opportunities for women and youth. Since 2001, she has served in various management roles at the World Food Programme in Afghanistan, Cambodia, Cote d'Ivoire, Nepal, Pakistan, Palestine, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe. She has held multiple management roles throughout her tenure, focusing on creating policy and programme formulation and implementation, gender equality and social protection, youth participation in agri-value chains, and facilitation of swift humanitarian responses. Ms. Badejo also made her mark in the private sector at Goldman Sachs, New York, and Heritage Reporting Corporation, Washington, DC. She holds two Bachelor's degrees in Sociology and Economics from the University of Massachusetts, and a Master's degree in Economics from the University of Toledo, United States of America.
President, African Youth in Livestock, Fisheries and Aquaculture Incubation Network (AYL-FAIN)
Jean Baptiste Hategekimana is a dedicated professional with a wealth of experience in agribusiness and sustainable development. As a proud father and visionary leader, he has played key roles in fostering youth empowerment and promoting sustainable agriculture. From 2016 to 2020, Jean Baptiste served as the Chairman of the Rwanda Youth in Agribusiness Forum (RYAF), where he contributed to the growth and development of young agribusiness enthusiasts. Currently, he leads the African Youth in Livestock, Fisheries and Aquaculture Incubation Network (AYL-FAIN) since 2018, further highlighting his commitment to empowering the next generation in these crucial sectors. As the Co-Founder and CEO of Stewardship Agribusiness Incubation Centre (SAIC), Jean Baptiste focuses on business development services in the areas of Agri-Food Systems and Green Economy. He graduated in Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness in 2012 from the National University of Rwanda and continued his education with an MSc in Poverty Reduction: Policy and Practice from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London. Jean Baptiste's expertise spans agribusiness, international trade, youth and women empowerment, global health leadership, economic democracy, consumer rights protection, and climate change adaptation. SAIC collaborates with various stakeholders in the agricultural sector, providing support to horticulture and dairy farmers, beekeepers, rabbit farmers, and input makers. Their services range from farm operations management and climate-smart animal feeding to business development and incubation. Jean Baptiste's dedication to sustainable agriculture and youth empowerment is a driving force in his career, making a positive impact on both the industry and society at large.
Global Program Leader for Food Security & Rural Wellbeing, Global Center on Adaptation
Dr. Oluyede Ajayi serves as the Global Program Leader for the Food Security & Rural Wellbeing Program at the esteemed Global Center on Adaptation. With a rich background in international development and extensive experience in scientific research on agriculture and natural resource management, Dr. Ajayi brings valuable insights to the table. He has also been actively involved in fostering private sector engagement and has successfully designed and managed global projects aimed at enhancing the resilience of farmers across Africa, the Caribbean, and the Pacific countries.
Assistant Lecturer, College of Economics and Business Studies (CoEBS)
Aika Aku is an Agricultural economist at the College of Economics and Business Studies (CoEBS), Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) in Tanzania with vast experience in teaching, research and consultancy. Her area of interest is on crops value chain, rural urban livelihoods, poverty and gender dynamics. Earlier in her carrier she worked as a research assistant in different research organization such as Agricultural Policy Research in Tanzania (APRA), Innovation for Poverty Action (IPA), World Vegetable Centre (AVRDC), MSU and IFPRI to mention few. In the recent past years, she was involved in the coordination of an Agricultural Programme for sunflower commercialization and Participatory Impact Pathways Analysis on rice farmers under APRA project. Ms. Aku has also worked and conduct research on value chain development and upgrade in sunflower, rice, cashew nut and beef. As a member and active participant in the African Network of Agricultural Policy Research Institutes (ANAPRI), she has gained relevant in a multi-disciplinary area including value chain studies, agricultural policy, commodity investment and private sector development. She has participated in conducting agricultural policy research especially in agricultural marketing and have contributed to the high-quality evidence to inform policy on future agricultural commercialization options and investments in oilseeds (sunflower and palm) and cashew commodity markets. The policy research was conducted in collaboration with other African countries, under the ANAPRI.
Managing Director of the Mastercard Foundation Africa Growth Fund
Samuel Akyianu is the Managing Director of the Mastercard Foundation Africa Growth Fund (the “Fund”), representing MEDA as the lead implementing partner. In this role he leads a consortium of five partner firms to deliver investment capital and technical assistance to investment vehicles (“IVs”) across sub– Saharan Africa. Since June 2022, the Fund has committed US$25m into four (4) IVs and working and warehousing capital to two (2) more IVs. The Fund intends to reach 20 IVs with US$150m in catalytic capital while providing technical assistance to ensure Gender Lens Investing, and support to the indirect portfolio of 200 SMEs – all towards our ultimate goal of jobs for women and the youth. Samuel has over 25 years of experience in designing, implementing, and leading delivery of financial advisory solutions across Africa and Asia, including coverage of Private Equity (PE) funds, Startup ecosystems, export agribusinesses, SMEs, private education, health insurance & services, and business sustainability. Prior to the Fund role, Samuel worked with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) for about 16 years and has held various roles across several sectors. In his most recent role as Global Head, Samuel managed the investment advisory for IFC’s global portfolio of SME Ventures funds (Assets under management approximately USD $1 billion), providing investment and technical assistance advise at fund manager, portfolio company levels and to regulatory ecosystems. Prior to IFC, Samuel was a Director of Investment for TechnoServe where he managed a USD $10 million investment fund to sustain TechnoServe's operations and financing guarantees for SMEs. In this role, he also managed a team to deliver Business Development Services and investment readiness/business plans for agribusiness SMEs. Samuel also worked as a Finance Consultant with EY Ghana, formerly PKK Consulting. Samuel has a Masters of Business Administration degree, Finance and Financial Management from the University of Ghana Business School, is a Chartered Accountant (ACMA/UK), has a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering, from Kwame Nkrumah' University of Science and Technology, and a post graduate diploma in Strategic Agri-Marketing, Agricultural Business and Management from Purdue University. During his time wit IFC, Samuel benefitted from several certifications on Investment, Technical Assistance, Sustainability and graduated from IFC’s Global Business Leadership Program.
Co-Founder & CTO of Thrive Agric
Ayo Arikawe is the Co-Founder & CTO of ThriveAgric Limited, a fast-growing agricultural technology company based in Nigeria, passionate about ensuring food security. An avid reader, nature lover, and serial solution creator, Ayo co-founded ThriveAgric in 2017 (& began fully in 2018) based on a vision to build an Africa that feeds herself and the world, by linking smallholder farmers to finance, data-driven best practices, and access to local & global markets for their commodities. To date, ThriveAgric has produced and traded 500,000+ metric tonnes of grains; impacted 2600 communities across 23 states in Nigeria, and onboarded over 200,000 farmers (some of whom now produce up to 6% of Nigeria’s total maize demand), in just four years of full operations. Amongst other solutions, Ayo is the brain behind ThriveAgric’s proprietary technology; its Agricultural Operating System (AOS), which powers several apps that enable and enhance different aspects of the company’s operations as well as provide other big data benefits to the agricultural ecosystem.
Founder and CEO, Agri Innovation Hub
Hazel Awino, is the Founder of Agri Innovation hub and AgriSoko – a two-time award-winning mobile prototype solution. She has more than five years’ experience in Aggregation, Agriculture and Mobile application development and is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in physical education at Kenyatta University. Agri Innovation Hub Kenya Ltd provides a holistic solution to potato farmers not only through their AgriSoko app, but also though their monthly trainings. Hazel Awino is currently working to train her farmers four times per season on pre- and post-harvest handling practices and on sustainable farming. She is also working to improve AgriSoko, a mobile solution that aims to automate the daily farm activities for small-scale potatoes farmers as well as providing markets.
Senior Agroecology and Policy and Advocacy Advisor at World Agroforestry (ICRAF-CIFOR)
Dr. Alex O. Awiti is Senior Agroecology and Policy and Advocacy Advisor at World Agroforestry (ICRAF-CIFOR), after having served as Vice Provost at Aga Khan University. Before assuming the role of Vice Provost, Dr. Awiti was the Founding Director of the East Africa Institute of Aga Khan University. He also served as interim Dean for the Graduate School of Media and Communications between February 2019 and June 2020. Dr. Awiti is an interdisciplinary scholar, whose research intersects agriculture, ecology, education, youth, climate and society, health policy and the economy. He is a regular commentator on public policy issues on news networks in East Africa and international media such as CNBC, BBC, CGTN, Bloomberg News and Al Jazeera TV. Prior to joining the Aga Khan University, Dr. Awiti was a postdoctoral fellow at the Earth Institute at Columbia University in the City of New York. Dr. Awiti was a scientist at the World Agroforestry Centre in Nairobi for nine years where, with colleagues, he pioneered the application of infrared spectroscopy for diagnostic surveillance of soil quality at the farm and landscape scale. Dr. Awiti is an alumnus of the Commonwealth Study Conference Leaders programme, a global leadership programme for exceptional leaders from the Commonwealth, run in partnership with the Duke of Edinburgh’s Commonwealth Study Conference. He is also an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Geography and Environment at University of the Fraser Valley in British Columbia, Canada. He sits on the Board of International Development Research Center. Dr. Awiti is an Associate Professor and holds a PhD in Ecosystems Ecology
Tewodros Y. Ayele is a keen agricultural economist with over 30 years of professional experience in Agricultural Development, Marketing and Commercialization; livelihoods & resilience across all agro-ecologies (Highland, Mid-land and Pastoral). Mr. Ayele has an extensive experience in leading programs focusing on youth livelihood, Agri-business, and projects/ programs with a market systems development approach. Essential character traits of Mr. Ayele included ability to apply a strategic mindset, business insight and organizational savvy to drive results in complex environments, ability to collaborate, communicate effectively, instill trust, and demonstrate self-awareness, ability to build effective teams and to be resourceful, and ability to provide effective leadership and drive team spirit.
Global Lead on Inclusive Markets and Impact Investment with SNV Netherlands Development Organisation
Eelco Baan is the Global Lead on Inclusive Markets and Impact Investment with SNV Netherlands Development Organisation. He has more than 30 years of experience in inclusive market development and impact investment with a focus on the development of inclusive, sustainable, and competitive value chains and agribusinesses. He has co-developed the Agri-Food strategy of SNV with a focus on sustainable and resilient food systems, and heads SNV’s Community of Practice on Regenerative Agriculture.
Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO)
Ayodeji Balogun is the Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO) of AFEX, where he is leading a team of experts leveraging technology, innovative finance, and inclusive agriculture to connect agriSMEs and smallholder farmers to commodity and financial markets. He holds an MBA from Lagos Business School and a certificate in Creative Leadership from the THNK School of Creative Leadership. He has also graduated from the Global CEO – Africa program of IESE Business School, and the Managing Fast Growing Companies Executive Program of the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Ayodeji has almost twenty years’ experience trading across West Africa as well as in building and scaling businesses across Sub-Saharan Africa. He serves on several capital market boards and works with several institutions on food security and financing agriculture. Ayodeji began his stint at AFEX by developing the company’s new market entry strategy in East and West Africa. He then resumed as the Country Manager for AFEX Commodities Exchange Limited in Nigeria, and the Business Lead for Africa Exchange Holdings Limited in West Africa. In both roles, he pioneered the development of a private sector-led commodities exchange and warehouse receipt system, and doubled as the Product Development Manager, leading value chain development in the agriculture Sector, and designing physical and derivative contracts for commodities across markets in Africa. His interest in commodity trading was stoked early when he began learning about trade in the family business. His first solo run as an entrepreneur was at the age of thirteen when he had to consummate a transaction worth USD 4,000 (at today’s value), and he grew to manage the family-owned commodities trading business, with a turnover of over USD15 million, before joining the MBA program at Lagos Business School. He also founded a haulage business, was part of a mobile service start-up, and part-owned an agribusiness venture.
Country Director, Farm Africa, Tanzania
Mary Batterman is the Country Director for Farm Africa in Tanzania. She has lived and worked in Tanzania for almost 15 years, with a career focusing on agriculture, market systems strengthening, supporting small and medium enterprises, private sector development and renewable energy. Before joining Farm Africa, Mary headed the Tanzanian office for the Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF), which has invested in over 70 agribusinesses and renewable energy companies throughout the country. Mary holds a Master’s in Public Policy from Princeton University.
Director of the National Institute of Agronomic Research (INRA), Morocco
Faouzi Bekkaoui is the director of the National Institute of Agronomic Research (INRA), Morocco and the scientific director of the Adaptation of African Agriculture initiative. He is president of the scientific council of MAScIR and a member of the Board of Trustees of ICARDA. He was previously director of the school of agriculture and coordinator of the AgroBioSciences research program at the University Mohammed 6 Polytechnic of Benguerir (2017-19). He also worked as Executive Director of National Research Council Canada (NRC) Flagship Wheat Improvement Program (2012-2017), at the NRC Plant Biotechnology Institute in Molecular Biology and Genomics as manager (2006-2011), at Genome Prairie as project manager (2003-2006) at GenServe as laboratory manager (1999-2003) and ID Biomedical in the field of DNA diagnostics as scientist and program lead (1993-1999). During his career, he has co-authored 45 scientific articles in the fields of Agriculture, DNA diagnostics, molecular biology, genomics and plant physiology. He is inventor in three US patents in molecular diagnostics. He has also contributed recently to numerous national and international panels under the theme of food security and climate change. Bekkaoui holds a master's degree in physiology from the University of Tours (1983) and a doctorate in plant physiology (1986) from the University of the Sorbonne (formerly Paris 6).
Chief Scientist, Bureau for Resilience and Food Security United States Agency for International Development
Robert Bertram is the Chief Scientist in USAID’s Bureau for Resilience and Food Security, where he serves as a key adviser on a range of technical and program issues to advance global food security and nutrition. In this role, he leads USAID’s evidence-based efforts to advance research, technology and implementation in support of the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative, Feed the Future. He previously served as Director of the Office of Agricultural Research and Policy in the USAID Bureau for Food Security, which led implementation of the first Feed the Future research strategy and related efforts to scale innovations in global food security efforts, working with a range of partners. Prior to that, he guided USAID investments in agriculture and natural resources research for many years. Dr. Bertram’s academic background in plant breeding and genetics includes degrees from University of California, Davis, the University of Minnesota and the University of Maryland. He also studied international affairs at Georgetown University and was a visiting scientist at Washington University in St. Louis. He has been especially active in plant genetic resources policy as it relates to research for development, including applications of biotechnology in food security-related research. Before coming to USAID, he served with USDA's international programs as well as overseas with the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) system.
Entrepreneur, Food Processing Engineer
Charlotte Ngo Binya, an experienced entrepreneur in the agri-food sector, boasts an impressive track record spanning 8 years. At 29 years old, she has demonstrated her versatility by establishing a thriving food processing industry, successfully running a restaurant, and currently engaging in fish farming and their subsequent transformation into sausages. Apart from her business ventures, Charlotte also holds the role of a dedicated trainer, generously offering her expertise to assist young female entrepreneurs. Her voluntary support aims to equip them with the necessary tools for fostering business growth and development.
Deputy Director, Africa Office, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)
Samuel Benin is a graduate of University of Ghana, Legon (BS, 1988), University of Massachusetts, Amherst (MS, 1993) and University of California, Davis (PhD, 1998), with specialty in econometrics, natural resource economics and development economics. Sam joined IFPRI with the Development Strategy and Governance Unit in 2004 as a Research Fellow and Leader of the Uganda Strategy Support Program for the design, implementation and monitoring and evaluation of key agricultural and rural development strategies in Uganda. In 2006, Sam relocated to the Washington DC office to lead the research program on Pro-Poor Public Investment, focusing on assessing the impact of public investments, policies and programs on poverty reduction, growth, and other human development indicators in Africa. From 2010 to 2012, Sam managed the inter-Center Regional Strategic Analysis and Knowledge Support System (ReSAKSS) for the implementation of the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP), and then the Statistics on Public Expenditures for Economic Development (SPEED) from 2015 to 2017. Sam became a Senior Research Fellow in 2017 and then Deputy Division Director of the Africa Regional Office later in the year, assisting the director in managing the office’s research portfolio and providing intellectual leadership and guidance for the strategic research areas and capacity building activities. Sam conducts research on national strategies and public investment for accelerating food systems transformation in Africa and provides analytical support to the African Union’s CAADP Biennial Review.
Managing Director Directorate of SDG Innovation and Economic Transformation United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)
As Managing Director, Mr. Beger is heading the Directorate for SDG Innovation and Economic Transformation, which is responsible for the development of innovative UNIDO services in the areas of agro-industry and agribusiness, sustainability standards and fair production, and climate-relevant or climate-improving technologies. The Directorate is also in charge of developing innovative technical cooperation concepts, identifying new sources and means of finance and entering into new partnerships with a broad range of relevant stakeholders. Before assuming his position as Managing Director in October 2022, he also provided his expertise as Special Advisor for Agribusiness at UNIDO. Prior to working for UNIDO, Mr. Beger served as Executive Director for Germany at the World Bank Group as well as in several leadership positions in the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development of Germany from 2013-2021, as Director-General for Global Health, Private Sector, Trade, Sustainable Supply Chains and Rural Development and as Head of Political Staff. From 2006 – 2013, Mr. Beger worked in numerous leading functions at the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection of Germany, such as Head of Division for International Projects, Twinning; and Head of Division for Promotion of Foreign Trade and Investment. Earlier in his career, he served as Head of Division for Agriculture at the German Embassy in Moscow, Russia (1995-2000). In the years 1991 to 1995, he worked at the German Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Forestry as Advisor for International Cooperation and Trade. Gunther Beger holds a Master`s degree in Agricultural Economics.
Network Director Agribusiness Market Ecosystem Alliance (AMEA)
Mark Blackett is a Chartered Accountant with an MBA who worked for KPMG and multinational companies before leaping into development work in 2000. Mark has worked for large and small NGOs leading work on business development services, social marketing, inclusive and sustainable agribusiness development, as well as contributing to a number of large-scale humanitarian responses. Mark has worked in Uganda, Sudan, Vietnam, Ethiopia and Tanzania and currently leads the Agribusiness Market Ecosystem Alliance (AMEA). AMEA is a network of 31 of the leading development organisations, foundations and businesses which support inclusive agribusiness initiatives. AMEA enables these organisations to collaborate with the aim of accelerating the development of Farmer Organisations and Agri-SMEs as professional agribusinesses. AMEA already reaches 2 million farmers and aims to reach 50 million by 2030.
Chair, Finance and Human Resources Committee, AGRA
Frank N. J. Braeken graduated with a degree in Law and holds an MBA degree in Finance from the University of Leuven (Belgium). He is an alumnus of the Wharton Executive Program, Penn University (Philadelphia / USA). In his professional career, he specialized in finance and in general management. From 1996 to 2013, he held various management functions in different countries for Unilever, including a position as Regional President of Unilever China (Shanghai), Regional President of -Unilever Namca (Dubai), Regional President of Unilever Africa (Dubai / Durban). Subsequent to leaving Unilever, Frank has acted as investment advisor for large scale agro and food enterprises on the African continent and established his own commercial farming operation in Uganda. He is a member of the board of Swiss engineering group Buhler, Zambia based agro-business Zambeef, Marie Stopes International, myAgro and The AECF, a development institution which supports businesses in rural and marginalized communities in Africa. In 2016 he was elected Chairman of the Board of Feronia Inc., a Toronto listed palm oil producer on the African continent.
Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Agriculture and Turf Division, Africa and Asia
Jason P.H. Brantley is Vice President, Ag & Turf Sales and Marketing, Africa and Asia, for John Deere. He is responsible for leading John Deere’s agricultural machinery and technology business in the region. His team is focused on providing customers at all stages of mechanization with the highest levels of performance and uptime, and lower overall costs through a network of world-class dealers. From 2015-2018, Mr. Brantley served as Managing Director for the John Deere sub-Saharan Africa Sales Branch based in Johannesburg and was responsible for leading John Deere’s agricultural business in sub-Saharan Africa. He and his leadership team built a solid foundation to support Deere’s strategy and leveraged John Deere’s unique strengths to transform agriculture on the continent for both large and small farmers by successfully implementing the S.M.A.R.T. Campaign. Mr. Brantley began his career with John Deere in 1993. Since then, he has held leadership positions in sales, marketing, product development, innovation, and strategy in both the Ag & Turf and Construction & Forestry divisions. As John Deere’s Director of Enterprise Advanced Marketing, he was responsible for John Deere’s innovation strategy and led key growth initiatives through technology innovation centers located in the U.S., Germany, Brazil, China, and India. Mr. Brantley also serves as a board director for Amadas Industries, the leading manufacturer of peanut harvesting equipment globally, as well as a board director for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s U.S.-Africa Business Center in Washington, DC. Mr. Brantley is an appointed member of the President’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa (PAC-DBIA), now in his second term, and chairs the subcommittee on Agribusiness & Food/Water Security. Mr. Brantley received his BS in Industrial Engineering from North Carolina State University and his MBA from the Krannert School of Management at Purdue University.
Global Advocacy Director - Food and Nutrition Systems | CARE
Christine Campeau is the Global Advocacy Director for Food and Nutrition Systems at CARE, where she leads the execution of CARE's global policy and advocacy on food and water systems at global, regional, and national levels. Most relevant to the focus of this session, Christine serves on the Scaling up Nutrition (SUN) Movement’s Executive Committee, which acts on behalf of the SUN Movement Lead Group to oversee the implementation of the Movement’s strategy for SUN 3.0 (2021-2025). Prior to this, Christine worked for as UN Nutrition to support the UN inter-agency coordination mechanism for nutrition, as well as supporting the SUN Networks while working at the SUN Movement Secretariat. Christine was the Deputy Chair of the UNFSS’s Action Track 4 to advance equitable livelihoods. Christine continues to guide the work of CARE country offices to support the implementation of national food systems pathways and established the Decent Work for Equitable Food Systems Coalition alongside ILO and IFAD. As a contributor to the Food Systems Countdown Initiative, she helps measure, assess, and track the performance of global food systems toward 2030 with a specific focus on workers’ rights and nutrition. Christine holds a Master of International Relations from Webster University, Geneva, Switzerland, with a combined focus on international diplomacy and climate-induced migration. Born and raised on a farm in Southern Ontario, she has spent countless hours volunteering on farms across Canada and working with farmers in developing countries. Her personal goal is to work with committed farmers, entrepreneurs, social movements, academics, governments, and decision makers to build resilient food systems that ensure global food and nutrition security and decent work for all.
Senior Manager of Information Systems at AKADEMIYA2063
Babacar Ceesay is the Senior Manager of Information Systems at AKADEMIYA2063. Before assuming his current role, Babacar gained valuable experience as the Manager of Data-Centric web applications, where he witnessed firsthand the transformative power of data-driven solutions. Prior to this position, he was a Website and Database Developer at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in Senegal. Babacar is both a certified Project Management Professional (PMP)® and COBIT® 5 implementer. He holds a Master’s Degree in Information Systems and Software Engineering from MIT Senegal. Before joining IFPRI, Babacar served as a software engineer in the private sector , lecturer in web development technologies at Institut Supérieur des Arts et Métiers du Numérique (SUP’ IMAX) in Dakar and held consultancy jobs for various national and international organizations.
Head of Partnerships for Sustainability (P4S) - Africa & Middle East, UPL
Mr. Florent Clair is a French Tropical Agronomist Engineer with a master’s degree in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Management. He has worked in Africa for the last 12 years on the structuration of sustainable agriculture supply chains. He joined UPL in Ivory Coast in 2016 as Cocoa Lead and then supported the roll-out of sustainability services for UPL food chains partners. His current role is to foster collaboration with development institutions across Africa to catalyze the impact of UPL's actions on farmers' livelihoods, and to introduce innovative technologies and practices into African value chains.
Executive Director, Farm Radio International (FRI)
Rex Chapota is a highly experienced, dynamic, International development leader pushing the boundaries of digital solutions as a key catalyst for food systems transformation. Rex believes that the future of Africa now lies in well informed and engaged citizenry who are able to contribute to the discourse and narrative towards the emancipation process of their lives. Rex is at the forefront of expanding the power of ICTs such as Interactive Radio in well thought and evidence based Social and Behavior Change Communication (SBCC) systems that bring scale and impact. Rex is currently leading the growth and strategy portfolio at a leading C4D institution, Farm Radio International (FRI) Global Office, Ottawa, Canada. He previously worked as Regional Program Manager for East and Southern Africa & Strategic Opportunities Advisor in sub Saharan Africa. He is the founding Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Farm Radio Trust; a fast growing, local, ICT based extension and advisory organization in Malawi. He is a leading voice in taking agricultural extension at the center of the Food systems transformation narrative.
Former Member of the Executive Committee of the World Economic Forum
Sean de Cleene is highly regarded internationally as a systems leader and for his work in brokering relevant transformational partnership and inclusive business solutions. These often involved a range of complex government, business and civil society interactions and blended investment strategies, that aimed to deliver impact at scale in the areas of food security, agricultural development, natural resource management, climate change, blended finance, innovation, and data systems. As a member of the Executive Committee of the World Economic Forum, for nearly six years, he had executive oversight and responsibility for Food Systems at different times, for the Tech for SDGs portfolio, the Sustainable Development Investment Partnership (SDIP), Nature portfolio, Climate Governance Initiative, Hoffman Tech and Environment PhD Fellows, and Civil Society Engagement. Sean recently chaired the UN Food Systems Summit Innovation Lever of Change. Sean brings a lot of experience catalysing multifaceted investment partnerships like Grow Africa, Grow Asia, Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania and the Beira Agricultural Growth Corridor or more recently Food Innovation Hubs in India, Vietnam and Colombia, or as the Co-Chair ad interim, together with the Chair of the OECD DAC, of the Sustainable Development Investment Partnership which oversaw a number of blended financing sprints including the establishment of the Asia Energy Transition Mechanism initially focused three Southeast Asian countries with high share of coal power – Indonesia, Philippines, and Viet Nam and the Country Financing Roadmaps for the SDGs for both Ghana and Saint Lucia. Previously he held positions as - Senior Vice President Global Initiatives, Strategy and Business Development for Yara International, Vice President of Business Development, Inclusive Finance and Strategic Partnerships at AGRA and for an extended period, as a leading social entrepreneur co-founding and/or chairing a portfolio of leading initiatives and organisations in Africa and Asia.
Deputy Administrator, United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
Dr. Coleman is responsible for USAID’s policy and programming, overseeing the Agency’s Regional and Pillar Bureaus. As Deputy Administrator, she guides USAID’s crisis response, including on the National Security Council, and supports efforts to address the root causes of conflict. She also is responsible for overseeing Agency efforts to promote food security and strengthen education, health, democracy, and economic growth. Ambassador Isobel Coleman is a foreign policy and global development expert with more than 25 years of experience working in government, the private sector, and non-profits. Previously, she was the Chief Operating Officer of GiveDirectly and from 2014-2017, she was the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations for Management, Reform and Special Political Affairs. Dr. Coleman spent more than a decade as a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, where she directed CFR’s Women and Foreign Policy program. She started her career with McKinsey & Co. A graduate of Princeton University, she earned MPhil and DPhil degrees in International Relations from Oxford University, which she attended on a Marshall Scholarship.
Global Director at IDH
Kebba is a Global Director at IDH, responsible for the overall strategy development, convening and execution of IDH’s work on agriculture value chain transformation particularly in Africa. IDH is a sustainability, market transformation organization which sets up strategic partnership with food companies, financial institutions, and organizations to develop and transform inclusive agriculture value chains. Creating economic impact at scale for SMEs and smallholder farmers globally. Kebba has over the past 11 years, developed and lead IDH’s work on agriculture value chains. Partnering with African food manufacturing companies, FMCG’s and investment institutions to enable SMEs increase commercialisation and industrialisation and become prominent food manufacturing companies that produces food and ingredients for the African markets. This enables African food companies and FMCG’s to increase their local sourcing in Africa, increase the intra-Africa trade and large-scale job creation. Kebba is also heading IDH’s work on African food systems transformation. One of such is the newly launched South African food systems alliance in which major food companies and financial institutions signed a Covenant to work together and source at least 80% of their raw material and ingredients need in Africa by 2033. Prior to joining IDH, Kebba was head of sustainable trade at Ahold and ICA Sweden, two of Europe largest food retail companies - leaders in supermarkets and e-commerce. Kebba was leading sustainability and development of sustainable supply chains with focus on emerging supplies in Africa, South America, and Asia for supply to the European market. Kebba has a multinational and cultural background with extensive knowledge and experience of supply chain development, agriculture business development, African and European markets. Kebba holds M.B.A from Södertörn University in Stockholm Sweden.
GIS and Imagery Specialist, USDA’s International Production Assessment Division (IPAD) of the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), Washington, DC
Lisa Colson is a GIS and Imagery Specialist with USDA’s International Production Assessment Division (IPAD) of the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) in Washington, DC. She advises on maintaining geospatial web applications, makes trade and agricultural maps, and provides training.
CEO, Bill & Melinda Gates Agricultural Innovations
Dr. Joe Cornelius is the chief executive officer for Bill & Melinda Gates Agricultural Innovations, also known as Gates Ag One. As CEO, Joe sets a visionary and strategic course that champions innovations and cultivates global networks that prioritize the needs of smallholder farmers. Joe brings over four decades of experience developing and launching new product inventions and has led breakthrough life-science research at multiple public and private sector organizations including the Advanced Research Projects Agency in the U.S. Department of Energy. During his tenure, he launched multiple innovation platforms that improve soil health, increase agricultural productivity, enhance climate resilience, and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. He is a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Agronomy, Crop and Soil Science Societies, and the Eruopean Federation for Food Science and Technology. Dr. Joe Cornelius holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Crop, Soil, and Environmental Science from Michigan State University, as well as an MBA in Technology Entrepreneurship.
President of the Farmers Organisation Network in Ghana (FONG)
Dr. King-David Amoah is a very resourceful, results oriented and a committed professional with documented contributions in providing superior results. He is the President of the Farmers Organisation Network in Ghana (FONG) Executive Director of the Ecumenical Association for Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development (ECASARD). He is a member of the National Steering Committee for the Aflatoxin Control in Ghana; a member of the National Steering Committee of the FBO Secretariat of the Directorate of Agricultural Extension of Ministry of Food and Agriculture; Chairman of National Steering Committee of Global Environment Facility of the Small Grant Progam of the UNDP; a member of the Board of the National Biosafety Authority of Ghana; and Chairman of the Nursing and Midwifery Training College, Yeji. He has over 25 years experience working with NGOs and especially Farmers.
Co-Founder and Chief Operations Officer, Pure and Just Company Limited
Emmanuel is a multi-lingual entrepreneur with 10 years experience in agribusiness. An Ashesi alumni, he started a foundation while at the university to teach good agricultural practices to farmers in Berekuso - as well as starting a dried pineapple company. After graduating he brought his technical and social experience to his role in Pure and Just Co.Ltd, managing all operations and farmer liaisons. Together with his co-founder, they’ve been able to raise $370K in investment and generated a total of $250K in revenue over 5 years. Emmanuel is a also a volunteer advisor for the Ashesi Entrepreneur capstone project.
Senior Program Specialist, Climate Resilient Food Systems Division
Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office, Nairobi, Kenya Email: firstname.lastname@example.org/ Phone: +254 725 707879 Twitter: @Ampaire15 / Edidah Lubega Ampaire | LinkedIn Dr. Edidah Lubega Ampaire is a Social Science Researcher working with IDRC’s Climate Resilient Food Systems Division, leading work on gender equality and inclusion, in addition to managing research for development grants and funding partnerships. She is passionate about research for development work around gender equality and inclusive policy and in translating scientific knowledge to influence policy change. Before Joining IDRC in 2017, Edidah worked at the CGIAR for 14 years performing different roles, including researching on gender in agrifood policy, and climate change adaptation and farmer-based organizations; managing R4D projects and capacity building initiatives in the Eastern and Southern Africa region. With 27 years of work in both research and development sectors, Edidah sees a brighter future in translating scientific knowledge to development outcomes. Edidah holds a PhD in Rural Development from the University of Pretoria, South Africa, an MSc. in Agricultural Extension Education and a BSc. Degree in Agriculture from Makerere University, Uganda. Personal statement: I am committed to influencing those around me until gender equality, and the enabling policy and regulatory environment becomes a reality. Until social norms shift to allow transformative sustained change. Whether gender equality happens tomorrow or decades later, it deserves every breath, effort, and creativity now. Quote (when presenting): Transformation of food systems will happen when we address gender inequalities. Formal policies are not sufficient to drive change at local level. Appropriate regulatory interventions are needed to remove social norms and cultural barriers that reinforce inequalities.
Founder & CEO of Agrodemy
BLucy Chioma Aniagolu is an ambitious 25 year old entrepreneur and social impact advocate From Enugu,Nigeria. She is renowned for her pioneering work as the Founder & CEO of Agrodemy, a thriving social enterprise startup empowering agribusiness enthusiasts with training, digital tools, and a marketplace FOR AGRIBUSINESS BEYOND FARMING. Her exceptional achievements and contributions have earned her numerous accolades and recognition from prestigious institutions, including the British American Tobacco Foundation, MTN Nigeria, Oxfam, the US Consulate in Lagos, The University of Nigeria, and the International Breweries PLC foundation. Lucy's passion for youth development and community engagement is exemplified by her volunteer work. She serves as the NGIN Ambassador for Agriculture from Nigeria, advocating for the empowerment of youth in the agricultural sector. As a seasoned project manager, Lucy has amassed valuable experience through her collaborations and internships with renowned organizations such as Aquatic Hub Afrique, the University of Nigeria Nsukka, Incydas, UNICEF, and Empowering Africans through Education Initiative. Her passion for continuous learning led her to excel academically, with a Postgraduate Diploma in Technology, Entrepreneurship, and Design from the esteemed Nigerian University of Technology and Management (NUTM) and a Bachelor's degree in Zoology and Environmental Biology from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. Additionally, she holds a Mini-MBA from the Tekedia Institute and has honed her entrepreneurial skills through programs like the US Consulate Academy for Women Entrepreneurs and the Future Female Business School of the UK TECH Hub. Lucy's dedication and innovative spirit have been recognized globally, as evident through the prestigious awards and honors she has received. Notable among them are the Farmers for Future awards in 2019, the Global Entrepreneurship Award of Lagos in 2019, and being named among the Top 25 Entrepreneurs in Nigeria by the Nigerian-Canada Investment Summit in 2019. In 2020, she was nominated for the 25 under 25 Agriculture Awards and emerged as a top 10 finalist in the Ayute Challenge by Heifer International. In 2022, her trailblazing efforts were acknowledged with the Top 20 Agribusiness Founder by the GAIN Agric Innovation Challenge, the Winner of Grooming Endowment GET Accelerated Fund, and a Top 10 Startup by Thought for Food (TFF) on Nutrition in Africa. Moreover, she proudly became an incubatee at the Oranger Corners Program, a Government of the Netherlands initiative. Lucy is not just an ambitious entrepreneur but also a faith-driven individual with a deep commitment to creating a positive impact in society. Beyond her work, she indulges in her passions for dancing, traveling, and photography.
Program Director, YouLead - Africa Youth Leadership Program, Tanzania
Sodfa Daaji is a women's rights advocate, passionate about feminist jurisprudence, movement building and knowledge production. She is the Program Director of Africa Youth Leadership Program (YouLead), and the founder of the African Legal Think Tank on Women's Rights. She also serves as an associate at Nawi - Afrifem Macroeconomics Collective. Previous work experiences span from the African Union Office of the Youth Envoy, the Council of Europe, and Greenpeace among others. Currently, she serves in the International Advisory Board of the Royal Holloway Gender Institute, and in the Steering Committee of Women in Dev. For her work, Sodfa was recognized among the 100 most influential people in the world in Gender Policy by Apolitical, and among the 100 most influential people of African Descent in the category of Law and Justice.
Founding Director of the West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI)
Eric Yirenkyi Danquah holds a professorship in Plant Molecular Genetics at the University of Ghana (UG). He is a former Dean of International Programmes, UG. As the founding Director of the West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI), UG, he has dedicated his effort to training a new wave of plant breeders who would enhance the varieties of staple crops in Africa, since 2007. His role extends internationally as an Adjunct Professor at Cornell University, USA, the University of Western Australia, and Murdoch University, Australia. He is a member of the Standing Advisory Group on Nuclear Applications (SAGNA) at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) based in Vienna, Austria. Danquah laid the groundwork for the African Plant Breeders Association (APBA) by serving as its first and incumbent president, and he contributes his expertise to various international boards across the globe. Danquah’s research interests lie in identifying beneficial genes/traits to enhance staple crops across Africa. He has contributed to the scientific community with 165 peer-reviewed journal articles. Academically, he achieved his BSc. degree in Crop Science from the University of Ghana and furthered his studies with an MPhil in Plant Breeding and a PhD in Genetics from the University of Cambridge, UK. Eric’s work has earned him several accolades, including the UG Distinguished Award for Meritorious Service in 2013, the 2018 Laureate, Global Confederation of Higher Education Associations in Agriculture and Life Sciences (GCHERA) World Agriculture Prize, and the 2022 Laureate, Africa Food Prize. In January 2023, Reputation Poll International recognized him as one of the 100 most Reputable Africans. The African Genius Awards also honored him recently with an Outstanding African Achiever Award.
Director of the CGIAR GENDER Impact Platform
Nicoline de Haan is the Director of the CGIAR GENDER Impact Platform. She is also a senior researcher with more than 15 years of expertise in gender, rural livelihoods, agriculture and natural resource management. As Director of the GENDER Impact Platform, she brings her wealth of experience to bear on designing and leveraging solutions for women and youth in agriculture, with an aim of making equality and inclusion drivers of food systems transformation. She leads the Platform team and champions the wider community of CGIAR gender researchers, pursuing the Platform’s mandate to guide and strengthen CGIAR research to ensure its meaningful and lasting contributions to global targets for gender equality, youth and social inclusion. She also conceptualized and led the development of the gender equality research initiative (HER+) for the CGIAR. Prior to launching the Platform, de Haan served as the leader of the gender team at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and as leader of the gender, poverty and institutions portfolio under the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE). In both these appointments, she led work on increasing access to resources and finding equitable solutions for benefit sharing. In her previous position at the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), she led the global socioeconomic team on animal health, where her main responsibility was reducing the impact of animal diseases on the livelihoods of smallholders, especially women. She holds a MSc and an Ingenieurs title from Wageningen University in the Netherlands and a PhD in rural sociology from University of Missouri, Colombia, USA.
President, MeTL Group
Mohammed Dewji is a businessman, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and former politician. He serves as the President of MeTL Group, a Tanzanian conglomerate founded by his father in the 1970s. Mohammed is single-handedly responsible for increasing MeTL’s revenues from $30 million to over 2 billion between 1999 and 2022. Currently, MeTL group has investments in textiles, energy, petroleum, agriculture, insurance, mobile telephony, transport and logistics, trading, real estate, and food and beverages (FMCG). The group conducts business in 8 countries and employs over 34,800 people. To date, MeTL’s operations contribute ~3.3% of Tanzania’s GDP. Mohammed served as a Member of Parliament from 2005 – 2015 for his hometown of Singida. In 2022, Forbes listed him as the 15th richest person in Africa, with an estimated net worth of US$1.5 billion. Forbes also described him as the youngest billionaire on the continent for 6 consecutive years. Further, Mohammed was the first Tanzanian billionaire on the cover of Forbes Africa in 2013, and in 2015 was named Forbes Person of the Year. In 2021, Mohammed was again featured on the cover of Forbes Africa for its 10-year anniversary issue. That same year, South African president Cyril Ramaphosa appointed Mohammed to serve on the investment advisory council for the Republic of South Africa, a position Mohammed still holds. Beyond business, Mohammed has demonstrated an exemplary record of contributing to the well-being of Tanzania and beyond via the Mo Dewji Foundation, which he established in 2014. The foundation covers education, health, community development, water accessibility and gender empowerment. In 2022, Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business awarded Mohammed an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters for distinguished leadership in business and philanthropy. He also delivered the 2022 McDonough Graduation Commencement Address. In 2016, Mohammed joined the Giving Pledge – an initiative started by Warren Buffett and Bill Gates. This pledge aims to address society's most pressing problems by inviting the world's wealthiest to commit over half of their wealth to philanthropy. Mohammed is the first Tanzanian and one of few Africans to have made the pledge. Mohammed is also an investor in football, with a 49% stake in Simba Sports Club, the largest and most popular sports club in Tanzania. Since his USD$ 20 million investment 4 years ago, the club has made it to the quarterfinals of the African Champions league and is now ranked one of the top 10 clubs in the continent.
Chief Executive Officer of GrainPro
Jordan Dey is the Chief Executive Officer of GrainPro, a mission-driven company dedicated to reducing hunger and poverty globally through safely storing food. Dey has led a turn-around at GrainPro from 2019 until today, more than doubling sales and improving profitability while sharpening the company's focus on social impact. The 150-person company is the global market leader in post-harvest storage solutions, with a high-performing, diverse global team. Prior to GrainPro, Dey formerly served as a senior leader at the UN World Food Program and the US State Department. Dey has a Master’s degree from the Harvard Kennedy School and a BA from the University of California, Santa Cruz. He lives in Washington DC (USA) with his wife and son.
Emeritus Professor, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Prof. Roseanne Diab is Emeritus Professor in the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa. She currently chairs the Gender Advisory Committee of The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS). Prof Diab currently serves on the African Union High-Level Panel on Emerging Technologies. She was also special advisor to the global initiative, GenderInSITE, which was based in Trieste, Italy. She has been a Fulbright senior research scholar. She is the former Executive Officer of the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) and is a Member of ASSAf and is recognized for her research contributions in the field of Atmospheric Sciences, particularly air quality and climate change. Prof. Diab is a Fellow of TWAS, UKZN, the South African Geographical Society and the African Academy of Sciences.
Global Managing Director for Sustainable Food and Water
Michael Doane is the Global Managing Director for Food & Freshwater Systems for The Nature Conservancy (TNC). Michael leads a team of the organization’s foremost experts to scale up conservation outcomes across productively managed farming, ranching and agroforestry landscapes. Michael brings 20 years of relevant business and leadership experience to the role and holds a B.S. in Agribusiness and an M.S. in Agricultural Economics, both from Kansas State University. He has led high performing teams in the agribusiness and non-profit sectors across corporate strategy, business development, commercial sales and marketing, public policy and sustainability. In addition, he has played a catalytic leadership role in the development of multi- stakeholder sustainability programs such as the No-Till on the Plains, Soil Health Partnership, Collaboration for Forests and Agriculture, Field to Market Alliance and The Sustainability Consortium. Michael makes his home in Parkville, Missouri, with his wife, Julie, and their two children.
Technical Director, Brighthouse Consultancy and Training
James is a highly accomplished Cold Chain Expert, boasting an impressive 30-year career encompassing every facet of the cold chain and logistics industries. With a bachelor’s degree in supply chain management and certifications in refrigerated warehousing, emergency food management, and WFLO training for best practices in food safety, warehouse, logistics, and HACCP, James is a recognized authority in his field. Additionally, his SPIN Trainer certification equips him with a powerful sales training paradigm for offering high-value products and services. Currently serving as the Subject Matter Expert for cold chain in the Sultanate of Oman, James is also the President/CEO of Chelsea International Cold Solutions, and holds the esteemed position of Technical Director at Brighthouse Consultancy and Training Ltd. His unwavering commitment lies in assisting small and emerging markets with limited infrastructure, food safety knowledge, and operational efficiency in establishing robust cold chain systems. By preventing deterioration in the quality of distributed food and fostering global competitiveness, James endeavors to make a profound impact on these markets. Driven by a passion to prevent deterioration in the quality of food distributed to populations and foster global competitiveness, James tirelessly works towards building robust systems in underserved markets. His wealth of knowledge and experience make him an invaluable asset, ensuring the integrity of the Cold Chain while uplifting communities worldwide.
Chief Executive Officer, CABI
Daniel joined CABI as Chief Executive Officer in September 2020, following 25 years of experience in life sciences, including 13 years at senior management and board level in medical biotech, mainly in public companies. He has led CABI's strategic interactions with its 49 Member Countries, working with them to create the organization’s new three-year Medium-Term Strategy, which focuses on addressing the biggest challenges facing humanity, including poverty, hunger, climate change, gender inequality and biodiversity loss. Daniel is now driving forward its implementation.
Executive Director, Land O’Lakes Venture37
John leads Land O’Lakes Venture37, a 501(c)(3) non-profit founded in 1981 by Land O’Lakes, Inc. He assumed the role in January 2017 after leading the Land O'Lakes, Inc. U.S. Dairy Foods teams since 2008. Before joining Land O’Lakes, John led corporate marketing at American Medical Systems and spent 15 years in various marketing leadership roles at General Mills. He earned his bachelor’s degree and MBA from the University of Minnesota. John also serves on the Board of Directors for Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare, and ServeMinnesota.
Associate Professor of Zoology and Genetics at the National University of Sciences...
Dr. Loko Yêyinou Laura Estelle is an associate professor of Zoology and Genetics at the National University of Sciences, Technologies, Engineering and Mathematics (UNSTIM) of the Republic of Benin. She is the Director of the National High School of Applied Biosciences and Biotechnologies (ENSBBA) of this university and head of the Laboratory of Applied Zoology and Plant Health (ZASVE). She is laureate of the 2023 OWSD-Elsevier Foundation Award for Early-Career Women Scientists in the Developing World. She is a member of the Academy of Young Scientists of Benin (AJSB), young affiliated at the African Academy of Science (AAS)
General Secretary of the UMNAGRI (Union Maghrébine et Nord Africaine des Agriculteurs)
Vice President Farmer Solutions at OCP Africa
Mehdi Filali is the Vice President of Farmer Solutions at OCP Africa, where he spearheads the development of research and development (R&D) initiatives, farmer-centric programs, and innovative digital solutions. He is also responsible for establishing a comprehensive supply chain for input availability at the farm level. Leveraging OCP Africa's extensive network and expertise across the continent, Mehdi focuses on tailoring innovative solutions to address specific farmer needs and agro-ecological conditions. Starting his career at Accenture Paris in 2006, Mehdi's journey led him to become the Director of Strategy at a prominent Moroccan insurance company in 2010. In 2012, he assumed the role of Technical Advisor to the Minister of Energy, Mining, Water, and Environment of Morocco. In this capacity, he led strategic initiatives in the mining and hydrocarbons sectors, playing a pivotal role in shaping the New Mining Strategy and Code of the Kingdom. Transitioning to OCP Group, Mehdi Filali became the Head of Capex Planning in the Industrial Business Unit in 2015. From 2016 to 2020, he led OCP's activities in Ethiopia and the sub-region, ultimately holding the position of General Manager of OCP Ethiopia. In 2021, he was appointed as the Vice President of Farmer Solutions at OCP Africa. He holds an engineering degree from Arts et Métiers Paris (2006) and later earned an Executive Master of Science from HEC Paris in 2021. His diverse and accomplished career reflects his commitment to advancing agricultural solutions and fostering innovation in the industry.
Director of Agriculture and Agro-Industry at the African Development Bank
Dr. Martin Fregene is Director of Agriculture and Agro-Industry at the African Development Bank. He is a plant geneticist and molecular breeder with 27 years of experience in genetics, crop improvement and agricultural policy. Dr. Fregene developed the first molecular genetic map of cassava and started the first molecular breeding program of cassava. He began his career at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan, Nigeria, in 1991 and was a recipient of a Rockefeller Foundation post-doctoral fellowship on genetic mapping in 1993 at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) in Cali, Colombia. In 2008, he joined the BioCassava Plus project at the Danforth Center, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and rose to the position of Project Director. He was Chief Technical Adviser to the Minister of Agriculture in Nigeria 2012 - 2015. He joined the African Development Bank in 2017 as Adviser to the Vice President for Agriculture, Human and Social Capacity Development, becoming Director in January 2018.
Senior Partner, McKinsey’s Transformation (MT), Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EEMA)
Zak Gaibi is a Senior Partner and leader of McKinsey’s Transformation (MT) practice in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EEMA). Previously, Zak was an operating partner & COO of a large private equity concern ($20bn+ AUM) focused on tech investments and has held interim executive roles at several companies including COO, CMO, and CTO. At McKinsey, Zak works exclusively on large scale transformations across sectors and geographies – he has led 3 of the 10 largest transformations globally and worked across 30+ countries. Zak also serves as an advisor to several tech startups with a particular interest in those that leverage mobile data and Advanced Analytics, including those relevant to agriculture and mining clients. He holds a BSc from Cornell, and a MBA from Dartmouth.
COO and Co-Founder, Savanna Circuit Technologies
Emmastella Gakuo- the remarkable COO and Co-founder of Savanna Circuit, is a true visionary who envisions a world where post-harvest challenges are a thing of the past. Her unwavering commitment to strengthening food systems and ensuring energy access goes hand in hand, forging a path toward inclusive growth, economic empowerment, and resilience in underserved communities. With a remarkable ability to combine these vital elements, Emmastella, through her role at Savanna Circuit, is driving transformative change in the agricultural sector. Through her innovative approach and dedication, she is revolutionizing the way we address post-harvest losses and empower farmers. Recognized as a top 40under40 woman by Business Daily and an influential woman in tech by Avance Media, Emmastella's passion for technology and manufacturing fuels her mission to uplift Africa from poverty to power.
Associate Partner, Nairobi Office, McKinsey & Company
Carolyne Gathinji is an Associate Partner in the Nairobi office of McKinsey & Company and leads McKinsey’s Banking and Financial Services work in East Africa. Carolyne has been instrumental moving large clients to action, spearheading transformations and some of the biggest mergers in the banking sector in the last decade, across South, East and West Africa. She serves top tier banks – including several with large agricultural finance portfolios, Telcos, Foundations, Private Equity clients and governments on topics including strategy, financial inclusion, payments, mergers and integrations. Carolyne has been involved in finance-focused agricultural initiatives, including increasing financial access to Agricultural SMEs and advancing digital finance to farmers and pastoralists. Carolyne also leads the McKinsey FUEL Ignition Club in East Africa chapter that helps startups and investors accelerate their growth and impact. She has been a key contributor to several articles and podcasts on Financial Services, Payments, and Fintech, including Talking Banking Matters. Before joining McKinsey, Carolyne worked as an investment banker in New York. She holds BScs from MIT and an MBA from HBS.
Global Head of Seeds2B, Syngenta Foundation for Sustain able Agriculture
Tony is the Global Head of Seeds2B for The Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture (SFSA) based in Nairobi, Kenya. Seeds2B is SFSA’s seeds stream that focuses on helping smallholder farmers gain access to quality, climate-smart, and affordable seeds of improved varieties for the crops they need. Tony leads the strategy and long-term planning for Seeds2B in Africa and Asia, including exploring new institutional arrangements for scaling and developing new partnerships. He is also the Chief of Party for key seeds delivery initiatives being implemented by SFSA including the USAID funded Partnerships for Seed Technology Transfer in Africa (PASTTA) program, the BMGF funded Accelerated Varietal Improvement and Seed Delivery of Legumes and Cereals in Africa (AVISA) program and the OneCGIAR Seed Equal initiative.
Director Food Systems Coordination, IFAD
Nadine Gbossa started her career with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development in Geneva, and the United Nations Office for Project Services in Abidjan and New York. From 2004, she has held senior management positions with the United Nations Development Programme and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in Italy. As Country Director, Representative and Regional head for IFAD, Ms Gbossa worked in several African countries with vulnerable communities, governments, development partners and the private sector for inclusive growth. From 2016 to 2018, Ms. Gbossa headed the Global Partnerships and Policies Division in the Development Co- operation Directorate of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris leading the OECD’s development cooperation work. In August 2018, she was appointed as Representative for IFAD in Nigeria, managing the largest country programme in the region. Subsequently, IFAD appointed her Director for the West and Central Africa region leading one of IFAD’s largest investment divisions with responsibility for the fund’s investments in 24 countries in the region. In 2021, Nadine was appointed Director for Food Systems Coordination in IFAD. IFAD was designated by the Office of the United Nations Secretary General to lead the financing agenda for food systems transformation in support of the newly established United Nations Food Systems Coordination Hub. In addition to her role as Food systems Director, Nadine was also appointed Chief of the Means of Implementation for the UN Food System Coordination Hub, leading the financing agenda for food systems transformation on behalf of IFAD.
CEO, AgriTech Analytics
Maryanne Gichanga is the CEO and Co-founder of AgriTech Analytics, a visionary company that harnesses the power of AI-powered satellite data analytics and crop and soil IoT solar-powered sensors. Their groundbreaking approach aims to combat and reverse soil degradation, tackle crop pests and diseases, and ultimately contribute to ending hunger in Africa. In 2022, Maryanne was a winner of the Youth Adaptation Solutions Challenge organized by the Global Center on Adaptation, the African Development Bank, and Climate Investment Funds. Her dedication to sustainable agriculture and technology-driven solutions has earned her recognition as a driving force in the agricultural innovation space.
Vice President of Communications, Heifer International
Peter Goldstein joined Heifer International in fall 2022 with 15 years of experience in the global development sector across strategic communications, resource mobilization, program management and partnerships. Prior to joining Heifer, Peter led strategic communications at HarvestPlus, a flagship program of the CGIAR that develops and promotes nutrient-enriched staple crops for smallholder farming households worldwide. His has also worked at organizations active in gender equality, reproductive health, economic empowerment and financial inclusion. Previously, Peter was a journalist over two decades in Europe and the U.S., including reporting and editorial positions at the Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones Newswires and Kiplinger. He holds a master’s degree in African Studies and International Economics from the Johns Hopkins Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and a bachelor’s degree in Politics from the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Director of the FarmFit Intelligence Center
Carolijn Gommans is Director of the FarmFit Intelligence Center. IDH FarmFit is launching the highly anticipated FarmFit Insights Hub. The Farmfit Insights Hub serves to promote a rigorous understanding of how smallholder inclusive business models can deliver positive outcomes for businesses and the farmers with whom they work. Carolijn is a purpose-driven and energetic leader with over 25 years of experience in the development sector. As an economist, she is dedicated to enabling the growth of people, companies, and systems, with a focus on inclusive smallholder markets that benefit farmers, women, and youth while considering climate change. Throughout her career, Carolijn has held various positions in private companies, financial nstitutions, and donor organizations including the Challenge Fund for Youth Employment, Palladium Zanaco Pie. and Hivos Foundation, where she has gained expertise in finance, strategy development, risk analysis, and stakeholder management. With a Master's degree in Economics, specializing in Development Economics, from Erasmus University Rotterdam, Carolijn combines her academic knowledge with practical insights to drive positive change. She is an accomplished speaker and serves on various boards, including Stichting Cardano Development and Agri3's Technical Assistance Fund.
Senior Director of the Agricultural Economic Development division in the United States Department of Agriculture, Foreign Agricultural Service (USDA FAS)
Otto Gonzalez is the Senior Director of the Agricultural Economic Development division in the United States Department of Agriculture, Foreign Agricultural Service (USDA FAS). His division applies technical expertise from across USDA to cooperate with or assist ministries of agriculture, other host-country institutions, and regional organizations to build capacity and improve key enabling conditions needed for effective agricultural development, food security, and trade. Gonzalez has been with USDA for over 25 years and has developed and led international technical cooperation activities with a variety of countries to build capacity in natural resource management and agriculture. Gonzalez has a Ph.D. in Natural Resources and Environment from the University of Michigan.
Rose Goslinga is the President of Pula, a company that is radically restructuring agricultural insurance and has been recently named a 2022 #WEF Technology Pioneer. Pula uses technology to scale climate insurance to smallholder farmers in emerging markets, and works in 23 markets across Africa, Europe and Asia. Since its founding in 2015, the company has provided crop and livestock insurance cover to over 5 million smallholder farmers through partnerships with governments, input providers, and credit lenders. Rose Goslinga holds an MSc in Political Economy of Development from the University of London where she graduated with first class honours and a BSc in Business and Economics. Rose has worked in Agriculture and insurance for the last 15 years. She has extensive experience in agriculture and agriculture insurance; deep knowledge of and ability to work with the public sector, non-profit/social enterprises and commercial sectors. She is an energetic social entrepreneur that thrives in fast-paced environments where innovation is key. She is a Rainer Arnhold Fellow and Social Innovation Fellow from Poptech and TED speaker. Rose’s work in agriculture insurance has been recognised through several international awards, including the Financial Times/IFC Award for Sustainable Finance, InsureTech 3.0, and the Singapore Fintech Festival.
Director General (Secretary General and CEO), CIMMYT
Bram Govaerts is Director General (Secretary General and CEO), of CIMMYT. Specializing in bioscience engineering and soil science, Govaerts is renowned for pioneering, implementing, and inspiring transformational changes for farmers and consumers. Committed to meeting sustainable development challenges in agri-food systems, he brings together multi-disciplinary teams to stimulate change through multi-stakeholder and cross-sectoral strategies. His leadership in scientific and development initiatives has inspired novel collaborations and resulted in improved nutrition, nature conservation, and national and international resilience and food security. Govaerts has defined an integrated approach toward excellence in science for impact, carried out through partnerships emphasizing on capacity building. He is known for his energy, vision, and innovation in food products and production especially for small, rural farms. He integrates academic research with successful practices developed by real-world organizations, utilizing 21st-century social networking systems to move forward in his efforts. His work is geared toward transforming subsistence agriculture and failed farming systems into productive and sustainable production units. He is considered to be a major innovator in the agro-sustainability movement, embracing modern practices while integrating traditional farmer knowledge and efforts worldwide as a means to influence and guide the future of farming. These efforts are recognized as critical to rural livelihoods, food safety, nutrition, nature conservation, and regional and national security. Together with a group of scientists, trainers, extension agents, collaborative farmers and communications and technology specialists, Govaerts developed a vision inspired by Norman Borlaug’s motto “Take it to the Farmer” combining the right seed, with the right conservation agriculture production practice embedded in an integrated market while recognizing and integrating farmer knowledge. Govaerts has co-authored over 90 peer-reviewed publications. He is a member of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network and an A.D. White Professor-at-Large at Cornell University. Govaerts is independent board member of Grupo CERES and comprised subsidiaries. He received the Norman Borlaug Field Award in 2014 from the World Food Prize Foundation. In 2020, Govaerts was elected as Fellow by The American Society of Agronomy (ASA) for his outstanding contributions to the field of agronomy. He holds a Ph.D. in Bioscience Engineering – Soil Science; a master’s degree in Soil Conservation and Tropical Agriculture; and a bachelor’s degree in Bioscience Engineering, all from Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium.
Founder & President, CIITTA (International Center for Innovation and Agricultural Technology Transfer)
Engineer, postgraduate in economics and marketing, with outstanding performance in international projects by Fundação Getúlio Vargas (FGV), the 3rd largest Think Tank in the world. He has extensive experience in developing and structuring food security projects, with a focus on developing strategies, business models, financial structuring, and fundraising. He has actively participated in projects related to agriculture, the environment and regional development, both in Brazil and in several countries on the African continent and in Latin America. He performed leadership roles in multidisciplinary management teams, developing work in conjunction with public and private institutions, such as: Inter-American Development Bank, US Secretary of State, Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Organizations of American States, Islamic Bank of Development (IsDB), UK Export Finance, World Bank, Brazilian Development Bank, Ministry of the Environment, Ministry of Agriculture of Brazil, among others. Under his leadership, a work team was awarded the "Best Solution Award-Global South- South Development Expo 2012 (Vienna)", granted by the UN on the recommendation of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). He is also the founder of CIITTA (International Center for Innovation and Agricultural Technology Transfer), which brings together internationally renowned public and private institutions with a high degree of knowledge in tropical agriculture, such as: Embrapa, Emater, Epamig, IFTM, ABCZ, among others. He is currently actively collaborating in the development of strategies for bioeconomy projects in the World Bank's "Sustainable Landscapes of the Amazon (GEFASL2 Fund)" program, in regenerative agriculture projects in Nigeria (Green Imperative - with total resources of approximately US$ 1.2 billion), among other projects on the African continent.
Country Director for the Tanzania programme and the acting Regional Director post responsible for East and Central African country programmes, TradeMark Africa (TMA)
Monica Hangi is an innovative thinker and a very knowledgeable trade and development expert with 15 years of experience in strategic leadership & governance, planning and implementation of trade facilitation initiatives in the East African region, and delivering revolutionary solutions in partnership with agencies from the public and private sectors. A results-driven individual with a strong delivery record; experienced in strategic networking, fundraising, and donor and stakeholder management. Currently working with TradeMark Africa (TMA), an aid-for-trade organisation that supports growth and prosperity in Africa through increased trade, as the Country Director for the Tanzania programme and the acting Regional Director post responsible for East and Central African country programmes. A dynamic leader with experience in strategy development, team management, and managing political dynamics and engagements for robust programming and delivery. Also, very instrumental towards informed decision-making with strong problem-solving skills. Previously worked as a Programme Manager at the Society for International Development (SID), Tanzania; and as a Research Fellow and Head of the Trade, Regional Integration and Globalisation Unit at the Economic and Social Research Foundation (ESRF) for four years.
Africa Program Director, International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT)
Rebbie Harawa is a Malawi national and currently works for the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) as Africa Program Director. Rebbie has over 15 years of strategic leadership R4D in international organizations. Before joining ICRISAT, she worked for the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) as a Head of the Soil Fertility and Fertilizer Systems Program in Nairobi, Kenya. Previous positions include Country Team Leader and Science Coordinator for UNDP, Millennium Villages Project in Malawi, and Adjunct Associate Research Scholar (part-time) for Global Health and Economic Development at Columbia University. Rebbie has a demonstrated track record of applying scientifically proven agricultural technologies and innovations that enable agri-food systems to produce nutritious food, increase household resilience, and conserve natural resources. Her research areas of interest include soil health, agronomy, resilient farm and food systems, and climate change adaptation and mitigation. She holds a Ph.D. in Soil Science from Cornell University, New York, USA.
Group Director, Technical Impact and Innovation; Land O’Lakes Venture37
Dai Harvey embarked on his career with Land O’Lakes Venture37 in 2004, when he took a project-based technical role in his home country of Zambia. This role focused on spurring private sector involvement in Zambia’s dairy industry. Mr. Harvey has had a variety of roles within Venture37 providing technical and managerial oversight for a variety of agricultural projects across East and Southern Africa and the Caucuses. He has lived in various Southern African countries including Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Malawi, and he has worked in over 45 countries worldwide. Now based in the United Kingdom, he still supports his family farm in Zambia — helping out with his brothers’ dryland crops, livestock, and tourism operations. Mr. Harvey is passionate about improving access to safe, nutritious food and ensuring that farmers capture more value from their work. He is also passionate about Jersey cattle, and how best to feed them!
Mwanakhamis Ramadhan Hassan is a female farmer living in the Unguja-Island in Zanzibar. She is a beneficiary of the AIDI Project. With over three years of experience, Mwanakhamis has been actively involved in horticulture with close support from WorldVeg and is a key player in the Organic farming community in Zanzibar. She has also actively participated in the AIDI project, taking advantage of its resources, training programs, and innovative technologies to enhance horticultural practices. Through the AIDI project, Mwanahamis, together with her youth group Zanzibar Organic Herbs (ZOH), comprising 18 youth members, has adopted cutting-edge horticultural practices, such as access to good quality seeds of vegetables, herbs, and spices, training on seedlings production and processing into value-added products as well as linked to local markets. Mwanahamis has been instrumental in sharing her knowledge and experiences gained from the AIDI project with fellow youth farmers, thus contributing to the overall growth and development of the horticulture sector in Zanzibar.
Senior Director, CGIAR
Simon Heck is Senior Director, CGIAR, and was appointed Director General of the International Potato Center (CIP) in February 2023. Prior to this appointment, he led CIP’s research and development projects portfolio designed to intensify, diversify and strengthen the resilience of agri-food systems with sweetpotato-related technologies. He is responsible for setting priorities that respond to changing country, regional and global demands and that contribute to CI) and CGIAR long-term strategic objectives and goals. He joined CIP in 2012 as Deputy Program Manager for Sweetpotato in Africa where he led the regional Scaling-Up Sweetpotato through Agriculture and Nutrition (SUSTAIN) project in 2013 and the Sweetpotato Program in 2014. He previously worked with the WorldFish Center, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID). An anthropologist by training, Simon has extensive experience leading research and development projects in agriculture, aquatic resources, and environmental management. He has been chair of the Agro-Enterprise Learning Alliance for Eastern and Southern Africa and has contributed to policy and strategy development in several regional and national institutions in Africa. His disciplinary expertise is in social science, and he has contributed to CGIAR research on resilience of social and ecological systems, food security, social development indicators, land tenure, and innovation systems. He has a PhD in Social Anthropology from Boston University.
Director of the Agriculture Service, International Fertilizer Association (IFA)
Patrick Heffer joined the International Fertilizer Association (IFA) in Paris in 2002 as Director of the Agriculture Service. In this capacity, he coordinated IFA’s global activities on fertilizer use, including agronomic, market and policy issues. From May 2020 to January 2021, he acted as Interim Director General of the Association, before becoming Deputy Director General. Patrick’s current duties include general management of the Association, member relations, business development, science & agronomy, plant nutrition technologies & innovation, regional strategy, and management of projects. At the regional level, Patrick leads IFA’s Africa programme. Before joining IFA, Patrick spent 15 years with the seed industry, including five years with the International Seed Federation, and two years with FAO’s Seed and Plant Genetic Resources Service. He is on the Steering Committee of the Global Partnership on Nutrient Management (since 2013). He served on the Board of the Africa Fertilizer & Agribusiness Partnership (2011-19), and was Co-Coordinator of the Fertilizer Working Group of the UN Global Crisis Response Group (2022). He has two M.Sc. degrees, in agronomy and in plant breeding.
Regional Director of the West and Central Africa (WCA) Division of IFAD
Bernard Hien is the Regional Director of the West and Central Africa (WCA) Division of IFAD, responsible for managing both the human and financial resources of the division and serving on IFAD’s corporate wide senior management team. He provides strategic vision, leadership, and guidance in policy development and advice, country programme development and management, management of resources and representation. Through an understanding of the countries' needs and IFAD’s potential to address them, Bernard leads the formulation of country strategies and guides the development and management of effective operations and knowledge work from planning, implementation, supervision and evaluation. He develops and maintains high-level partnerships with counterparts, including the government, farmers’ organizations and the private sector. Before joining the Fund in 2011, Bernard worked as Team Leader at the Poverty Reduction and Environment Unit at UNDP Togo where he managed a portfolio of 13 projects and programmes in the areas of integrated rural development, MDGs, water, energy, climate change and disaster risk reduction. Earlier positions included Program Specialist with UNDP and World Bank projects in Burkina Faso, and Research Associate with the National Institute of Agricultural & Environmental Research in Burkina Faso. Bernard holds a rural development engineering degree from the Polytechnic University of Bobo (Burkina Faso), a Master of Sciences in Natural Resources Management from South Dakota State University (USA), which he also served as PhD Research Associate. He is certified in Monitoring and Evaluation (Brighton, UK), in leadership and sustainable development from the University of California (Berkeley, CA, USA) and in management and leadership from Harvard University (Cambridge, MA, USA).
Vice President, Community Pass Market Development, Sub Saharan Africa, Mastercard
Daniel Huba is the Community Pass Market Development Lead for Sub Saharan Africa, Humanitarian and Development division of Mastercard. Community Pass is a social enterprise within Mastercard, focused on driving human impact and commercial results. Our team innovates across a number of dimensions – technology, product, partnerships, and business model – to serve marginalized communities and those living in remote, disconnected environments all over the world. We focus on a digital infrastructure that connects individuals to critical services – such as healthcare, education, humanitarian aid, agricultural marketplaces, and micro-commerce. As the Market lead, Daniel oversees the Community Pass Platform market development; stakeholder and customer management; Solution implementation in Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Zambia, Nigeria and Ghana. He has been in this role for the last 3 years and was formerly the Director for Digital Agriculture at the Mastercard Labs for Financial Services, Nairobi for 3 years. Prior to starting his career at Mastercard, Daniel gained over 15 years’ experience working in the banking sector, as a Relationship Manager for SME banking; University as a lecturer and Technical Advisor on Micro and Small Enterprise management. Non-Governmental Organization as the Program Manager for Agriculture Digital inclusion. Mobile Telecommunication sector, rolling our mobile technology products in Agriculture, Education and Health verticals in East and Southern Africa. Payment Technology Industry driving scale of digital solutions for emerging economies for rural folks. Daniel holds a Master of Business Administration in Small and Medium Enterprise (SMEs) Development from Leipzig University, Germany. He also holds a Bachelor of Education Degree in Business Studies from Kenyatta University, Kenya. He has specialty trainings on Product Development; Innovation Management; Business Development, Leadership and Project Management Daniel is married to Patricia and is a father to 3 wonderful children Innocent, Kimberly and Tanisha.
Country Director – Nigeria, Heifer International
Rufus Idris has more than 2 decades of experience moving smallholder farmers out of poverty in Africa and the United States. He is the Nigeria Country Director for Heifer International, leading a mission to end hunger and poverty in Nigeria through innovative programs that are capable of transforming Nigeria’s agricultural sector, and help to close the living income gaps for millions of smallholder farmers. Prior to joining Heifer International, Rufus’ experience span across leading innovative international development organizations and programs in agribusiness, agricultural innovations and new technologies, food security, access to innovative finance, youth and women empowerment, and policy reforms. During period which he served in capacities such as Executive Director, Chief/Deputy Chief of Party, Program Director, Program Portfolio Manager, and as Technical Advisor to a State Governor. He was the Deputy Chief of Party for the USAID Feed the Future Nigeria Agribusiness Investment Activity, a five-year program aimed at strengthening the enabling environment for agribusiness finance and investment in Nigeria. He was the Program Director for the UK Department for International Development funded program “Promoting Learning in Agribusiness using New Technologies (PLANT)” where he led TechnoServe's collaboration with DFID (now FCDO) and the British Council, to develop a more competitive agriculture sector in Nigeria by increasing innovation and uptake of technology within the sector. Also, he was the Portfolio Manager for a DFID – DAI Market Development Program in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria, during which he facilitated economic opportunities in aspirational sectors such as agribusiness, ICT, renewable energy, and entertainment that led to dignified work and living incomes for young return migrants, potential victims of human trafficking and vulnerable households. Rufus holds a Master of Science in Community Economic Development from Southern New Hampshire University (Manchester, NH), Executive Education in Performance Measurement for Effective Management of Non-profit Organizations from Harvard University (Cambridge, MA), Bachelor’s degree in Biology from La Roche University (Pittsburgh, PA), and a Diploma in Fisheries Technology from Federal College of Fisheries and Marine Technology (Lagos, Nigeria).
Senior Vice President, Africa Programs, Heifer International
Adesuwa Ifedi serves as Africa's Senior Vice President for Heifer International where she works to end hunger and poverty whilst caring for the earth. A development and fundraising expert, Adesuwa has also developed partnerships that have pulled together millions of dollars from the public and private sector to support transformational programs at scale in underserved communities in Africa. She also initiated and led the largest technology-enabled education transformation program in Nigeria which is currently serving over 800,000 at-risk children in public schools. Adesuwa Ifedi has had a rich career spanning over 25 years across the Non-profit, Education, Finance, Research and Entrepreneurship sectors. She has worked to support several global NGOs and social enterprises find local relevance and customize their business model to meet the demand for services in Africa. Passionate about making markets work for the poor, she has focused on building systems and structures that enable social enterprises to thrive and deliver efficient and effective results at the bottom of the pyramid, with limited resources. Mrs Ifedi has also worked extensively as a business consultant supporting hundreds of start-ups having also managed the first-ever business incubator in Nigeria. A great communicator and networking expert, Mrs Ifedi has built consensus in very hostile situations particularly between public and private sector players. Driven by her passion for development in Africa, she has spent the last 18 years making markets work for low-income families by working to provide access to education, finance and life skills. She has a background in Economics and Statistics, an MBA from Lagos Business School and a Postgraduate in Entrepreneurship from Boston University. She is also a Full Bright Scholar and A Hubert Humphrey fellow from Boston University where she focused on innovation that drives development in Africa.
Country Project Manager, Kenya Nutrition in City Ecosystems
Elizabeth Imbo is currently the Country project manager- Nutrition In City Ecosystems (NICE) in Kenya, working with Syngenta foundation East Africa. Elizabeth is a trained and registered nutritionist has over 10 years’ experience in implementing Food security, nutrition, and livelihoods projects across Kenya, leading in the inclusion of women, youth and social transformation agenda. She is currently engaged in leading the NICE project by strengthening the food systems transformation agenda in western Kenya, incentivizing production through value chains and market systems approach and stimulating demand and uptake of nutritious foods through SBCC approaches.
Co-founder and the Chief Executive Officer at Healthy Seaweed Co. Limited
Nancy Iraba is an Award Winning Marine Scientist (Msc), Co-founder and the Chief Executive Officer at Healthy Seaweed Co. Limited (™️ Seaweed Cafe), a social enterprise that innovates, processes and produces diverse high quality, nutritious and affordable seaweed-based food products while using an inclusive value chain to provide a consistent market to women seaweed farmers in Tanzania and ensure seaweed benefits go all the way down to the farmer. Nancy’s industry has partnered with 130 women seaweed farmers in Zanzibar and Kilwa who provide her industry with 17 tonnes of seaweed as raw material each year and the industry provides them with technical skills in climate resilient seaweed farming to increase seaweed production. Her venture's vision is to promote a healthy and sustainable lifestyle through seaweed superfoods. Since the company started in 2020, It has won the “Social Impact Award'' during Africa Green Revolution Conference in 2022 as one of the youth-led solutions propelling Africa forward in the agri-entrepreneurship sector while being environmentally and socially conscious (https://vc4a.com/ventures/healthy-seaweed-co-limited-seaweed-cafe/), it was among top 10 shortlisted ventures under 2022 World Ocean Initiative challenge for promoting sustainable ocean economy, and have received $25,000 from United States African Development Foundation (USADF) and $50,000 from Safe Seaweed Coalition to support its vision. Seaweed Cafe is a recent grand winner for the 2023 Ocean Innovation AFRICA and Top Innovator of the Great Blue Wall Challenge, an initiative under the World Economic Forum. Through Her company, Nancy has been named amongst Top 50 women in African Development by Donors of Africa and has been recently been appointed by the University of Dar es Salaam to be a member for the industry advisory committee for the marine science cluster where she will be key in shaping the university curricula to meet labor market needs in the sector of life below water.
Regional Director of the West and Central Africa (WCA) Division of IFAD
Hadija is committed to making agricultural production a sustainable and proﬁtable business through empowering smallholder farmers to adapt global best practices. She is founder and Managing Director of GBRI/EATFRESH, and founder and CEO of Agriedo Ltd. GBRI offers training and focuses on production, value addition, cold storage and marketing of horticultural produce, working with thousands of smallholders outgrowers and suppliers of fresh produce. GBRI won best Tanzania agribusiness company of the year 2020, and exports to Europe and India. Agriedo Ltd. is an agriculture service company that develops technologies across the value chain and runs an incubation hub for youth and smallholder farmers. Hadija received the Women’s Award of Excellence in the Agribusiness Sector 2018, Invest to Impact Award 2019, Feed the Future GroWe award 2021 for Sub Saharan Africa, and Top 50 Women in Management Africa (WIMA) 2021.
Water Systems Director for Growth and Inclusion, IWMI/CGIAR and Country Coordinator Zambia, AICCRA
Dr Inga Jacobs-Mata has over 15 years of experience successfully managing transdisciplinary teams in water security and multi-level environmental governance. Since joining IWMI in 2019 as Country Representative for South Africa and Regional Representative for Southern Africa, she leads IWMI’s portfolio in Southern Africa, CGIAR’s Ukama Ustawi Regional Integrated Initiative for East and Southern Africa, the AICCRA Zambia project, IWMI’s involvement in AID-I and is also CGIAR Country Convenor for South Africa. As of 1 June 2023, Inga has been appointed as IWMI/CGIAR Water Systems Director for Growth and Inclusion and will continue her work in East and Southern Africa. Prior to joining IWMI she was the research group leader of the integrated water solutions group at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), and the Executive Manager for Business Development, Marketing and Communications at the Water Research Commission in South Africa. Inga earned her PhD in International Relations from St-Andrews University, Scotland and her Masters in International Relations and Political Science from Stellenbosch University (South Africa).
Programme Manager Agricultural Livelihoods at the IKEA Foundation
Nico Janssen is Programme Manager Agricultural Livelihoods at the IKEA Foundation. Nico joined the IKEA Foundation in 2019 after working for two decades in developing countries in smallholder-based systems. Nico has lived and worked in Tanzania, Cambodia, Vietnam and Burkina Faso. This gives him a wealth of experience and insights which he is now using as a funder at IKEA Foundation. Nico graduated from Wageningen University where he studied Tropical Land Use.
Member of Parliament for Wa East Constituency, Ghana
Dr. Godfred Seidu Jasaw is currently the member of parliament for Wa East constituency. He is a Deputy Ranking member of the Food, Agriculture and Cocoa affairs committee and a member of the Appointments Committee. Dr. Jasaw is a Social Policy and Sustainability Science expert with over a decade work experience in and out of Ghana. He is an alumnus of the London School of Economics & Political Science and a recent graduate of the United Nations University- Tokyo. He holds a PhD in Sustainability Science and a master’s degree in Social Policy Planning in Developing Countries. He served as a commission member at the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC, 2010-2014) that developed amongst others, the Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda I & II for the Government of Ghana. Dr. Jasaw was senior lecturer at the University for Development Studies (UDS) for over a decade with several of his students in high places. He has produced several peer reviewed academic journal articles and policy briefs. He has won a couple of international collaborative research grants and has undertaken several community development interventions aimed at influencing policy and building resilience in several communities in Ghana. He has provided several consultancy services to District Assemblies, NGOs, International Development Partners such as JICA, USAID, GIZ and DFID. His current interest is in providing cutting edge research output to support social policies in the context of natural resources, climate & ecosystem change and crop value chains.
Dairy Specialist, DNA-BILD project; Land O’Lakes Venture37
Lightness Justine is a community development officer with over ten years of experience working with local and international NGOs on development programs across Tanzania, with a focus on gender and dairy. She is currently working with Land O’Lakes Venture37 as a dairy specialist for the Dairy Nourishes Africa – Building Inclusive Livelihoods Through Dairy (DNA-BILD) project, where she is providing technical and leadership support to extension officers that train smallholder dairy farmers. Previously, Ms. Justine worked on Heifer’s EADD project and the Venture37-implemented Public Private Partnerships for AI Delivery (PAID) project as a gender and training coordinator. During this time, she led efforts to minimize barriers to female- and youth-participation – which helped improve the livelihoods and profits of women and young people. Ms. Justine holds a Master’s degree in Development Policy and an advanced diploma in Community Development.
Director, African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) program, CIFOR-ICRAF
Dr. Susan Kaaria is Director, African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) program hosted by CIFOR-ICRAF. AWARD invests in African scientists and institutions to deliver innovative, sustainable, and gender-responsive agricultural research and innovation. Prior to joining AWARD, Dr. Kaaria served as the Team Leader for Gender at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), where she provided strategic leadership to the Organization’s technical work on gender which aimed to support governments and other stakeholders to integrate gender in agricultural policies, programmes and strategies. Dr Kaaria has previously worked as Program Officer, Ford Foundation Office for Eastern Africa, Nairobi, Kenya, managing a diverse portfolio of grants aimed at expanding livelihood opportunities for poor rural households. She has also worked as a Senior Scientist at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), where she led a program entitled, “Enabling Rural Innovation”, implemented in Latin America and Eastern and Southern Africa. She holds a PhD in Natural Resource Economics from the University of Minnesota and a Master’s Degree in Agricultural Economics from Iowa State University, USA and a Bachelor’s Degree in Agriculture from the University of Eastern Africa in Kenya.
Bureau for Food And Agricultural Policy (Bfap) And University Of Stellenbosch, South Africa
Mmatlou is a senior analyst and executive director at the Bureau for Food and Agricultural Policy (BFAP) in South Africa. He is also a research fellow at Stellenbosch University, in South Africa. He was previously with the University of Pretoria as a Senior Lecturer. Mmatlou completed a PhD in Agricultural Economics at the University of Pretoria and MSc from Oklahoma State University, USA. His research areas include international trade, agricultural policy analysis and climate change issues affecting agriculture. He has contributed to several national policy plans, programmes and studies; worked widely on African and continental regional programmes including, the Southern African Development Community (SADC), economic partnership agreements (EPA) with the European Union (EU), African Union Commission (AUC) and others.
Founder of Wood Valley Organics
Katengwa Juliana is the Founder of Wood Valley Organics, a mixed farming enterprise piloting small scale agro ecological farming systems in production of wholesome rich foods to fight malnutrition, stunting and unhealthy lifestyles in Rwanda. A 2nd Career Farmer, with extensive experience in policy formulation and analysis at national and Pan African levels, project planning and analysis, farm business planning, consultant and researcher on issues related to gender and development, animal health and production.
Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning Manager, DNA-BILD & TI3P projects; Land O’Lakes Venture37
Consolata Kavishe is a Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning (MEL) expert with Land O’Lakes Venture37. She has more than seven years of experience in dairy value chain and data management. She is currently the MEL manager for the SIDA-funded Dairy Nourishes Africa – Building Inclusive Livelihoods Through Dairy (DNA – BILD) project and the Gates-funded Tanzania Inclusive Processor-Producer Partnerships in Dairy (TI3P) project in Tanzania. In this role, Ms. Kavishe ensures the projects are collecting and reporting inclusive data from project participants to inform project management and evidence-based decisions. Prior to joining Land O’Lakes Venture37, Ms. Kavishe led surveys and project research for a project in Tanzania implemented by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI). She holds Master of Science in Agricultural and Applied Economics from Egerton University.
Head of Policy, Advocacy and Food Systems at AGRA
Boaz Blackie Keizire is the Head of Policy, Advocacy and Food Systems at AGRA. He also Heads the Africa Food Prize Secretariat. Boaz holds Master of Science Degree in Agricultural Economics from University of Sussex UK, a BSc in Economics from Makerere University and a Diploma in Fisheries Policy, Planning and Management from United Nations University, Iceland. Boaz has over 15 years working in the areas of Agriculture and Natural Resource Policy, Planning and Analysis and Rural Development. He is a Food Systems Champion and a 2017 Fellow for the Aspen New Voices Fellowship Boaz Keizire, a Ugandan national, is an expert in agriculture and natural resource policy issues, planning, analyses as well as rural development. He has a deep understanding of what it takes to strengthen and support African-led institutions by sustaining a bold agenda for agri-food systems. Boaz used his extensive national and regional networks and experiences to translate and influence positive actions at continental level by raising the profile of the African Union Commission to mobilize the global community and African Member States towards agricultural transformation through CAADP. Specifically, Boaz has been instrumental in using country specific models and examples to change the quality of leadership of CAADP provided by the African Union Commission.
Deputy Director of Agricultural Development in Africa at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Obai is Deputy Director, Agricultural Development - Africa at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation where he focuses on building effective country-led systems that deliver demand-driven products, services, & opportunities benefiting small scale producers at scale. He enjoys over 25 years of experience working with private and developments sectors. Before joining the foundation, he held several management positions in leading animal health companies, serving in a range of technical, regulatory, and commercial roles focusing on developing business model relevant for emerging markets. Originally from Sudan, Obai qualified as a veterinarian from the University of Khartoum. He also lived in the Netherlands where he obtained his MSc degree in Veterinary Epidemiology and Animal Health Economics from the Utrecht University and in France where he obtained an Executive MBA (social business major) from the HEC Paris Business School.
Director in the Food Initiative at The Rockefeller Foundation
Betty Kibaara is a Director in the Food Initiative at The Rockefeller Foundation, Africa Regional Office. At the Foundation, Betty leads the Foundations investments in transforming food systems. These include increasing access to nutritious foods through institutional procurement. She is also advancing investments in regenerative agriculture through development of the frass fertilizers from insects such as the black soldier fly. She holds a Master of Science degree in Agricultural and Resource Economics, Colorado State University, USA and a Bachelor of Science in Agribusiness Management, Egerton University, Kenya.
Founder and CEO of Farmer Lifeline Technologies
Esther is a 27-year-old leader and a trailblazer in the Climate Agritech space, the founder and CEO of Farmer Lifeline Technologies, disrupting Africa’s agricultural sector using AI to end hunger and poverty among marginalized smallholder farming communities in the Global South. Esther set out on the journey of transforming marginalized communities from personal experience, having grown up in a farming community on the famous slopes of the Aberdare mountains and experiencing first hand poverty and hunger emanating from losses from crop pests and crop diseases. Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a qualification in Software Engineering, Esther invented a proprietary technological device that utilizes AI and Machine Learning to place marginalized farming communities ahead of crop pests and pathogens/diseases and empower them to take action towards climate change.
Professor of Human Nutrition in the Department of Human Nutrition and Consumer Sciences at Sokoine University of Agriculture
Joyce Kinabo is a Professor of Human Nutrition in the Department of Human Nutrition and Consumer Sciences at Sokoine University of Agriculture in Morogoro, Tanzania. Trained in Agriculture, Food Science and Nutrition Physiology; she has been actively involved in community nutrition research focusing on improving and enhancing the capacity of communities to identify and formulate appropriate and unique nutrition interventions to solve their unique nutritional problems. Other research has included, “From Soil Elements to Food Nutrients: Improving Nutrient Quality of Crops through Agriculture; “Improving Nutrition Outcomes through Optimised Agriculture Investments”. Joyce has served/is serving in a number of agriculture, food, and nutrition committees locally, continentally and globally. She has analysed Tanzanian policies in relation to nutrition including policy effectiveness of the Agriculture Sector Development Programme II and the National Multisectoral Nutrition Action Plan I.
Research Director, Regional Network of Agricultural Policy Research Institutes (ReNAPRI)
Lilian is a Research Director at the Regional Network of Agricultural Policy Research Institutes (ReNAPRI). She holds a PhD in Agricultural Economics and is an alumnus of AWARD. With over sixteen years of experience, she specializes in research on agriculture and food systems in Kenya and the region. Lilian has played a crucial role in research, advocacy, and policy development in the agricultural sector. She has contributed to the formulation of policy documents such as the Agricultural Sector Transformation and Growth Strategy, Agriculture Policy, National Agriculture Research Systems Policy, and Agriculture Sector Gender Policy in Kenya. Her efforts have focused on improving the policy environment at both national and county levels. Lilian has been involved in initiatives like functional analysis of the agriculture sector, regulatory impact assessments, and capacity building on policy and strategy formulation. Additionally, she is a co-trainer on gender issues in the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Food Security Research, Capacity, and Influence. Lilian has engaged with various partners and researchers at national, continental, and global levels. She has participated in high-level policy dialogues and conferences, speaking on topics such as gender equality, climate change, and food security. Her research and expertise cover a wide range of issues, including agrifood system transformation, food and nutrition security, climate change, value chain analytics, and gender analysis. Lilian is committed to contributing to policies and investment choices that promote the transformation of agri-food systems in Africa.
Founder of Eastern Africa Farmers Federation (EAFF)
Kiriro is the founder of Eastern Africa Farmers Federation (EAFF). He is also founder and board member of the Pan-African Farmers Organization (PAFO). He is also a member of CAADP-partnership committee and up to 2013 has been a board member of ASARECA. Mr Kiriro has been involved in farmer organization’s leadership for the last twelve years focusing on farmer organization and capacity building. He has worked closely with international institutions and government i.e. FAO ,IFAD, CTA IFDC, AGRA, DFID, IFPRI, AGRITERA, SCC, GIZ, SDC, USAID, COMESA, EAC and many other on capacity building of produce organizations, policy, trade and food security issues. Mr Kiriro is a farmer and holds a BSC and MSC in animal science from Texas A&M university USA. He is currently the president of the Eastern Africa Farmers Federation (EAFF).
Vice President, Program Innovation and Delivery at Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA)
Aggie Asiimwe Konde is the Vice President, Program Innovation and Delivery at Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). Aggie leads a specialized team of scientists and generalists across 11 AGRA countries in East, West and Southern Africa responsible for the strategic role of portfolio design & development, monitoring and implementation to achieve Agricultural transformation by 2030. Aggie is a blue ocean enthusiast who is pragmatic, and results oriented with over 15 years’ experience across multiple private and public sector industries (Tobacco, Beverages, Multimedia, Textile & Apparel, Aquaculture and Agriculture) with diverse entrepreneurial expertise in leveraging innovative solutions that drive sustainable economic growth. She currently serves in different capacities on three active boards, Stanbic Holdings Uganda Ltd, Doctors Choice and Medaasi Investments Ltd. Aggie is a social scientist who also holds an MBA from the University of Liverpool and has trained with the world-renown Springfield Centre in Market Systems Development. She is a pioneering student of the Global CEO Program (IESA -University of Navarra) and recently completed the Harvard Executive Business program and is a Fast Forward alumna class of 2020.
RFounder of MkTOTO S.A.R.L
Marcelline Koutatouka, a tropical agronomy engineer and founder of MkTOTO S.A.R.L, excels in agricultural production, processing, and marketing, along with livestock activities. An accomplished trainer, she has also played diverse roles, including as a consultant and coordinator. Marcelline has worked with notable institutions such as the Centre de Recherche et d'Evaluation des Cultures Maraichères, served as National Facilitator for FARA's eRAILS 2 project, been a National Coordinator for cassava value chains, and a Specialist in horticultural production for FAO's Urban and Peri-urban Horticulture Project. She's made significant contributions as a Market Gardening Expert and as the Departmental Coordinator of CNOP Congo. Marcelline's leadership extends to initiating the World Food Day celebration and affiliations with Agripure Development and the African Food Changemakers community.
CEO, Brighthouse Consultancy and Training
Sarah is a seasoned professional with a decade of experience in the cold chain industry. With a background in Finance for M&E and a bachelor's degree in finance, she has leveraged her expertise to make significant contributions to the sector. Sarah's early career as a fresh food retailer ignited her passion for supporting women-owned small-scale businesses. In 2017, she founded Brighthouse Consultancy and Training Limited with a vision to mentor and drive capacity building in Agribusiness. Since then, Brighthouse has partnered with industry leaders to provide food safety training to businesses in Kenya, Senegal, Rwanda, Ethiopia, and Nepal. Sarah is also actively involved in working with college students in the food industry, focusing on upholding good practices to reduce food-related illnesses. Under Sarah's leadership, Brighthouse has successfully trained and funded over 100 women, enabling them to establish sustainable small businesses in the food industry. The company's mission is to elevate and endorse businesses in developing markets worldwide, solidifying its position as a catalyst for growth and empowerment.
Regional Director, East Africa Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture
Lucy joined SFSA in January 2022. She has more than 15 years’ experience of developing agricultural market systems at NGOs and in the private sector across East and Southern Africa. Lucy’s work has covered, for example, value chain upgrading, commodity trading, social and environmental sustainability, digital technologies, and climate-smart agriculture. Before coming to the Foundation, she was Deputy Director of Gatsby Africa’s Kenya Commercial Forestry Program. Lucy has also worked for Mercy Corps, Kenya Cooperative Coffee Exporters Group, TechnoServe, and Farm Africa. She holds a BSc in Agriculture from the University of Nairobi, a BA and MA in Development Studies from the University of South Africa, and a Diploma from the Kenya Institute of Management. Lucy is passionate about people and is driven by making a difference in smallholders’ lives.
Government & Industry Affairs Leader for Africa and Middle East, Corteva Agriscience
Betty, a lawyer by training with more than 18 years’ experience in the agricultural sector, leads the government and industry affairs team in Africa and the Middle East. An important objective for Betty is fostering co-operation between governments and Industry to identify and highlight policy issues that might provide obstacles to the common goal of serving small scale farmers. Prior to joining Corteva Agriscience, Betty has been involved in establishing the legal office for the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute and playing an instrumental role in the AU-NEPAD Agency African Biosafety Network Expertise in Burkina Faso and Uganda. Following this, she led and directed a cross-functional team as the Africa government affairs lead at Monsanto. Betty holds a Diploma in Law from the Kenya School of Law, a Bachelor of Law from Wolverhampton University in the U.K. She also holds an LLM in Intellectual Property, Commerce and Technology, from the Franklin Pierce Law Center in the United States. Betty has served as a Fellow at Michigan State University, College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences in Michigan, USA. She is also an advocate of the High Court of Kenya and a Non-Practitioner Barrister of England & Wales.
Regional Program Director for East Africa, Partners in Food Solutions (PFS)
Johnson Kiragu is a Food Technologist and development programs expert with over 23 years expertise spanning both technical and business aspects of the food industry. Currently he is the Regional Program Director for East Africa at Partners in Food Solutions (PFS), an organization that supports medium sized food companies, in Africa and beyond, to overcome their most pressing technical and business challenges. Johnson works on the ground with these companies to make this happen. He holds a masters degree in food science from the university of Reading (UK), an MBA from York University (UK) and professional qualifications in Total Quality Management from University of South Africa among other qualifications. Since 2010, PFS has supported over 300 companies in the region. The overarching goal of PFS is to enable these companies to produce safe, nutritious and more affordable foods for the markets. Johnson is passionate about, economic development, poverty eradication, food security, food safety and improved nutrition for entire populations.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Farmer on Fire Global Consultancy
Wangari Kuria is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Farmer on Fire Global Consultancy seeking to eliminate hunger and improve safe food production. An Agripreneur with a rich background as a farmer, aggregator, and an expert on the value-chain. She is renowned as one of the pioneers of making agriculture appealing by creating captivating videos on farming and challenging many online to engage and act. She is at the frontline in partnership with global partners with a focus on small scale farmers to reduce barriers for youth and women entry into the agribusiness.
Senior Technical Advisor, COUNSENUTH
Dr. Lunna Hemed Kyungu, PhD, has more than 30 years’ experience working in the health and nutrition sector with focused expertise in the following areas: maternal infant, young child and adolescent nutrition (MIYCAN), prevention and control of malnutrition especially micronutrient deficiencies, protein-energy malnutrition, non-communicable diet-related diseases and care for vulnerable groups. Dr. Kyungu is Senior Technical Advisor - supporting the Director of Programs and Program staff in designing innovative approaches and strategies; and development of nutrition programs and plans to achieve the Centre’s Vision and Missions. She supports all steps in implementation, learning, reporting and dissemination of results and provides technical advice in nutrition program design and oversee implementation of nutrition interventions.
Lead, Potato and Sweetpotato Breeding Program, CIP
Hannele Lindqvist-Kreuze leads the potato and sweetpotato breeding programs at CIP as of January 2020. Her objective is to drive increased genetic gains of both potato and sweetpotato through the adoption of novel breeding approaches and modernization of the breeding program. The breeding products generated need to respond to customer needs to increase the adoption and dissemination of improved varieties. Lindqvist-Kreuze has more than 15 years of experience in potato genomics, molecular breeding and pathology at CIP. She is originally from Finland and received her MSc in Agronomy (Plant Pathology) from the University of Helsinki and her PhD in Molecular Plant Pathology from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.
Director of Data Management, Digital Products, and Technology at AKADEMIYA2063
Racine is the Director of data management, digital products, and technology at AKADEMIYA2063. Before that, he worked as a ReSAKSS Research Coordinator at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). His primary areas of research are in Predictive Modeling, Machine Learning techniques applied to geospatial data to study challenges at the nexus of climate variability and the food system in Africa. His work is oriented toward developing, adopting, and using technology to strengthen data-driven decision-making in governments for effective interventions and robust preparedness against climate shocks and uncertainties. Racine is a 2018 Obama Leaders Africa program fellow. He holds a Master's degree in Mathematical Modeling and Multi-Scale Simulation through a joint degree program between the Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées and the Paris-Est Marne-La-Vallée University. He subsequently earned a doctoral degree in the field of Engineering Sciences applied to Spatial Transport Systems, through the French Space Agency (Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales) and the University of Bordeaux.
Research Professor in the Department of Global Development, Senior Research Associate in the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management at Cornell University and Director of Cornell University’s Humphrey Fellowship Program
Edward Mabaya is a scholar and a development practitioner with more than two decades of experience working on development, agribusiness value chains and food security issues with a regional focus on Sub-Saharan Africa. He is a Research Professor in the Department of Global Development, Senior Research Associate in the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management at Cornell University and Director of Cornell University’s Humphrey Fellowship Program. His teaching, research and outreach work focuses on food security and economic development in Africa. Previously he was the Division Manager of Agribusiness Development at the African Development Bank (2018-2020) where he managed continent-wide investments, partnerships and research in support of the Feed Africa strategy. He is the former President of African Association of Agricultural Economists (2017-2019) an Archbishop Desmond Tutu Leadership Fellow (2007) and The Aspen Institute’s New Voices Fellow (2016). Mabaya earned his MSc (1998) and PhD (2003) degrees in Agricultural Economics at Cornell University and a BSc Honors in Agricultural Economics and Extension (1994) from the University of Zimbabwe.
Country Manager-Kenya, Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA)
As a country manager, John is responsible for managing results for the Kenya portfolio with the Government of Kenya, Donors, Private Sector and implementing agencies. He previously worked as a Lead program officer for Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda. In that position he led the development of AGRA strategy for the period 2017-2022 and lead institutional engagement with Government and key donors in these countries. John has currently facilitated the development of AGRA Kenya strategy 2023-2028. At AGRA, Mr Macharia managed the Rockefeller Foundation Waste and Spoilage Initiative as well as The Farm to Market Alliance. He has previously worked with the Netherlands Development organization and Technoserve in the East Africa Region. Mr. Macharia has a distinguished track record as an agricultural value chain specialist, enterprise, and strategy advisor. He holds an MBA in strategic management and is currently pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy in strategic management and is completing a Master of Science in Finance and Investments. He was recently inducted as an Acumen Rockefeller food system Fellow 2022.
CEO and Founder of Agromovil
Andrew Mack is CEO and Founder of Agromovil, an award-winning data and market access company that links small farmers with buyers and large supply chains around the world to dramatically improve the efficiency of small-scale agriculture. A former World Bank official and banker, Mack has worked in just under 80 countries. A serial entrepreneur, he also founded and led AMGlobal Consulting, a Washington, DC-based firm working with Fortune 200 clients specializing in Corporate Social Responsibility, emerging markets and partnership development. Mack holds a BA Magna Cum Laude from Amherst College and a MA in International Economics from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS. He speaks and works in Spanish, French and Portuguese.
Program Coordinator, Climate and Health, Global Alliance for the Future of Food
Vivian Maduekeh is a Management Consultant with deep expertise in sustainable food systems and international development. Her work currently focuses on integrated policies and practice on food, climate, and health. She is the Program Coordinator: Climate and Health for the Global Alliance for the Future of Food, an alliance of philanthropic foundations.
Senior Associate, Research, CLASP
Michael is a Senior Associate supporting research activities under CLASP’s Clean Energy Access portfolio. Michael has a keen interest in productive uses of renewable energy in agri-food systems and is currently leading the design of an IKEA Foundation supported program to accelerate the uptake of productive use of renewable energy technologies and equipment to improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers in Kenya.
Director of External Relations, AKADEMIYA2063
As Director of External Relations, Tsitsi Makombe leads AKADEMIYA2063’s efforts to build, enhance, and maintain innovative and strategic partnerships. She cultivates relationships with a diverse array of partners and stakeholders including continental and regional organizations, national governments, non-state actor organizations, and investors. Tsitsi provides programmatic support to the Regional Strategic Analysis and Knowledge Support System (ReSAKSS), a core program of AKADEMIYA2063, that provides policy-relevant data and analysis, strengthens data quality and capacities, and promotes mutual accountability processes in support of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP). Prior to joining AKADEMIYA2063, Tsitsi was a Senior Program Manager with the International Food Policy Research Institute where she successfully managed diverse partnerships and multi-year projects and programs in support of CAADP. She is a certified project management professional (PMP) with over 15 years of programmatic and research experience in African agricultural development. A citizen of Zimbabwe, Tsitsi received her M.S. degree in Agricultural Economics from Michigan State University and a B.S. degree in Agriculture and Natural Resources from Africa University.
Chief Strategy Officer, Equity Group
Brent holds a Master’s degree in Economics and a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. He has over 18 years’ experience in financial services and has held various senior positions in commercial banking, investment banking and fund management. He has previously worked at Standard Bank, Fitch Ratings, J.P. Morgan and Investec Asset Management. Brent has worked at Equity Group since 2016 and currently holds the position as Chief Strategy Officer and sits on the board of Equity BCDC and Finserve.
International Affairs Advisor and a co-lead on the Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate (AIM for Climate)
Agribusiness Development Manager, AATF
George is the Manager of Agri-business Development at AATF. He holds an MBA from Wolverhampton University, UK, a Bsc Honours degree from University of Zimbabwe and several professional management qualifications. As Agri-business Specialist at AATF, George is responsible for co-ordinating and facilitating business initiatives between the AATF, agro-industry, smallholder farmers and all stakeholders in the agricultural industry to ensure appropriate knowledge is disseminated for effective and efficient service delivery. He has a wealth of experience having worked for different local, regional, and international organizations in various roles in the agriculture industry with keen interest in project and agri-business management, business strategy, business consultancy, marketing management, change management, economic development and regeneration.
Regional Lead, Africa, Global Farmers Network
Ruramiso Mashumba recently joined the Global Farmer network as their Regional Lead for Africa. She is a pioneering female farmer from Zimbabwe and the founder of Mnandi Africa, an organization that empowers rural women to combat poverty and malnutrition. She holds a BA Degree in Agriculture Business Management from the University of West England and a postgraduate diploma in Management from Regent University, South Africa. Currently pursuing an MBA in sustainable food and agriculture at the Royal Agriculture University in the UK, Ruramiso's journey started when she returned to Zimbabwe after working for a leading agriculture equipment company in the UK. She inherited a bare farm from her parents and transformed it into a thriving agricultural enterprise with equipment and technology. She ventured into horticulture crops for export, addressing deforestation through tree planting and cultivating various organic grains. Ruramiso's organization, Mnandi Africa, equips women with agricultural skills, nutrition knowledge, and access to affordable agro-technology through an input-sharing program, ultimately aiming to end hunger and poverty in Zimbabwe. Her remarkable achievements include being the first woman elected as National Chairperson of the Zimbabwe Farmers Union, receiving recognition from AGCO and attending the Mandela Washington Fellowship. Ruramiso has won numerous awards for her contributions to agriculture and has been a prominent voice in global forums advocating for food access and supporting women farmers. She co-founded "Women Who Farm Africa," a leadership development program, and continues to lead Mnandi Africa's initiatives, including providing support and equipment to rural women farmers.
Senior Environmental Specialist at the Global Environmental Facility (GEF)
Dr. Umunay is a Senior Environmental Specialist at the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) where he leads agriculture and food systems programs, supporting the GEF’s mandate to generate global environmental benefits under biodiversity, climate change, and land degradation focal areas. He grew up in a farming community and has worked with international and multilateral organizations and academic and research institutions. Peter received his master’s and PhD from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. He has over 30 scientific publications and works in collaboration with scientists across the world in the areas of the agriculture and forest-climate nexus.
Director, Knowledge Leadership
Mduduzi joined GAIN in 2016, and has worked as Senior Technical Specialist and Senior Manager in the Knowledge Leadership (KL) team. He is currently Director, Knowledge Leadership, where he is responsible for research and evaluation at GAIN. He works with colleagues to generate and use evidence to guide improved programme design and implementation and to fill critical gaps in the global evidence. Mduduzi is a Zimbabwean national, and has worked for over two decades on nutrition sensitive programs and policy in LMIC. His past experience spans work on programming, policy and research. He holds a PhD in International Nutrition from Cornell and is currently a Courtesy Assistant Professor at Cornell’s Division of Nutritional Sciences and Adjunct Faculty at Johns Hopkins’ School of Public Health. He also serves on the boards of the Zvitambo Institute for Maternal and Child Health Research, the Society for Implementation Science in Nutrition, and the Advisory Council of the Micronutrient Forum. Outside of work, Mdu is on active duty as a father of three and enjoys (beginner level) kayaking.
Executive Director, Africa Network of Agricultural Policy Research Institutes (ANAPRI) Secretariat
Dr. Nalishebo Meebelo is the Executive Director at the Secretariat of the Africa Network of Agricultural Policy Research Institutes (ANAPRI) – a grouping of policy research centers located in central, east, southern, and west Africa. She holds a PhD in Business Studies (with a focus on knowledge management within the sustainable development framework) and a Master of Business Administration from Edith Cowan University in Western Australia. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics, with public administration, from the University of Zambia and is a Certified Digital Data Analyst. Over the last two decades, Meebelo has coordinated the implementation of several initiatives focused on strengthening Africa’s food system, working at national, regional, and continental levels, and collaborating with a wide range of stakeholders. She also currently co-chairs that task force on Food and Nutrition Security Data and Hunger Hotspots in Africa under the Food Trade Coalition for Africa (FTCA) and serves on several Committees.
Deputy Assistant Administrator Bureau for Resilience and Food Security United States Agency for International Development
Mike Michener currently serves as Deputy Assistant Administrator in the Bureau for Resilience and Food Security, where he oversees the strategic direction and implementation of USAID’s work on agriculture-led growth and the bureau’s efforts to engage and build partnerships with the private sector and research community in support of the U.S. Government’s Feed the Future initiative. Prior to working at USAID, Mr. Michener most recently served as Vice President for Product Policy and Innovation with the United States Council for International Business in Washington D.C., and just prior to that as Director of Multilateral Relations for CropLife International in Brussels, Belgium. Mike represented these trade associations before a range of international organizations – including the United Nations, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. Previously, Mr. Michener served with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, first as Administrator of the Foreign Agricultural Service and then as Minister Counselor at the U.S. Mission to the UN Agencies in Rome. Mr. Michener has also worked for the U.S. Department of State in several roles, including senior governance advisor and strategic planner for stability operations, civil-military affairs specialist, and senior advisor for democracy and human rights programs in Iraq. Mike also worked for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as an Asylum Officer and USAID as a Democracy Advisor in Bosnia and Kosovo. Mr. Michener began his career with the United States Army, serving in Europe as a military intelligence specialist. Originally from Iowa, Mr. Michener has a master’s degree in public administration from Bowie State University. Mr. Michener earned a bachelor’s degree in East European studies from the University of Maryland by taking night school classes while serving on active duty in Munich, Germany. He speaks fluent Romanian and several other languages.
Partner and Managing Director, BCG Nairobi
Chris is a Partner and Managing Director at BCG Nairobi with extensive expertise in economic development, particularly in the area of food systems transformation. With a strong focus on agriculture and consumer products, he has worked closely with a diverse clientele. As a core member of BCG's Social Impact practice, Chris has actively engaged with clients on strategic matters and the creation of inclusive markets. Notably, he played a key role in guiding the development of strategies, governance models, and identification of food transformation initiatives for the World Economic Forum's Food Action Alliance. Chris has also led transformative projects, such as a public-private partnership aimed at accelerating the growth of East African dairy industries, significantly increasing dairy consumption and farmer productivity. Additionally, he has worked on large-scale agricultural commercialization strategies in Ethiopia, mobilizing substantial funding to drive the sector's growth. With an impressive background, including a successful tenure at another top-tier global management consultancy and experience in India with a firm focused on supporting social enterprises, Chris brings a wealth of knowledge to his current role. He holds an MBA from MIT Sloan School of Management, an Mphil in International Relations from Cambridge University, and a BA in History from Tufts University, where he graduated summa cum laude.
Consultant, WorldVeg’s TAVI (Taiwan Africa Vegetable Initiative)
Agricultural development expert, with a background in crop improvement, and a special interest in policy and practical issues addressing food and nutrition security, and innovations for scaling value chain development, with extensive knowledge of the informal seed sector and needs of smallholder farmers. Joyce’s current focus is on plant health systems and climate smart agriculture interventions and contributing to the development of seed multiplication techniques and community seed production models. She is currently a consultant for WorldVeg’s TAVI (Taiwan Africa Vegetable Initiative) project in Eswatini.
Director General and Chief Research Officer (CRO) at the Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute (TARI)
Geoffrey Mkamilo is the Director General and Chief Research Officer (CRO) at the Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute (TARI) where he is responsible for taking forward the vision and mission of TARI through operations and administration affairs of the Institute. He has extensive experience with internationally funded projects and has worked as principal investigator/coordinator for NARS from Tanzania for several projects. He has collaborated with several CGIAR organizations including IITA, CIAT and NRI.
Director, Policy and Planning, Ministry of Agriculture, Zambia
Peggy Yawawa Mlewa is the Director Policy and Planning in the Ministry of Agriculture since 2020. As the Director in charge of Policy and Planning, Peggy has coordinated the development of a 5-year Agriculture transformation program covering institutional review, key policies, and program activities. The objective of this comprehensive review is to enhance the agricultural sector’s production and productivity, contribution to job creation, incomes and resilience to climate change and other global shocks. Peggy is a trade economist with working experience of over 15 years at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry under the Department of International Trade, and a Trade Negotiator under the World Trade Organization, ACP-EU, as well as other regional and bilateral frameworks. In 2013, Peggy shifted her career focus to Policy formulation and Program Planning as Director in charge under the Ministry of Labor and Social Security, and also served in the same capacity at the Ministry of National Guidance and Religious Affairs from 2017 to 2020.
Chairperson of the Tanzania Association of Food Scientists and Technologists (TAFST)
Mercy Mmari is a Senior Food Processing Specialist with more than a decade of experience in Food and Nutrition arena. Mercy uses her expertise in researching on traditional food systems, training on food safety and technical advisory on vast aspects of regenerative food processing. Mercy is a Food safety (ISO 22000:2018) CQI and IRCA Certified Lead Auditor, she has an MSc Food Science and Nutrition from Jomo Kenyatta University of Science and Technology and BSc Food Science and Technology from Sokoine University of Agriculture. She is also trained in Post Harvest and Wasted food from Wageningen University, The Netherlands and Leadership and business at Oklahoma State University, USA. Mercy is currently the Chairperson of the Tanzania Association of Food Scientists and Technologists (TAFST) and a Food Science PhD scholar under RSIF PASET researching on edible insects. She has been working for the Open University of Tanzania as assistant lecturer. Mercy has trained about 5,000 food processors and 200 mothers, implementing more than 15 Product development regenerative initiatives, while working with several donors funded projects and as Managing Partner for TanFoodTech Consultancy. She has published food science and nutrition articles and presented in scientific conferences around USA, Singapore, Kenya, Uganda and the South Africa. Mercy volunteers in three food and nutrition journals as a reviewer and in training women groups on child nutrition. Mercy is a YALI Mandela Washington fellow and IUFOST voting delegate. She lives to witness a food secure, malnutrition free Tanzania, this is what drives her daily passion and energy.
Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs
Jennifer Lester Moﬀitt is Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs at the United States Department of Agriculture, the first female to serve in this position. At USDA, she provides leadership for the Agricultural Marketing Service and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, working to build a more reliable, resilient, and equitable food system by strengthening agricultural markets and ensuring the health and care of animals and plants. Prior to joining USDA, Under Secretary Moﬀitt worked at the California Department of Food and Agriculture where she championed the critically important work of farmers and producers in her roles as Undersecretary and Deputy Secretary. A 5th generation Californian, Under Secretary Moﬀitt grew up on her family’s organic walnut farm and processing operation and spent 10 years as Managing Director, working to expand domestic and international markets and implementing climate smart agricultural practice. Growing up and working on the farm, she learned first-hand the importance of taking care of the land and the people who farm it. Before running the family farm, Under Secretary Moﬀitt worked for American Farmland Trust, connecting farmers with information on conservation easements, estate planning, research, and technical assistance. A former 4-H and FFA member, Under Secretary Moﬀitt grew up raising market lambs and recently served as a 4-H volunteer. In doing so, she’s seen the important role farmers play in supporting their local communities and youth development. A graduate of Brown University and the California Agricultural Leadership Program, Under Secretary Moﬀitt has served as a member of the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board, the California Certified Organic Farmers Board of Directors, the Organic Trade Association Farmer Advisory Council, and the Board of Directors for the Center for Land-based Learning. She believes in the importance of engaging agricultural stakeholders and working collaboratively to address the issues facing farmers, producers, and consumers. Under Secretary Moﬀitt spends her time between Washington, D.C. and Davis, California where she lives with her husband, a public school educator, and their teenage daughter.
Horticulture Farmer and Teacher
Samson Mogendi is an experienced horticulture farmer and a teacher based in Tanzania’s Iringa Region, primarily cultivating onions, beans and tomatoes. Samson adopted a solar-powered irrigation system two years ago, with the support of ELICO Foundation. He will be sharing his experience as an end-user of PURE technology and how it has affected his productivity.
CEO, Africa Improved Foods BV
Ramesh is a distinguished senior global leader with an impressive three-decade track record of excellence in financial management and strategic operations. Throughout his career, he has adeptly navigated businesses across various business cycles, displaying a keen ability to drive success. His expertise lies in launching, expanding, and spearheading Agri and Food sector enterprises across a spectrum of markets, ranging from Developed to Developing and Frontier. Renowned for his deep-rooted understanding of Africa, Ramesh has carved a niche for himself as a thought leader within the industry. His influence is palpable, evidenced by his adept management of corporate relationships and policy-making engagements at the highest echelons. Ramesh's most recent role is as the CEO of Africa Improved Foods BV in Kigali, a position he has held since June 2023. Prior to this, he held the prestigious role of Group CEO at TGI Agribusiness in Lagos, Nigeria, from January 2020 to March 2023. TGI Agribusiness, a part of the TGI Group, has an expansive presence across eight countries, encompassing diverse aspects of food processing and soft commodity value chains. Managing over 3,000 employees and leading a senior leadership team of 65 multinational talents, Ramesh has masterfully overseen complex supply chains, processing facilities, logistics, and associated assets. Ramesh's notable tenure as President at Olam International Ltd., spanning from 1992 to 2019, is marked by his pivotal role in steering the company's multifaceted ventures across Africa, India, and Europe. His scope of responsibilities encompassed supply chains, farms, processing plants, impactful M&A ventures, and the establishment of pioneering Sustainability and Governance benchmarks. Educated at XLRI in Jamshedpur, India, where he earned a PGDM in 1989, Ramesh also holds a B.Sc. in Physics from Mumbai University, India, a testament to his strong academic foundation.
Owner of Produce Tanzania Co. Ltd, Tanzania
Consolata Moshy, a 33-year-old female entrepreneur, is the proud owner of "Produce Tanzania Co Ltd," a thriving horticulture and value addition business located in Mbeya City Council. Her journey as a business owner began in September 2018, and since then, she has been making remarkable strides in the world of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as value-added products like dried tomatoes, dried chilies, various juices, kids' food, dried sweet potatoes, dried veggies, and fruits. Consolata's business is not only about offering diverse products but also focuses on reducing post-harvest losses, which is vital in promoting sustainable practices.
Managing Director, Zima Enterprise Limited
Marie Ange Mukagahima holds a Bachelor’s degree with honours in International Economics obtained at University of Rwanda in 2017. In 2017 she established Zima Enterprise Limited, which is now Zima Healthy Group Ltd and managed to grow this into a successful social enterprise. employs 30 people and creates impact to over 600 smallholder women farmers and Youth. Zima’s products are sold in Rwanda and abroad. As Managing Director of Zima, she attended seminars business management like by BPN Rwanda (2017-2021) and the Rwanda Youth industrial training in Kenya (2019). In 2019 Marie Ange was selected to receive a training course on processing and preservation technology of agricultural products in China. Marie Ange obtained certifications of trainings and courses provided by ITC, SheTrades, Academy for Women Entrepreneurs, Acumen and IKEA social entrepreneurship. She has been awarded as best youth innovator by Rwanda Youth connect in 2017, awarded by USAID Rwanda. and participated in international business exhibitions in different countries like le salon de l’agricuture in France, Algeria, Tanzania, Uganda, Ghana, etc.
Vice President, IFAD
Gerardine Mukeshimana is Vice-President of IFAD. She has extensive knowledge of and networks in agricultural and rural development, including with other multilateral development banks and climate funds. With her strong technical experience, she contributes to IFAD’s strategic direction and operational performance. Gerardine has direct oversight of IFAD’s budget, quality assurance, change management and innovation. Prior to her appointment, Gerardine served as the Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources for Rwanda for almost a decade. During this time, the agricultural sector continued to grow and benefit from remarkable transformation. Among her accomplishments, Gerardine was able to attract private sector interest in agri-business and pioneered the use of climate funds for agriculture. Gerardine has held various positions, including as a Post-Doctoral Molecular Biology Scientist for the International Livestock Research Institute, Post-Doctoral Scientist in Genomics at the Michigan State University and as a lecturer in the Faculty of Agriculture at the National University of Rwanda. Gerardine was also National Project Coordinator for the World Bank’s Rural Sector Support programme in Rwanda. Gerardine has a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Engineering from the National University of Rwanda and a Master’s degree and a PhD in Plant Breeding and Genetics, Crop and Soil Sciences from Michigan State University.
Co-Founder, Palmhouse Dairies Limited
Margaret Munene is an entrepreneur, business leader and philanthropist with over 20 years of experience in Kenya’s Dairy industry. Margaret is the co-founder of Palmhouse Dairies, a milk processing plant based in Githunguri Kenya that processes 5000 liters of milk daily. Palmhouse was set up in 1996 in response to the liberalization of the Kenyan milk sector. As a philanthropist, Margaret Munene is a founding trustee of the Palmhouse Foundation, a Kenyan education trust that finances the secondary education of needy and deserving students and mentors them through life, to impact positively on society. She is also an active member or Rotary International; Rotary is a global service organization that provides humanitarian services, encourages high ethical standards in all vocations, and advances goodwill and peace around the world. She has served as a president of the Rotary Club of Karura and is an incoming 2017/18 Assistant Governor for Rotary District 9212, which comprises of Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea and South Sudan. Margaret is the Chair of the Board of Trustees of HEART Africa - a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to empowering the people of Africa to survive the HIV/AIDS pandemic. In 2011, Margaret received the ‘Moran of the Order of the Burning Spear (MBS)’ award from the President of Kenya for her service to the community. Margaret holds a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from the University of Nairobi and a Masters in crop protection from Bath University. She is an active member of Ridgeways Baptist Church, lives in Nairobi with her husband and has three grown up children.
Country Representative of Tanager Kenya
Maureen Munjua is the Country Representative of Tanager Kenya. She also serves as the Team leader for an innovative technical assistance mechanism implemented by Tanager - IGNITE project which provides gender and nutrition technical support to African Agriculture Institutions. Maureen is a private-sector development professional with over 20 years of experience working with different stakeholders in the agriculture sector across Africa. She has facilitated co-creation, linkages, and learning among key stakeholders in the agri-food sector including development partners, private sector actors, farmer organizations, government, and research and academia. Maureen has also worked on facilitating trade and investment promotion for six years between African companies in the East African region and Europe. In her current role, she has successfully led the team to work with over 20 African and Pan-African agricultural institutions (governments, agribusinesses, NGOs) across 17 African countries, to institutionalize gender and nutrition in their institutional systems and structures, their agricultural interventions, and their way of doing business. Maureen holds an MBA in International Business Management, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Chemistry from the University of Nairobi.
Executive Director of SIVIO Institute
Tendai Murisa is the current Executive Director of SIVIO Institute. He holds a DPhil in Sociology from Rhodes University. Tendai has over 20 years of institution building and policy analysis experience, spanning three Universities and multiple local and international organisations. He is an author of several books, essays, and journal articles on African Philanthropy, Citizens’ agency & solidarity, public policy, land and agrarian reforms and in Zimbabwe and across Africa. He is active in building communities of practice and nurturing institutions that aim to enhance giving by Africans.
Faculty of Agronomy and Forest Engineering, Eduardo Mondlane University, Mozambique
Joao Mutondo is an Agricultural Economist holding a PhD Degree from Oklahoma State University, United States of America, and an Associate Professor of Agribusiness at Faculty of Agronomy and Forest Engineering at Eduardo Mondlane University. Prof. Mutondo served as Deputy Dean for Post Graduate Studies at the Faculty of Agronomy and Forest Engineering, focusing on research areas of expertise in Agricultural Policies, International Trade, Production Economics and Marketing. He has been an AGRA consultant for a long time and especially supporting the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in evaluating the National Agriculture Investment Plan in the design of the second generation of the National Strategic Plan for the Development of the Agricultural Sector and its Investment Plan. Prof. Mutondo has since engaged in the CAADP process, specifically the Mozambique Biennial Review Process, and is currently the CAADP trainer for the Biennial Review Process. He has long-term experience in agriculture stakeholder engagement through providing technical leadership for the functioning of the Mozambique Agriculture Sector Coordination Committee. Prof. Mutondo has published several articles related to International Trade, Water Management, and Marketing, and has contributed to several country analyses, particularly in agriculture expenditure, the level of involvement of private sector in agriculture and impact of COVID-19 in agriculture.
Head of Corporate Communications, Corteva AgriScience
Barbra Sehlule Muzata, a strategic communications partner and brand marketing strategist, is an advisor to executives and brands across various industries, encompassing corporate affairs, digital marketing, and brand development. She is passionate about storytelling and using communication to help create positive change, especially for youth and women. She engages with various sectors to develop strategies and tools to help brands connect with their markets and stakeholders. In recognition of her dedication, drive, and transformative efforts that not only mold the agricultural realm but also ignite inspiration, Barbra Sehlule Muzata was recently honored with the 2023 Mzansi Changemakers Award from Food For Mzansi in collaboration with Kagiso Trust (KT). Her unwavering commitment to effecting positive change is a beacon, motivating us all and underscoring Africa's remarkable potential to enact meaningful change. Notable moments in her professional journey encompass the successful launch of a multinational agriculture brand across Africa and the Middle East. Additionally, she achieved significant success by spearheading the implementation of the Soil Sistas program. This visionary initiative is specifically designed for women in agriculture, aiming to elevate their entrepreneurial, business, and leadership proficiencies, ultimately contributing to their empowerment and sustainable growth within the farming sector.
Executive Director Emeritus of the Dalberg Group
James Irungu Mwangi is the Executive Director Emeritus of the Dalberg Group, an advisory firm that focuses on inclusive and sustainable growth. He has served a wide range of clients drawn from national governments, multi-lateral institutions, private foundations, investors and corporations across the continent. James has also worked with a range of clients in several African countries including Cameroon, the DRC, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Mozambique, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania and Tunisia. James has worked extensively with new organizations and initiatives helping develop business plans and implement launch strategies for the African Center for Economic Transformation (an Accra-based Think Tank) and for a new SME focused Private Equity fund based in Nairobi. James has also led strategic reviews of several regional financial institutions seeking to develop more effective investment strategies for stimulating development impact in the Southern African region. Prior to joining Dalberg, James was a consultant at McKinsey & Company where he served clients in the financial services sector and helped develop the business plan and launch strategy for a start-up e-learning venture. James also worked as an investment banking analyst with Salomon Smith Barney, now part of Citigroup in their Global Energy Practice. James holds a degree in Economics from Harvard University. He is a recipient of the Archbishop Desmond Tutu Leadership Fellowship extended to 20 emerging African leaders each year by the African Leadership Institute.
Team Leader, AgResults Tanzania Dairy Productivity Challenge Project; Land O’Lakes Venture37
Neema Mrema is the team lead for AgResults Tanzania Dairy Productivity Challenge Project, implemented by Land O’Lakes Venture37. In this role, she is managing the Pay-for-Results prize competition to stimulate investment in dairy input service delivery and spur dairy productivity in Tanzania’s coastal area. With more than 17 years of experience, Ms. Mrema has been working with various stakeholders across the crops and livestock value chains to facilitate pay-for-performance incentives for improved service delivery solutions – ultimately supporting smallholder farmers. Prior to working with Venture37, she served as Chief of Party of the USDA-funded Soya ni Pesa project and Technical Component Lead for the Feed the Future Agroprocessing and Consumption project, focusing on public-private collaboration for improved technologies and service delivery. Ms. Mrema holds an M.Sc. in Applied Microbiology from University of Botswana.
Strategic Director, 4SD Foundation
Prof. Sir David Nabarro currently serves as the Strategic Director at the 4SD Foundation in Geneva, Switzerland, where he focuses on addressing complex sustainable development challenges. He also holds the position of Co-Director at the Institute of Global Health Innovation at Imperial College London, contributing to cutting-edge advancements in global health research and innovation. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he was appointed as the Special Envoy of the World Health Organization Director General for COVID-19. In this critical role, he played a pivotal part in coordinating global responses to the pandemic. He also co-leads the Food Workstream of the UN Global Crisis Response Group on Food, Energy, and Finance. After qualifying as a medical doctor in 1974 David Nabarro worked in the UK health service, within health and nutrition programmes for women and children in Iraq, in South Asia and in East Africa; he also taught at the London and Liverpool Schools of Tropical Medicine. In 1989 he served as Chief Health and Population Adviser and then as Director for Human Development for the UK’s International Development Department. He served in the World Health Organization from 1999, as UN System Influenza Coordinator from 2005, UN Secretary-General’s (UNSG) Special Representative for Food Security and Nutrition, and Coordinator of the Scale up Nutrition Movement, from 2010. He was (UNSG) Special Envoy for Ebola in 2014 and Special Adviser for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in 2016 before leaving the UN in 2017: in 2018 he established 4SD with Florence Lasbennes to improve skills for handling complex and contested sustainable development challenges. He was appointed Chair of Global Health at the Imperial College Institute of Global Health Innovation in 2019.
Regional Program Officer at Farm Radio International
Gertrude is a Regional Program Officer at Farm Radio International, a Canadian International NGO that works to enhance rural African development using radio and ICT to share knowledge, amplify voices and support positive change. She has over 12 years working experience in program management and development in the NGO sector. She is passionate about human rights especially women’s rights and promoting gender equality and governance. She has experience in social research (quantitative and qualitative), grassroots mobilizing, community development and project coordination in the humanitarian settings. Gertrude holds a Masters’ degree in Social Sector Planning and Management, Bachelors in Information Technology, all from Makerere University; is a trainer on the Global Land Tool Network’s Gender Evaluation Criteria; is experienced in advocacy and communications with training from the African Center for Media Excellence and the International Center for Research on Women. She has training in Sphere for Practice. She has supported/led projects handling issues ranging from food security and livelihoods, women’s social and economic rights, sexual and reproductive health, orphans and vulnerable children and the humanitarian/host community context.
Board Member, AGRA
Binta is passionate about effective financial and socio-economic inclusion in Africa and is excited to take up new challenges and opportunities for long-term development impact on the continent. Binta is a senior banking professional with extensive experience and expertise on the African financial industry as Orabank Group CEO, coming after a twenty-year career with the Ecobank Group and other banks in Africa. She serves as an independent Non-executive Director and Member of the Risk Committee of the Board of Attijariwafa Group – Cbao, a top bank in Senegal with entities in Benin, Burkina Faso, Niger, and Senegal. As CEO of Oragroup, she steered the bank’s growth of SMEs through digitalization and her leadership on inclusion pays special attention to women and youth empowerment.
Scientist - Traditional Vegetable Conservation and Utilization
Sognigbe N’Danikou, is Scientist - Traditional Vegetable Conservation and Utilization. He has been maintaining and improving the traditional African vegetable germplasm collection and associated documentation at the WorldVeg genebank in Arusha Tanzania. He previously worked for Bioversity International on seed systems development, participatory plant breeding, crop intraspecific diversity management for climate-resilience, and plant domestication to diversify farming systems and improved income and nutrition.
Executive Director of the SDG2 Advocacy Hub
Paul is a strategic innovator and executive leader with twenty five + years of expertise managing complex stakeholder relationships, designing campaign strategies, and extensive knowledge of the not-for-profit sector. He possesses strong business acumen, exceptional advocacy skills, and the ability to build deeply engaging relationships to influence decision makers, improve practices, drive change, and deliver impactful solutions to complex problems alongside communities around the world. A skilled communicator with a narrative that entices people to get on board, Paul starts movements that make global impact and drives change in sustainability and food systems, delivered through consistent and competitive methodologies, strong network development, innovative communications and superior client service and executive presence. Paul Newnham founded the SDG2 Advocacy Hub in 2015, a secretariat convened to connect NGOs, advocacy groups, civil society, private sector, and United Nations agencies around Sustainable Development Goal 2: Zero Hunger. The Hub’s goal is to coordinate global campaigning and advocacy to achieve food systems transformation, and it does so by facilitating multiple projects, including: • The Food Crisis Advocacy and Campaigning Network: bringing together civil society to campaign for policy change and urgent response, together with the #HungryforAction campaign. • The Chefs’ Manifesto: a network of 1100+ chefs from over 90 countries to educate and empower food systems champions, driving progress to achieve the 2030 Agenda. • Good Food For All: a campaign to drive Public Engagement via an engaging social media campaign supporting Good Food For All. • Beans is How: a campaign to double the global consumption of beans (as well as peas, pulses, lentils and legumes) by 2028.
Senior bean researcher at the Institute des Sciences Agronomiques du Burundi (ISABU)
Erick Nduwarugira is a Senior bean researcher at the Institute des Sciences Agronomiques du Burundi (ISABU) where he is coordinating research development projects. Between 2019 and 2020 he was the chairperson of East and Central African Bean Research Network (ECABREN) supporting bean research programs in the region.
Agricultural Economist, CIMMYT, Southern Africa Regional Office, Zimbabwe
Hambulo Ngoma is a Development Economist currently working as an Agricultural Economist at CIMMYT’s Southern Africa Regional Office based in Harare, Zimbabwe. He is formerly a Postdoctoral Associate of the Department of Agricultural, Food and Resources Economics of Michigan State University, and Research Fellow with the Indaba Agricultural Policy Research Institute (IAPRI) in Lusaka, Zambia. Ngoma’s workspaces span impact assessment, natural resource management and climate change. His current research assesses adoption, scaling and impacts of sustainable agricultural intensification practices in Southern Africa. His goal is to influence climate-smart and pro-poor development. He holds a PhD in Economics from the School of Economics and Business, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, a MSc in Applied and Agricultural Economics from the University of Malawi and a BSc in Agricultural Economics from University of Zambia.
Partnerships Manager, West Africa Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture
Ndeye Diop Niang is a specialist in information and communications. She joined the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture in 2023 as Partnership and Communications Manager for Senegal and Mali. Previously she had 21 years' experience in the United Nations system, regional organizations and the private sector, including 12 years with UNFPA Senegal, where she worked as Program Manager for Communications, Partnerships and Resource Mobilization. She also has good experience in supporting the interface between governments and West African chambers of agriculture PRIECA/WA project. These relevant experiences have enabled her to better promote the achievements and position the mandate of the institutions where she has served, to strengthen their visibility, and to mobilize strategic partnerships and internal and external resources. She aims to bring his experience at SFSA and partners to contribute on the achieving of SDGs by supporting Smallholder Farmers, Women and Youth.
Founder and CEO of Best Food Solutions Plus
Eloge Niyomwungere, a dynamic entrepreneur from Burundi, serves as the Founder and CEO of Best Food Solutions Plus. This remarkable social venture addresses the issue of chili post-harvest losses in Burundi by implementing innovative value addition techniques for chilies. Eloge's efforts have earned him prestigious recognition, including the 2022 Gogettaz Impact Award. Notably, he was honored as the recipient of the 2021 Presidential and Innovation Awards in Burundi. His influence and achievements have also positioned him among the top ten personalities who left a significant mark on Burundi in 2022.
Head of Regional Food Trade Unit under the Policy and State Capability Division in AGRA
Daniel Njiwa is the Head of Regional Food Trade Unit under the Policy and State Capability Division in AGRA. The Regional Food Trade Unit is currently spearheading the implementation of the Africa Regional Food Trade and Resilience (RFTR) Programme, a five-year initiative funded by the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID), that seeks to increase regional food trade in Sub Saharan Africa to bolster regional food security and inclusive income growth. Daniel is an accomplished practitioner of inclusive growth and development with more than 17 years’ experience working and collaborating with key Regional Economic Communities such as COMESA, EAC, SADC and donor agencies such as UKAID, EU, World Bank among others. He has also consulted for international agencies including the World Trade Organization (WTO), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and International Water Management Institute (IWMI). He has spearheaded public-private investments and critical policy reforms in regional food trade initiatives affording wide participation of small businesses and farmers in regional agriculture value chains boosting incomes and food security.
Chief Growth Officer (IITA), CGIAR Excellence in Agronomy (EiA 2030) Initiative
Mandla is the DELIVER Work Package Lead and Chief Growth Officer for the CGIAR Excellence in Agronomy Initiative. He is an Agricultural Development Executive with over 23 years sector experience. He has worked within private sector agribusiness companies, as well as in consulting and within NGOs operating in the sector. His work has covered experience in South Africa, Mozambique, Zambia, Malawi, Uganda, Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, the USA, the Netherlands, the UK, and Zimbabwe. He has worked for International NGOs, TechnoServe in various roles including Operations Director for South Africa, Interim Country Director for South Africa, and Zambia, as well as Senior Strategic Advisor for Southern Africa. He joined from his role as Managing Director for Solidaridad’s Southern Africa Regional Expertise Centre, where he oversaw programmatic and strategic work in the SADC region and Egypt. He supported thematic leads in Digital Innovations, Impact Investment, Climate Innovations, and good agricultural practices as part of the Executive Board of Directors. He is passionate about agricultural development and unlocking the power of science and digital to improve and transform rural livelihoods.
Senior Technical Specialist, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN)
Stella Nordhagen is a Senior Technical Specialist with the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), where she oversees research and learning activities related to food systems in ten countries in Africa and Asia. Her areas of research interest include market-based approaches to improving diets and nutrition, nutrition-sensitive agriculture, gender equity, food environments, and food choice. Prior to joining GAIN, she worked with the NGO Helen Keller International in West Africa for several years; her previous experience also includes work with the Harvard Initiative for Global Health, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluations, and the International Center for Research on Women.
Head of operations Qstek Farming limited
Elifadhili is a business and projects developer with over 10 years of experience in edible oil processing. He holds a background in agribusiness and agricultural economics from Sokoine University of Agriculture. Throughout his career, he has been involved in various training programs, including international trade, basic advocacy, and advocacy training. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural economics and agribusiness. His expertise in edible oil processing technology solutions, particularly on sunflower, castor, and soya oil, has led him to become a technical consultant and entrepreneur in the field. Elifadhili currently serves as the Head of Operations at Qstek farming limited, where he successfully manages the brand of Bestchoice refined sunflower oil. As a policy advocate, Elifadhili has actively engaged in governmental forums and technical meetings, advocating for investment support in the sunflower oil sector, particularly regarding taxes, statutory compliance costs, and other relevant matters. As a business developer, he has contributed to the establishment and operation of over 15 edible oil processing start-ups in various African countries, including Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Botswana, and Namibia. His efforts have also guided emerging investors in the edible oil sector, helping them determine their capabilities and readiness for investment and business operations. Additionally, Elifadhili has been instrumental in implementing projects that support smallholder farmers in Tanzania's central corridor. These projects involve the implementation of mobile phone-based agricultural information systems and databases, benefiting thousands of farmers by providing access to crucial information on sunflower farming. Overall, Elifadhili's strengths lie in innovative problem-solving, policy advocacy, entrepreneurship, and his dedication to self-development, which has led to successful outcomes and positive impacts in the edible oil processing sector.
President, Panafrican Farmers Organisation (PAFO) and the Eastern Africa Farmers Federation (EAFF)
Elizabeth Nsimadala is a Ugandan young agriprenuer, the President of the Pan Africa Farmers Organization (PAFO) and the Eastern Africa Farmers Federation (EAFF). She was recently appointed on the Advisory committee for the UN Food Systems Summit 2021, serves on the Global steering committee for Forest Farm Facility (FFF), a Governing Council member for Africa Fertilizer Financing Mechanism (AFFM), and sits on the steering committee of Pan Africa Agribusiness Apex Chamber (PAAAC) and a board member for ACTESA/COMESA. She also serves on a number of National and local farmers’ and cooperative platforms. Elizabeth holds a MSc. In Project Planning and management and a B.A in Social Sciences from Makerere University Kampala - Uganda. She has additional professional and skills experience in Agro processing, cooperative development, administrative law among others. She is a passionate cooperator and farmer who has been at the fore front of championing digitalization of the agriculture sector through the EAFF farmers’ owned E-granary mobile initiative that virtually aggregates farmers for input, services, and output markets. As a result of her efforts and support to Farmers Organizations, she was globally recognized by the World Farmers Organization as one of the women contributing to sustainable development.
Vice President, Policy and State Capability division, AGRA
Apollos Nwafor, PhD is the Vice President, Policy and State Capability division in AGRA. Apollos is a highly skilled and passionate international development professional with vast experience in development and implementation of Pan-African strategies across Africa including leading and managing programmes covering education, extractives, public health, agriculture, water and sanitation, electoral reforms, public finance reforms, capacity strengthening for governments and civil society as well as managing multi-country grants, providing strategic policy support and advice to governments and civil society. With an in depth understanding and passion for agriculture and agricultural development, Apollos has worked with the African Union, implementing agricultural programmes with small holder farmers and sustainable development. He has a firm grasp of the necessity of building relationships at strategic and political levels, forming partnerships with key senior government leaders, commissioners for rural agriculture and technical experts. Additionally, he served as WaterAid’s liaison and Adviser to the President of Liberia as Africa’s Goodwill Ambassador for WASH in Africa. Apollos’ leadership has birthed continental programmes to drive Africa’s food systems. He currently Chairs the advisory council for the Cetre ofr African Leaders in Agriculture (CALA) and also sist on the board of other organizations as part of his wider leadership responsibilities.
Country Director, Farm Africa
Mary Nyale is Country Director with Farm Africa in Tanzania and an expert in project management, particularly focused on agriculture livelihood development programmes. With more than 15 years of experience, she has engaged in rural agricultural livelihoods, and developing sustainable agricultural value chains and community livelihoods. She previously worked as a Field Manager for Fintrac Inc coordinating a USAID-funded project across 12 counties in the Western, Nyanza and North Rift regions of Kenya.
Head of Agriservices Syngenta Foundation for Sustain able Agriculture
Teddy Nyanapah, the Head of Agriservices at Syngenta Foundation East Africa has up to 20 years of practical agricultural and market systems development experience including agribusiness and agri-entrepreneurship development, commercial agricultural supply chain management, rural development and projects management. He has facilitated and managed vast agricultural production initiatives and programs for both private sector and international development organizations in Africa. Teddy has worked with producer organizations, commercial farms, medium and smallholder farmers, industrial crop producers and donor funded programs where he has been responsible for delivery of expected results through management, coordination, monitoring and reporting. Teddy holds a bachelor’s degree in agriculture from the University of Nairobi and a diploma in business management from the Kenya Institute of Management.
Board Vice-Chair & Chair, Nominations and Governance Committee, AGRA
Ms. Hixonia Nyasulu is the Executive Chairman of Ayavuna Women's Investments (Pty) Ltd, a women-controlled investment vehicle founded in 2004 and whose objective is to acquire quality assets for the economic empowerment of women. Hixonia Nyasulu was appointed to the Sasol board in 2006 and named chairman in November 2008, the first woman and black to hold the position in South Africa. She has served on the boards of several South African companies since 1992 including Saficon Motor Holdings, AVI Limited, McCarthy Retail Ltd, Glodina Ltd and Nedbank Ltd, where she became Deputy Chairman. Until recently, she was also on the board of Anglo Platinum. She retired in 2016 after serving for nine years as director of Unilever PLC/NV. She serves on the boards of Barloworld Ltd, Glenrand MIB and Tongaat-Hulett Group Ltd and was recently appointed as Chairperson of the Board of The AECF, a development institution which supports businesses in rural and marginalized communities in Africa. She is also a director and co-owner of Paton Tupper Associates, a Durban-based design agency, as well as a member of the JP Morgan South Africa Advisory Board. She attended the University of Zululand where she obtained a BA in Social Work and an Honours Degree in Psychology. She also holds an Executive Leadership Development Programme Certificate from the Arthur D Little Management Education Institute (Massachusetts) and attended the International Programme for Board Members at the Institute of Management Development (IMD) in Lausanne, Switzerland. Until recently, she was a member of the Banking Enquiry Panel, appointed by the South African Competition Commission to investigate charges in the retail banking sector, access to the National Payment System and competition in the sector. She was rated by the Financial Mail amongst the top three most influential women in business in South Africa.
Simon O’Connell is the CEO of SNV, a mission-driven global development partner working in more than 20 countries across Africa and Asia. With a team of over 1,600 people, SNV strengthens capacities and catalyses partnerships that transform the agri-food, energy, and water systems. With over 25 years’ experience working for social change in a wide array of countries and contexts, and having spent much of his career living and working in fragile and volatile environments, Simon O’Connell is passionate about enabling sustainable and more equitable lives for all.
CEO/Founder of Smiley’z Mobile Kitchen Limited
Ogola Lois Kange is a Christian Mother of 3, who holds an MSc in Architecture, and a Certificate in Entrepreneurial Management, A Mandela Washington Fellow, an EDC Alumni, TEF Alumni, with several awards and over 10 years of leadership and entrepreneurship experience including founding NGO’s, training and empowering women. She was a Lecturer at Kaduna State University for 6 years and is the CEO/Founder of Smiley’z Mobile Kitchen Limited. Smiley’z Mobile Kitchen Limited (Smiley’z) is an Agro-food processing and consumer brand company, focused on realizing the potential of small holder farmers in various agricultural value chains, with a strong focus on tomatoes. Smiley’z tackles post-harvest loss/waste while ensuring food security by providing nutritious and affordable food to the entire populace. The venture is also dedicated to empowering women by supporting women-led farmer cooperatives and groups to improve their farming practices and enabling access to more profitable markets for their products amongst others. Smiley’z contributes to UN’s SDG goals 2, 5, and 8; Zero Hunger, Gender Equality, and decent workplace and economic growth.
CAADP Non-State Actor Group (CNG) and ActionAid International
Ms. Constance Ogadimma Okeke is the International Project Manager for Scaling Up of Public Investment in Agriculture (SUPIA) a Multi-Country Project of ActionAid International. ActionAid has over the years used and combined its existing work, projects, and experiences, in areas related to women, girls living in the rural areas and realization of their rights to support advocacy for their empowerment. Constance is a passionate female development worker with over fifteen years’ experience in development work focusing on Economic Justice, Sustainable Development, Poverty Reduction and Human Rights with a bias to women issues. She is an ardent advocate of issues and Rights of smallholder women farmers. Her Career Objective is to help develop institutional capacities that would support the promotion of sustainable livelihood and development of all persons especially the marginalized and excluded people across Africa, in an equitable and dignified manner.
Regional Director of the West and Central Africa (WCA) Division of IFAD
Bernard Hien is the Regional Director of the West and Central Africa (WCA) Division of IFAD, responsible for managing both the human and financial resources of the division and serving on IFAD’s corporate wide senior management team. He provides strategic vision, leadership, and guidance in policy development and advice, country programme development and management, management of resources and representation. Through an understanding of the countries' needs and IFAD’s potential to address them, Bernard leads the formulation of country strategies and guides the development and management of effective operations and knowledge work from planning, implementation, supervision and evaluation. He develops and maintains high-level partnerships with counterparts, including the government, farmers’ organizations and the private sector. Before joining the Fund in 2011, Bernard worked as Team Leader at the Poverty Reduction and Environment Unit at UNDP Togo where he managed a portfolio of 13 projects and programmes in the areas of integrated rural development, MDGs, water, energy, climate change and disaster risk reduction. Earlier positions included Program Specialist with UNDP and World Bank projects in Burkina Faso, and Research Associate with the National Institute of Agricultural & Environmental Research in Burkina Faso. Bernard holds a rural development engineering degree from the Polytechnic University of Bobo (Burkina Faso), a Master of Sciences in Natural Resources Management from South Dakota State University (USA), which he also served as PhD Research Associate. He is certified in Monitoring and Evaluation (Brighton, UK), in leadership and sustainable development from the University of California (Berkeley, CA, USA) and in management and leadership from Harvard University (Cambridge, MA, USA).
Policy, Advocacy and Regional Coordinator for Africa at HarvestPlus
Liz Ogutu is the Policy, Advocacy and Regional Coordinator for Africa at HarvestPlus. She leads continental partnerships and relationships for policy reform in nutrition programs and provides strategy and fundraising direction. Previously she worked for the Africa Union’s Partnership for Aflatoxin Control in Africa (PACA) as the lead for strategy and operations. She has spent the last 18 years supporting agricultural researchers and development partners in fundraising, policy negotiations, establishing and maintaining strong partnerships, maximising cooperation and promoting program objectives and strategic vision. Before joining the African Union Commission, she worked for the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and the UNICEF Kenya Country Office. Before this she spent many years working in the private sector. She holds a BSc Degree from the Open University (UK), an MBA from the Heriot Watt University (UK) and a certificate in Public Policy Analysis from the London School of Economics (UK).
Founder of Soupah Farm-en-market Limited
Ifeoluwa Olatayo is the founder of Soupah Farm-en-market Limited, an innovative enterprise on the agricultural value chain that digitizes the food supply logistics and responds to an environmental concern by reducing post-harvest waste, increasing farmers’ profit and increasing nutrition at the bottom of the pyramid. Using her business as a tool for social and environmental good, she has consequently trained a cumulative 6000 youths on agribusinesses that matches social impact with economic value. She has been awarded severally, having named a Borlaug- Adesina Fellow, a Top 20 Jack Ma’s Foundation Africa Business Hero, a Top 10 Youth Adaptation Awards Winner, the 2022 AYuTe Challenge Nigeria winner and a National Winner of the MSME Award in Nigeria; recognized by the Presidency amongst other. Ifeoluwa is a Key Stakeholder with the Scaling-Up Nutrition Business Network, The World Hunger Fighters’ Foundation and a Working Group member of YOUNGO (The Youth Constituency to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change). She aspires to impact over 9 million smallholder farmers across Africa in 5 years while also increasing the affordability and accessibility of fresh foods for ‘nutritious’ impact. Her interest is in agricultural value chain and leveraging on business as a tool for a greener planet and a better society.
Founder & CEO Hello Tractor
Jehiel Oliver is the founder and CEO of Hello Tractor, an agricultural technology company that connects tractor owners with smallholder farmers in need of tractor services. At Hello Tractor, Jehiel is responsible for overall management and strategy. He has been honored with numerous awards for his work in social entrepreneurship including being recognized by Foreign Policy Magazine as a Top 100 Global Thinker and a World Economic Forum Circulars inaugural cohort member. He was appointed under the Obama Administration to serve two years as a member of the President’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa, where he most recently chaired the technology subcommittee. Prior to Hello Tractor, Jehiel started his professional career in investment banking then consulting and. He lives with his wife and two daughters in Nairobi, Kenya.
Country Director, Sudan and Djibouti, IFAD
Ms. Omar is currently the IFAD Country Director, Sudan and Djibouti, IFAD. She is an agricultural economist and has been working in the field of agricultural and rural development since 1992. At the start of her career, she worked with agricultural extension workers and social workers to improve their communication and organization skills. Her work on gender mainstreaming paved the way for stronger involvement in the design and supervision of projects and programmes. Prior to joining IFAD, she worked in the Kuwait Institute of Scientific Research as Research Assistant and in the Center for Development Services in Egypt as training and technical assistance manager. She joined IFAD in October 2001, and since then, she has participated in the management of country programmes focusing on natural resources management, community development and rural finance as means to alleviate rural poverty and foster social equity in countries as diverse as Lebanon, Yemen, Tunisia, Sudan, South Sudan, Djibouti, Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo, and India. She holds a Diplôme d'Ingénieur from the Institut National Agronomique de Paris-Grignon and a MSc degree in Rural Environment and Planning from Wye College, London University.
C/O African Forum for Agricultural Advisory Services Secretariat
Max Olupot, is a Ugandan and currently working as Director, Programmes; at African Forum for Agricultural Advisory Services (AFAAS) Secretariat, Kampala. He is also the Eastern Africa Field Schools Hub Coordinator, hosted by AFAAS and support by Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO). He is the current Chair – Tropical Agriculture Platform (TAP), the G8 initiative for capacity development for Agricultural Innovations Systems. He sits in a number of Boards / Steering Committees including Uganda Advisory Board for Farm Radio International; and GFRAS focal person in Africa; with vast experience is establishing Multistakeholder Rural Advisory Services platforms. He has been very instrumental in establishing Country Fora in Africa and shared experienced globally. Renown personality with agility and resilience spiced by diplomacy in leading multicultural teams with results-orientation. Proficient at fostering collaboration and innovation for impact. A professional with passion for Agricultural Extension and Rural Development, with experience in participatory processes and approaches from the initial “farmer first” concepts and Agricultural Innovation Systems. He holds, Masters Degree in Rural Development & BSc Hons Degree in Agriculture from Makerere University, Uganda. First Class Diploma in Agriculture; Post Graduate Diploma in Project Planning and Management, and a Candidate for Masters of Management Studies (Uganda Management Institute). He also holds a number of Certificates, most notably, a certificate in Farmer Managed Advisory Services from Nordic Agricultural Academy, Tietgen International – Denmark, Master Trainer in extension approaches- Farmer Field Schools, monitoring and evaluation, strategy and proposal development under ACP among others.
Head of Strategic Partnerships, Africa, CABI
Phyllis specializes in building collaborative relationships with a range of partners and stakeholders, including government agencies, International Non-Governmental Organizations, local National Government Organizations and Civil Society Organizations, and private sector actors. She has 16 years of experience supporting, managing and leading multi-sectoral development projects across Sub-Saharan Africa, working in environmental protection, civil society, democracy and governance, agriculture, health and youth and women’s leadership.
Aggregator and Mentor
Hellen Akinyi Onyango is a youthful leading cereal grain aggregator in Western Kenya, primarily based in Homa-Bay County but with a reach to parts of Migori and Kisumu Counties which border Homa-bay County. She supports small scale grain producers in the region to apply market led information and technology to grow cereals for definite markets. She is a procurement specialist with a first degree in Procurement. She is passionate about applying her skills and knowledge in supply chain management to assist small scale cereal producers access grain markets with ease and leverage their advantages to obtain fair prices for their grain. Hellen is actively mentoring a youth group, Fair Price Youth group to assist young people obtain gainful employment but at the same time hone their skills in enterprise development and entrepreneurship in order to make meaningful contribution to the Kenyan Economy. Her vision for the food value chain includes interventions in value addition for the varied locally produced semi commercial crops to infuse food security at the basic home level and to create value that will be monetized to benefit the local producers. Her interests in the crop value chain crops are Sorghum, Soy beans, Cassava, Sweet Potato and Maize.
Partner, Nairobi Office, McKinsey & Company
Amandla Ooko-Ombaka is a Partner in the Nairobi Office of McKinsey & Company. She leads the Agriculture Practice, and the McKinsey Global Food Security Initiative. She is a development economist with a public sector heart, a private sector mind and a passion for getting things done. She works with governments to transform their agricultural sectors, and with private sector agricultural input and food companies in the broader food system to better serve their farmers and consumers. As one of the, leaders of the African Agricultural Transformation Initiative (AATI), McKinsey’s partnership with IFAD, the Gates Foundation and AGRA, she supporting several African governments to implement their agricultural and food-systems’ strategies. She serves on several boards including the Harvard Center for African Studies, Regen Organics (FreshLife) and LendHer. She holds a BA from Yale University, an MBA from Harvard Business School, and an MPA-ID from Harvard Kennedy School.
Group Director Food & Agriculture, Equity Group Holdings plc.
Leonard Oruko is an applied economist with over 30 years’ experience in development research and policy analysis. Prior to Equity Bank, he was a Director at IDinsight; a Research Coordinator and Program Director at the International Food Policy Research Institute; long term consultant at AGRA and the Africa Development Bank; and a Research Adviser, the Department for International Development (UK-AID) Uganda. He has a PhD in Agricultural and Food Economics from the University of Reading, UK; MSc. Agricultural Economics from the University of Nairobi, Kenya; and BSc. Agriculture from the University of Nairobi, Kenya.
Board Member, AGRA
Ada is the Forbes Africa Businesswoman of the year 2021. As an award-winning entrepreneur, investor and passionate African development advocate she has a successful track record with 18+ years’ experience in entrepreneurship, investment banking, private equity, development finance, public policy and startup venture-building. She is Managing Partner of Agrolay Ventures, an investment firm that deploys capital to early-stage companies, with a focus on food and agriculture in Africa. She’s also the Founder of Nuli, an innovative farm-to-table beverage brand and restaurant chain that uses fresh, locally grown agriculture produce. Ada serves on the Boards of private equity fund, Factor [e] ventures, the global agriculture non-profit, One Acre Fund and the leading plant-based food distributor in Africa, Infinite Foods. She is a member of the African Development Bank’s (AfDB) Presidential Youth Advisory Group and serves on the Advisory Group of Generation Africa, an initiative to invest in young African agripreneurs co-catalysed by Econet and Yara International. She is the interim Chief Operating Officer of the World Hunger Fighter’s Foundation (WHFF), a non-profit, founded by Dr. Akin Adesina, to invest in young food innovators for a hunger-free world. For three years Ada served as Senior Adviser to Dr. Adesina when he was Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture, launching novel initiatives that attracted millions of investments to Nigeria’s agribusiness sector. Prior to her public service she was VP at Kuramo Capital, a New York-based private equity firm, and was a Senior Investment Officer at the AfDB. She began her career as an Analyst at BNP Paribas investment bank, London. She is a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum and an Archbishop Desmond Tutu Leadership Fellow. Consecutively, from 2016 to 2020, Forbes Africa listed her as one of the Top 100 Africans contributing to economic impact on the Continent. She has also been a recipient of the Entrepreneur of the Year and Achiever in Agriculture Awards in 2015 and was on the Forbes 20 Youngest Power Women in Africa list in 2014. Ada has an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management, MSc in Economics and Finance from University of Warwick, U.K. and BSc in Economics (First Class Honours) from the University of Hull, U.K. She is a frequent speaker at conferences on topics ranging from agribusiness, venture investing and women in business. In July 2020, Ada was the Convocation Speaker for the Kellogg School of Management graduation, becoming the youngest person and the first African to be given the honour and only the fourth black person, one of which was Oprah Winfrey.
Regional Director, USAID Policy LINK Project.
Robert is the Regional Director for the USAID Policy LINK project based in East Africa. He is a multi-skilled development economist, researcher, data analyst and facilitator with more than 16 years’ experience designing and implementing development projects in Africa. Most recently, Robert has been supporting National, Regional, and Continental Actors through agricultural policy processes, including close collaboration with the African Union Commission in the design and implementation of the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Program (CAADP). At Policy LINK, Robert manages collaborative development programs aimed at strengthening inclusive policy systems, building leadership and sustaining adaptive learning.
Founder & Chairman, Export Trading Group
An Agri business leader and philanthropist, Mahesh Patel is credited with building one of the largest and fastest growing agriculture supply chain companies in Sub-Saharan Africa by successfully linking millions of small-holder African farmers to a diverse pool of global buyers. Over the years, Mahesh has built a number of profitable impact ventures combining his passion for uplifting farmers through better opportunities with his stron business acumen. Today, Export Trading Group (ETG) operates in 40 countries with a workforce of over 7,000 people across the globe. In 1997, he established Techno Brain, the first IT training institute of Sub-Saharan Africa, in Dar es Salaam. Techno Brain has since evolved into one of the leading IT companies in Africa that has supported global enterprises and Fortune 100 companies through the provision of technology, consulting, and outsourcing solutions. Today the company operates in 23 countries. They have won many accolades from prestigious organisations such as Google, Microsoft, KPMG, and many others. Techno Brain has trained more than 500,000 Africans in IT skills.
Managing Director of Milele Agro-processing Limited
Gloria Phekani is the Managing Director of Milele Agro-processing Limited based in Lilongwe, Malawi. She has over 25 years of field experience in project management specializing in field crops and has proven track record working in over three continents.
Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer at Cropin
Kunal Prasad is the Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer at Cropin, an Agtech pioneer that has developed Cropin Cloud, the world's first industry cloud for agriculture. He has more than 15 years of experience in sales and business development, project management, product and customer experience. Kunal is passionate about reimagining agriculture, leveraging digitization and AI at scale. He firmly believes in the power of data-driven farming to increase per acre value and improve outcomes for farmers and every other stakeholder in the agriculture ecosystem. At Cropin, Kunal is responsible for planning and driving global operations and rapidly extending the company’s footprint of computed farmlands worldwide. He works extensively with government bodies, development agencies, co-operatives, and farmer groups globally towards this goal. He is also a strong advocate of addressing larger planet scale challenges such as improving farm productivity, climate resilience, sustainability, and food security. Prior to joining Cropin, Kunal was in the sales and marketing team at Tata Motors. He has a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra and an MBA in Marketing from Great Lakes Institute of Management. In his leisure time, Kunal loves travelling and exploring places. He never misses an opportunity to meet new people and experience different cultures worldwide.
WWF Africa’s Food Future Leader
Nancy Rapando is the WWF Leader for Africa's Food Future Initiative! Nancy is a sustainable agriculture specialist with broad experience in Africa in program management, policy analysis, and technical advisory work. She has worked with diverse actors across East, Central and Southern Africa on agriculture value chains, natural resource management, climate change, and food and nutrition security. Nancy holds an M.Sc. in Agronomy from Egerton University (focused on ecological food systems) and now pursuing her Ph.D. in Climate Change and Adaptation from the Institute of Climate Change and Adaptation at the University of Nairobi. Nancy is passionate about nature-positive agriculture that allows farms and communities to become resilient to climate change while reducing negative impacts on biodiversity.
Senior Vice President, Innovation and Impact – Africa & Asia Yara International
Marisa Soares Rebelo has more than 20 years of senior management, organizational development, strategy, digital innovation, and marketing experience in the food and agriculture and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) industries across the Africa and Asia Pacific regions. As Yara’s senior vice president for Innovation and Impact, Marisa oversees a team spanning 22 market economies across Africa, Asia, and Oceania. She is accountable for driving innovation and business transformation in the region, in order to enable Yara’s ambition of a nature-positive food future. Her responsibilities cover a diverse spectrum of activities that focus on sustainability and new business models, regenerative agriculture, public affairs, social impact, and strategic marketing. Marisa joined Yara in November 2017 as marketing director for the company’s Africa business unit. Since 2020 she has been promoted into several more senior roles focused on digital new business de-velopment, including most recently as vice president for Farming Solutions, Africa & Asia. Originally from South Africa, Marisa is based in Singapore. She graduated from the University of Pretoria with a Bachelor of Arts in Design and Visual Communications. She is fluent in English, Afrikaans, and Portuguese.
Director of Policy Outreach, Innovation Commission for Climate Change, Food Security and Agriculture, University of Chicago
Dr. Conrad Rein leads the policy outreach activities of the Innovation Commission for Climate Change, Food Security and Agriculture. Conrad joined from the European Commission where he was in charge of policy and governance issues and coordinated EU development cooperation on Sustainable Agri-Food systems and Fisheries with EU Members States, the G7, G20 and beyond. He was also the Co-Chair of the Global Donor Platform for Rural Development (GDPRD) hosted by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). Conrad has also previously worked for the United Nations, the Hudson Institute, and the Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies, in addition to work in the private sector. Conrad holds a PhD in Government from University College Cork, and both a MA and BA in African Studies from University of Leipzig.
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Senior Program Officer
Alan is an economist and policy professional with more than seventeen years of experience, working in international development. He is a Senior Program Officer at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. He is a principal designer and program officer overseeing agricultural policy initiatives under the World Bank; the UN Food & Agriculture Organization; the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa; the International Food Policy Research Institute and various policy think tanks.
Global Director of Partnerships and Advocacy, CGIAR, and Director General of the Alliance of Bioversity International and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)
Juan Lucas Restrepo is Global Director of Partnerships and Advocacy, CGIAR, and Director General of the Alliance of Bioversity International and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT). He worked in the agricultural domain, both in the public and private sectors, for the past 25 years. He has significant experience in policy, value chains, markets, and leading agricultural research. He has supported the work of CGIAR through the various governance roles he held over the years in the Committee of Genetic Resources Policy, Oversight and Executive Committees, and as the representative of the Colombian Government on the CIAT Board of Directors as an ex-officio member.
Global Bean Program and Director, Pan Africa Bean Research Alliance (PABRA) bean program of the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT
Jean Claude, Global Bean Program and Director, Pan Africa Bean Research Alliance (PABRA) bean program of the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT. In the last 20 years, he has worked as the Seed Systems Specialist leading a multi- country public private partnership initiatives and multi-disciplinary teams developing and deploying sustainable and impact-oriented bean seed systems and complementary management to serve more than 27 million smallholder farmers (58% being women) across several PABRA member countries. Jean Claude has led several seed systems initiatives across other legumes (beyond beans). He is also contributing to the ongoing professional development of about 300 plant breeders collaborating in the Demand Led Breeding (DLB) Community of Practice.
Regional Director Eastern and Southern Africa, World Vegetable Center
Gabriel has more than 30 years’ experience in leadership and management of agriculture and food security programs at country, regional and global levels. Expertise includes cropping systems, impact assessment, policy effectiveness analysis, and agribusiness and value chain development. Prior to joining the World Vegetable Center in 2019 as Regional Director Eastern and Southern Africa, he was FAO Representative and Country Director for Kenya. He has also served in various senior technical capacities at FAO Headquarters in Rome.
Co-founder & Managing Partner of JBQ Africa
Quentin Rukingama is the Managing Partner & Co-Founder of JBQ AFRICA LLP, Project Implementation & Advisory Firm. Quentin has close to 15 years of experience in agribusiness strategy, agri. project implementation, financial advisory & Tech venture building after having worked & taught on Investment, Mergers & Acquisitions, Financing and Food processing corporations in Africa. Passionate about Social Transformation of Africa, through his activities & responsibilities Quentin has been contributing to the Rising Africa by availing more than USD 1 billion worth of investments and financing to African Small and Middle-sized Enterprises (SMEs), corporates & institutions notably in Agribusiness. He notably worked with BUNGE Limited (New York Stock Exchange Listed firm, USD 60 Billion turnover corporate) leading Investment and Strategy for Africa, AFRICAN GUARANTEE FUND, Edmond de ROTHSCHILD Private Banking Group and GRANT THORNTON among others. Under JBQ AFRICA LLP, he has been serving the following clients: Government/multi-lateral initiatives (UK, Germany, Norway, WORLD BANK GROUP – IFC, Trade Development Bank - TDB) and Development Partners (GATES Foundation, the World Economic Forum - WEF, AGRA, among others), Agri./ Agritech Corporates & SMEs (Seaboard Group, Safaricom, Golden Agri. Resources, etc.). He is also the Vice President for Africa of a Pan-African Think Tank – Club Diallo Telli – dedicated to tackle developmental issues through thought-provoking recommendations to all spheres of the society.
Board Director, The Global Food Banking Network
Wanjiru wakes up everyday thinking about how to find and support the leaders needed to solve society's hardest problems. She is passionate about unleashing the potential of human capital for social transformation especially for Africa and its Diaspora. An Executive in Residence at Schmidt Futures, she is currently building a global program focused on Black Women in Executive Leadership (B-WEL). Her service commitments are at the intersection of gender equality, climate change, food systems and scientific research. She is a Member of the Africa Food Prize Committee, the Malabo-Montpellier Panel, sits on the boards of the Global FoodBanking Network, the Syngenta Foundation, Landesa, and is an advisor to the Co-Impact Gender Fund and the African Climate Foundation among others. Previously she was Director of African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) and she is also the Founder and past Executive Director of Akili Dada,a leadership incubator for African girls and young women. She was also Assistant Professor of Politics at the University of San Francisco. Dr. Kamau-Rutenberg has won numerous awards for her work including being named among 100 Most Reputable Africans, 100 Most Influential Africans, A Ford Foundation Champion of Democracy, and a White House Champion of Change by the Obama administration.
Deputy-Director of the Agrifood Economics Division at FAO
Dr. Marco V. Sánchez is the Deputy-Director of the Agrifood Economics Division at FAO, where he co-directs the flagship reports The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World (SOFI) and The State of Food and Agriculture (SOFA) and oversees the Monitoring and Analysing Food and Agriculture Policies Programme (MAFAP). Previously, he was Senior Economist at the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (2006 –2017) and Economist at the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (2004-2006). He has been consultant to UNDP, IFPRI and IADB (2000-2004), and lectured and supported research at the International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University in the Netherlands (2000-2004), National University of Costa Rica (1995-1999), and Tilburg University in The Netherlands (1995-1996). He has published extensively and his most recent articles feature in World Development, Journal of Environment and Development, Food Policy and Journal of Applied Economics.
Head of Global Stakeholder Affairs and Strategic Partnerships, Bayer
Natasha Santos is an accomplished senior public affairs executive with over 18 years’ experience in the agriculture, food and life science industries. During this time, she has built extensive experience and a reputation as a leader in advocacy campaigns, strategic policy foresight, and global partnerships. Throughout her executive career, Mrs. Santos has successfully founded and grown engagement programs with external partners, across multiple industries and sectors. Today, as Bayer’s Head of Global Stakeholder Affairs and Strategic Partnerships, Mrs. Santos applies her partnership approach to agricultural transformation: meeting ever-higher standards in the sustainability, regeneration, productivity, efficiency, and equality of our agricultural systems, and contributing to Paris Agreement climate goals. Taking an ever-greater scope and ambition, Natasha and her team design partnerships with multinational companies, governments, NGOs and research, all based around the needs of the world’s farmers and the communities and ecosystems they support. Natasha Santos holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from UniFMU/Brazil, a post- graduate degree in International Negotiations from UNESP/Brazil, and a Master’s in Public Policy and Management from Paulista School of Law (EPD)/Brazil. She is vice chair of the Business at OECD Food and Agriculture Committee, and advisory board member of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and the Chicago Council Center on Global Food and Agriculture.
Head Inclusive Finance, AGRA (Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa)
Hedwig Siewertsen is responsible for designing and implementing AGRA’s Inclusive Finance strategy. Financial services are key in transforming agriculture from a solitary struggle to survive into a business that thrives. AGRA invests in innovations that reduce the cost and risk of agricultural finance. We design and develop blended finance instruments, value chain finance and digital finance products, to make financial services systems work for agricultural SMEs and smallholder farmers that are active in food crops in 11 African countries. Prior to coming to AGRA, Hedwig served 4 years as CEO of a USD 100 million single family office impact fund, DOB equity, which invests in SMEs in the East Africa. Prior to that she was 12 years Deputy Director and senior consultant in Triodos Facet (now Palladium), a consulting firm specialised in entrepreneurship development and financial services delivery to MSMEs in emerging markets. In that capacity she has worked across 25 African countries to design, monitor, support and evaluate enterprise support programs with a focus on financial services delivery. She started her career as an associate expert for the UN in Madagascar and Tanzania. She has a B.Sc. in Tropical Agriculture and a Masters’ degree in Econometrics.
IFAD Advocate for Rural Youth
Sherrie Silver is an actress, dancer, choreographer and activist known for her work in Childish Gambino’s music video This Is America, for which she won the Best Choreography category at the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards. Sherrie Silver was appointed as IFAD Advocate for Rural Youth in February 2019. In her role as Advocate for Rural Youth, Silver uses her global platform to meet and connect with youth around the world and to campaign for the importance of reaching young people through investing in agriculture and rural communities. Born in Rwanda and educated in the United Kingdom, Silver is passionate about helping young people thrive, educating the world about African cultures through dance, and giving back to African countries through her philanthropy. She has been described by Forbes as "a new creative visionary" and by Bill Gates as one of the leading young innovators changing the African continent’s present and future. Silver has always made philanthropy a key part of her work. She holds dance workshops for African children and has founded homes for at-risk youth in Lagos and Kigali.
Policy and Impact Innovator, Clim-Eat
As Policy and Impact Innovator, Wiebe aims to accelerate climate action through meaningful partnerships with individuals and organizations that want to bring positive change to the world’s food system. He leads Clim-Eat’s efforts towards key global platforms such as the UN’s Climate COP and spearheads a groundbreaking climate action project in Kenya. Previously, Wiebe worked as Program Management Officer for the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) with experiences in programme development and management, policy engagement, and administration. He studied the Master International Development at Wageningen University & Research, with a specialization in Sociology of Development and Change, and is passionate about climate change and development challenges in Africa. He chaired the first ever UNFCCC COP Food System Pavilion and has served as Co-Convener of the Enabling Environment Action Group of The Global Alliance for Climate-Smart Agriculture (GACSA). He also worked for the NWO (Dutch Research Council)’s WOTRO Science for Global Development department.
Shamba Shape-Up Series Producer, Zambia and Uganda
Georgina Smith is a series producer for the Mediae company, which makes the popular reality TV show Munda Make-Over, or "farm make-over," in Zambia. The make-over show was launched in Zambia following the success of its sister production, Shamba Shape Up in Kenya. The shows have reached millions of farmers, supporting them in adapting to climate change, increasing their incomes and improving their livelihoods. The first series of Munda Make-Over was launched in Zambia in October 2022.
Director, Sustainable Agrifood Systems Program, CIMMYT
Professor Sieg Snapp is the Director of Sustainable AgriFood Systems Program at CIMMYT, where she leads over a hundred scientists in multidisciplinary discovery to improve food security. Her pioneering participatory research has improved knowledge of soil health, crop diversity and agroecology, to inform extension and policy makers in Africa and beyond. She is the “mother” of the mother and baby trial design, used by researchers to engage farmers in co-learning on sustainable agriculture. Innovations include doubled up legumes, integrated organic and inorganic management and functional understanding of cover crops. She has mentored many, published 190 articles and three books, and been awarded International Service Awards in Soil Science Society of America and in Agronomy, she is a Fellow in Agronomy and SSSA, Beal Outstanding Professor and two Fulbrights. At CIMMYT her interdisciplinary teams of scientists are building a portfolio of programs with public, private and civil society partners, working with millions of farmers in Latin America, Africa and South Asia.
Country Director in the East and Southern Africa Division, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)
Boleslaw Stawicki is a Country Director in the East and Southern Africa Division at the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). He is currently responsible for Tanzania. His responsibilities include managing the development of strategies to reduce extreme rural poverty, overseeing implementation of IFAD-financed investments; forging strategic partnerships; promoting constructive poverty reduction policy dialogue and being a conduit and catalyst of knowledge management and innovations. Previously, Boleslaw served as Program Manager at the Nordic Development Fund in Helsinki. His previous engagements include serving on the Board of the African Guarantee Fund as Alternate Director, Programme Manager at AGRA as well as Advisor at the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida). Bolek started his career as a management consultant. He holds an MBA degree from INSEAD.
Manager in the Washington, DC, McKinsey & Company
Stephanie Stefanski is a Manager in the Washington, DC, office of McKinsey & Company. She leads many of the firm's initiatives in natural capital, nature conservation, and food security—with a core focus on engaging the public, private, and social sectors to protect 30% of the Earth's surface by 2030—and she is passionate about achieving a more sustainable and equitable future. She has worked across the United States, Latin America, and Sub-Saharan Africa to develop and implement sustainable financing mechanisms for conservation; designing national level strategies for sustainable agriculture and reforestation; and ensuring food security at the local and national scale. She brings 10+ years of on-the-ground collaboration with national ministries, agricultural producers, nature-based tourism operators, development banks, and environmental NGOs across North and South America, with whom she has worked to evaluate the socioeconomic and ecological outcomes of environmental policies and to design sustainable approaches to tourism, fisheries management, and forestry. She holds an MSc from Yale University, and PhD from Duke University.
Research Platform Manager – Microbials, Natural Plant Protection (NPP)
Dr. Bridgitta Steyn is a dedicated scientist and advocate for the vital role of microorganisms in enhancing plant and soil health. With a distinguished academic background, she earned her PhD from the University of Pretoria in 2005, specializing in Microbiology, Plant Biotechnology, and Botany. Her professional journey began in 2003, where she embarked on an 8-year tenure with a prominent company specializing in the production of rhizobium inoculants and bio-stimulants derived from bacterial and fungal sources. Her expertise in this domain continued to evolve, leading her to consult for various companies focused on the production of biological agents—particularly living bacteria and fungi engineered for agricultural applications. During this phase, Dr. Steyn played a pivotal role in optimizing production processes and ensuring the quality of final products. A testament to her leadership, Dr. Steyn managed multiple bio-solution plants, starting with Verios Agro from 2014 to 2017. Following its acquisition by Arysta LifeScience, she continued her impactful work until 2019 when UPL acquired Arysta LifeScience, further expanding her influence within the field. In 2023, Dr. Steyn embraced a new role as the Research Platform Manager for Microbials at NPP, cementing her commitment to the advancement of microbials in agriculture. Her passion for bacteria and fungi, and their transformative effects on plant and soil health, drives her advocacy for harnessing the power of microorganisms to unlock sustainable agricultural solutions. Dr. Bridgitta Steyn's career journey exemplifies her dedication to advancing the understanding and application of microbials. With a rich history of research, leadership, and consultancy, she remains a driving force in the field, underscoring the pivotal role microorganisms play in shaping the future of agriculture.
CEO, The Southern African Confederation of Agricultural Unions (SACAU)
A Zimbabwean national, he holds a BSc (Economics) degree and has post-graduate qualifications, including in MSc (Strategic Management). He has more than 30 years’ wide-ranging experience in agriculture and rural development, including in policy research and advocacy, as well as development management. Apart from southern Africa where he is based, he has also worked in the UK and undertaken assignments in other parts of Africa and Asia. Since joining SACAU in 2005, he has positioned the organisation as the main voice for farmers of southern Africa on matters of common and strategic interest at regional and global levels. The brand is associated with good corporate governance, professionalism, thought leadership and high standards of development management. He has spearheaded the organisation’s work in several key areas, including digital solutions; climate change management; the development of a new generation of farmers and of farmers’ organisations; systems management and multi-stakeholder approaches, and value-chain cooperation. He has served or is currently serving in various capacities on several continental and global institutions and initiatives, such as the United Nations Food Systems Summit (UNFSS), the World Economic Forum (WEF), African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF), Malabo Montpellier Panel of Experts (MAMO), Food and Land Use Coalition (FOLU), CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), Generation Africa; the Commission on Sustainable Agriculture Intensification and USAID’s Bureau for International Food and Agricultural Development (BIFAD)-subcommittee on Climate Change. In addition, he has also contributed articles on various topics including digital solutions and climate change management in development publications, such as the Foreign Affairs Journal. His ambition is to establish a strong farmer-centric policy think-tank and innovation centre that correctly projects the pain points of farmers and their perspectives, proactively contributes to addressing systemic agricultural development matters, covering such issues as transformation, equity, fairness, transparency, inclusion and voice.
CEO and founder of AKM Glitters
Elizabeth Swai is the CEO and founder of AKM Glitters, a modern poultry brand production company based in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Under Elizabeth's leadership, the company produces approximately 300,000 day-old chicks every week, and also operates an animal feed manufacturing plant with a capacity to produce 220 metric tons of feed per day. Elizabeth is also a founder of Voice of Agriculture Online Tv founded to disseminate information on Agriculture Transformation and Food systems. Elizabeth is a passionate and dedicated leader, with a strong vision for the inclusive development and transformation of the poultry sector in Tanzania. She is committed to using the latest technology and techniques to improve efficiency and productivity, and is always looking for ways to innovate and grow her business. In addition to her work at AKM Glitters, Elizabeth is also a strong advocate for education and empowerment. She is dedicated to creating opportunities for her employees and supporting their professional growth, and is committed to making a positive impact on her community and the wider industry. With a team of over 70 professionals in Dar es Salaam and across Tanzania, Elizabeth is a respected leader and a driving force in the poultry sector. She is committed to delivering the highest quality products and services to her customers, and is dedicated to building a successful and sustainable business.
Director for Nutrition, Health and Food Security Impact Area Platform, CGIAR
Shakuntala Haraksingh Thilsted is the Director for Nutrition, Health and Food Security Impact Area Platform, CGIAR. She was awarded the 2021 World Food Prize for her ground-breaking research, critical insights, and landmark innovations in developing holistic, nutrition-sensitive approaches to aquatic food systems. She was awarded the 2021 Arrell Global Food Innovation Award for research innovation. She is a member of the Steering Committee of the High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE) of the United Nations Committee on World Food Security (CFS), and Chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) of the UN Food Systems Coordination Hub. She was Vice Chair of the UN Food Systems Summit 2021: Action Track 4 - Advance Equitable Livelihoods, and also a Food Systems Champion. In 2022, Shakuntala was appointed co-chair of the EAT-Lancet 2.0 Commission. Shakuntala holds a PhD from the Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University, Denmark. She holds Honorary Doctorates from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and The University of the West Indies.
Head of Data and Analytics at AGRA
Dr. Paul Thangata is the Head of Data and Analytics at AGRA where he leads a team responsible for data analytics to provide insights for evidence generation across AGRA’s BLs and in target countries. The Data and Analytics team supports the drive for data-informed decision-making by leveraging a range of statistical and analytical tools to transform the use of data for improved delivery that strengthens impact of interventions at the country level. The team works with government and other stakeholders to define analytics needs to deliver actionable data driven recommendations.
Executive Editor, Global Agricultural Productivity Report, Virginia Tech
Tom Thompson is Associate Dean in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) at Virginia Tech, Director of CALS Global, and Professor of Agronomy. Thompson earned BS, MS, and PhD degrees in agronomy and soil science and has served as a professor and administrator at three U.S. universities. Thompson has published more than 65 refereed journal articles and garnered more than $98 million in extramural competitive funding and philanthropic support, including an $80M award from the United States Department of Agriculture to create the “Alliance to Advance Climate-Smart Agriculture”. Thompson is also Executive Editor of the Global Agricultural Productivity Report (GAP Report). The annual GAP Report is a global thought leader in agricultural productivity growth and engages audiences around the world.
Chief Economist, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
Dr. Máximo Torero Cullen is the Chief Economist of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). He joined the Organization in January 2019 as Assistant Director-General for the Economic and Social Development Department. Prior to joining FAO, he was the World Bank Group Executive Director for Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay since November 2016. Before World Bank, Dr. Torero led the Division of the Markets, Trade, and Institutions at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). His experience encompasses Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Asia. Dr. Torero, a national of Peru, holds a Ph.D. and a master’s degree in Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and a bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of the Pacific, Lima, Peru. He is a professor on leave at the University of the Pacific (Perú) and an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow at University of Bonn, Germany, and has also published in top journals such as QJE, Econometric Theory, AER-Applied Microeconomics, RSTAT, Labor Economics and many other top journals. In 2000, Dr. Torero received the Georg Foster Research Fellowship of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, won the Award for Outstanding Research on Development given by The Global Development Network, twice, in 2000 and in 2002, and received the Chevalier de l'Ordre du Mérite Agricole in 2014.
CEO, Plateforme Régionale des Organisations Paysannes d'Afrique Centrale (PROPAC)
My name is DREM-TAING TOUTKOUL, and I have been the CEO of the Plateforme Régionale des Organisations Paysannes d'Afrique Centrale (PROPAC) since January 2023. In this position, my role is to promote and defend PROPAC's vision of family farming; develop PROPAC's operational strategy; coordinate the implementation of PROPAC's interventions; represent PROPAC and manage relations with partners including governments, intergovernmental organizations, donors, etc. I have been working for PROPAC since 2014. Before taking up the position of CEO, I was Program Manager for 6 years. In this position I supported the structuring of organizations into cooperatives so that they could improve the economic services offered to their members thus enabling members to improve the quality and quantity of their production and thus improve their incomes and living conditions. I hold a Master's degree in development and project management, and have skills in project and organization management, strategic planning, agricultural public policy and the management of farmers' organizations.
Regional CEO of Allianz Africa
Delphine Traoré has been Regional CEO of Allianz Africa since November 1, 2021, while retaining her previous positions as Member of the Board of Directors and Chief Operating Officer, which she has held since February 2017. First African woman to hold the highest regional position within the Allianz group, she is the only black woman on the Executive Committee (Comex) of the Allianz group. Native of Burkina Faso, Delphine is from Orodara, a small village west of Bobo-Dioulasso, the economic capital and second largest city in the country. At the end of her university studies and after a first professional experience, she joined the Allianz Group in 2005, within the Canadian subsidiary of Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS). From 2012 to 2017, she was CEO of AGCS Africa in South Africa. To date, she still holds the position of Non-Executive Member on the Executive Committee at AGCS South Africa. Holder of a Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) from the American Institute for Chartered Property Casualty Underwriters, Delphine served consecutively as Vice-President and then President of the African Insurance Organization (AIO) from May 2018 to September 2021, prior to which she was the President of the Insurance Institute of South Africa (2015-2017). She is a member of the Board of Directors of Africa Reinsurance Corporation (Africa Re). She also sits on the Boards of African Risk Capacity Ltd (ARC) and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), which aim to increase the prosperity of African farmers through financial inclusion. She recently joined the Board of Ivanhoe Mines as a Non-executive Director. Ivanhoe Mines is a leading Canadian mining company committed to becoming a global leader in the supply of critical resources required to transition our world to a low-carbon, renewable future. Delphine's commitment and merits on the continent have been recognized by many renowned organizations, including the media, various professional groups and civil society, through prizes, nominations, awards...
Rikolto Program Coordinator, Tanzania
Shukuru Tweve is an experienced development professional with 14 years in agribusiness development, community development and civil society program management. Shukuru holds a BA in Community Development and Master of Business Administration. Shukuru’s current work focuses on market system development to enable smallholder farmers and agribusinesses to thrive. He also has significant experience in implementing youth-led programs. Shukuru has worked for a number of international organizations including Technoserve, Aga Khan Foundation, MEDA and the Presidential Trust Fund (Tanzania Government). He is currently working for Rikolto coordinating the EU Funded Horticulture program and is the Tanzania Country Coordinator for coffee and cocoa programs.
Senior Research Fellow, Development Strategies and Governance Unit, IFPRI
John Ulimwengu is a Senior Research Fellow in IFPRI’s Development Strategies and Governance Unit. He is currently working on food systems mapping in selected African countries. His research interests include poverty dynamics, agricultural productivity, and rural development. Since 2007, John has been involved in strategic research on the transformation of food systems in Africa under the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP) agenda, and has served as the Africa-wide coordinator of the Regional Strategic Analysis and Knowledge Support System (ReSAKSS). He has co-developed an interactive spatial typology tool for food and nutrition security being used in several countries.). He holds a PhD in Agricultural Economics and master’s degree in Economics from Ohio State University, as well as a master’s in Development Economics from Williams College, Massachusetts.
Senior Advisor for Climate Change, Bureau for the Resilience and Food Security (RFS), USAID
Ann Vaughan joined the Biden-Harris Administration in February, 2021 and works in USAID's Bureau for the Resilience and Food Security (RFS) as a Senior Advisor for Climate Change. The Bureau for Resilience and Food Security works with a host of partners to advance inclusive agriculture-led growth, resilience, nutrition, and water security, sanitation and hygiene in priority countries to help them accelerate and protect development progress, including against the impacts of climate change. Ann co-leads the implementation of the President’s Emergency Plan for Adaptation and Resilience (PREPARE) and works across RFS to integrate climate considerations across food, water and nutrition programming. Prior to joining USAID, Ann worked at Mercy Corps, served as a field officer for USAID in Kandahar, Afghanistan, as a Congressional staffer working on foreign aid appropriations and as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Nicaragua. She has her Masters in International Development Studies from George Washington University and Undergraduate degree from the College of William and Mary.
Chair, Programs Committee, AGRA
Prof. Joachim von Braun is an agricultural economist from Germany. He is Director of the Center for Development Research (ZEF), Bonn University, and Professor for economic and technological change. von Braun’s main research areas are in economic development, poverty reduction, agriculture, food and nutrition security, science and technology policy. He is President of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences in the Vatican, member of the Board of AGRA; He is co-chair of the Malabo-Montpellier Panel on Food and Agriculture Policy in Africa, Fellow of the African Academy of Sciences; chair of the Bioeconomy Council of the Federal German Government; Vice-President of the NGO “Welthungerhilfe” (WHH). He was Director General of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) based in Washington, DC, U.S.A. from 2002 to 2009.
Partner, Brussels Office, McKinsey & Company
Maurits Waardenburg is a Partner in the Brussels Office of McKinsey & Company. He is a leader in the Sustainability practice, with experience spanning sustainability topics in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. His core area of expertise is sustainable energy, particularly hydrogen. He manages McKinsey’s Hydrogen Service line as well as our partnership with the Hydrogen Council and serves clients along the value chain – from large scale production, to green fuel and chemical production. As one of the, leaders of the African Agricultural Transformation Initiative (AATI), he works on agricultural development topics in Africa. AATI is McKinsey’s partnership with IFAD, the Gates Foundation and AGRA to support countries to implement their agricultural and food-systems’ strategies. He holds a BSc from Erasmus University Rotterdam, a MPA from the Harvard Kennedy School, and is currently working on his PhD.
Head of Advisory Services Africa, Root Capitol
Charles Wainaina is Head of Advisory Services Africa for Root Capital, an organization to works to provide credit and build the capacity of agri-businesses around the globe. With a background in agricultural finance and rural development, Charles steers Root Capital’s strategic and programmatic work and supports the development of full-service offerings that help rural agri-businesses grow. He holds a PhD in Agribusiness Management and an MBA in Finance.
Adviser, United Kingdom Government’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO)
Dr Dave Watson is Adviser working for the UK Government’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), seconded to the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) based in Nairobi. Previously, Dr Watson spent: 6 years as Leader of the global MAIZE Consortium Research Programme (CRP) of the CGIAR – based in CIMMYT-Mexico; 4 years as Director for Project Development and Management at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA -Nigeria); 4 years as Manager of the Innovative Partnership Programme at the International Livestock Research Institute – (ILRI-Kenya), and 8 years as Senior Lecturer in Sustainable Agriculture and the Environment – University of Hull – UK. Dr Watson holds a PhD in human geography – thesis “GATT and CAP reform: The redress of European agrarian development” and holds an MSc in Environmental Policy and Management – majoring in Rural Policy and Management – from The University of Hull, UK.
Founder and CEO, Rockland Farms Limited
Edith Akosah Wheatland, Founder and CEO of a successful integrated poultry company in Ghana, is well known for her support of women, her advocacy for youth empowerment, as well as people living with disabilities, and her commitment to taking concrete steps through her livelihood programs to ensure that rural children have access to good nutrition in school. Her enterprise consists of a poultry farm with 100,000 chickens, a processing facility and commercial feed milling companies. The newest product line from Rockland Farms, Akoko Tasty, is currently Ghana's most popular packaged, locally produced, pre-cut chicken. Edith travelled from Ghana, where she was born and reared, to the United Kingdom, where she worked for a while before coming to the United States to help her uncle, whose company was based in Rockland County, New York, which is where her company's name came from. In 2013, she went back to Ghana to start her ambition of raising chicken. Today, she mobilizes more than 200,000 output capacity with the help of her out-growers. In keeping women and youth at the center of her business, Edith supports over 6,000 smallholder farmers, with over 90% of them being women and youth. These farmers receive inputs, technical support, equipment and seed money to mobilize savings and lending among themselves in order to sustainably and profitably cultivate maize, as well as improve their livelihoods. She is co-awardee of the Feed the Future Accelerating Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) Prize for promising business ventures in 2018.
Chief Executive Officer of Agventure
Don White is the Chief Executive Officer of Agventure, a diversified, farmer-owned value-addition company in Kenya which helps farmers transition into more sustainable farming practices. Agventure offers solutions and value chain linkages across broad-acre non irrigated crops including maize, wheat, barley, canola, sunflower, linseed, peas and beans and is focused on expanding these solutions through our Centre of Excellence for crop rotation, to small and medium scale farmers. Agventure shareholder farms have practiced Conservation Agriculture since 2010 and have improved resilience, yield and water use efficiency while reducing inputs usage.
Global Research Lead for Soil and Land Health at CIFOR-ICRAF
Dr. Leigh Ann Winowiecki is the Global Research Lead for Soil and Land Health at CIFOR-ICRAF, based in Nairobi, Kenya. A soil scientist, her research focuses on scaling farmer-centered landscape restoration, understanding drivers of degradation and quantifying the impacts of land management on soil organic carbon. Since 2009 she has co-developed and implemented the Land Degradation Surveillance Framework (LDSF) in over 40 countries across the tropics. The framework is a systematic methodology to assess ecosystem health and track restoration efforts across landscapes. She has published widely on soil organic carbon, ecosystem services and land degradation across sub-Saharan Africa and the tropics, including a coherent set of open access datasets. She co-leads the Coalition of Action 4 Soil Health (CA4SH), which aims to catalyze investments in soil health for human well-being and climate. She is on the Scientific Task Force and the Monitoring Task Force for the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration as well as the Scientific Steering Committee for the Global Soil Health Programme. She co-leads the Landscape Restoration Transformative Partnership Platform. She is also a founding Board Member of the International Union of Agroforestry (IUAF).
Director General, World Vegetable Center
Marco joined the World Vegetable Center as Director General in April 2016. He has global expertise in agricultural science and management, and previously served as Deputy Director General and Director of Research for Development of the Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice) in Benin, and as Director of the Annual Crops Department of the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD) in France. He also worked in different capacities for the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC) in Togo, the West Africa Rice Development Association (WARDA, now AfricaRice) in Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire and for the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines.
Director of Knowledge Systems, AKADEMIYA2063
Augustin Wambo Yamdjeu is the Director of Knowledge Systems at AKADEMIYA2063. He is an international Agricultural Economist and rural development specialist with over 22 years of experience. Until December 2021, and prior to joining A2063 in his current capacity, Augustin spent 08 years at the AUDA-NEPAD working on various aspects of state capabilities development, strategic policy reforms, facilitation of private sector engagement in the food systems, program design and implementation in the context of translating the political visioning of agriculture transformation encapsulated in the Malabo Declaration, into a set of tangible actions. As such, he has made extensive contributions into knowledge management, monitoring and evaluation, multi-stakeholder engagement platform facilitation, and tailored coaching across different governance levels of the CAADP process. Before joining the AUDA-NEPAD in September 2013 for the second time, Augustin had served at the Global Donor Platform for Rural Development as their Task Leader (Advisor) on CAADP and ARD in Africa. This tenure was an eye opener that made him familiar with the political economy, the aid/development effectiveness agenda and discourse. As a versatile thinker, who pays attention to details, he has increasingly gained interest in the nexus between climate change and the transition towards our changing food systems as the continent seeks to ensure resilience and sustainability. Always keen on making valuable contributions in both scholar debate and practical field endeavors to problem solving in Africa, Augustin holds a Ph.D. (with distinctions) in Agricultural Economics from the University of Paris-Sud 11, an M.Sc. in Agricultural Economics from the National Advanced School of Agronomy (ENSA) of Montpellier, France, and an M.Sc. in Agric Engineering from the University of Dschang, Cameroon. Augustin demonstrates fluency in professional French and English.
Christopher is Warc’s CEO. He founded Warc's operations in Ghana as Managing Director, before taking on his current role. He is an energetic entrepreneur and business manager, passionate about creating opportunity. Originally from Myanmar, and raised in Australia, he's visited over 60 countries and lived and worked in 12 over his 14-year career. He holds a bachelor’s in commerce (Liberal Studies) from the University of Sydney. He is a Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship Alumnus, and former financial risk manager from a top-tier accounting and consulting firm.