Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries
Frank Kagyigyi Tumwebaze is the current Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries a position he assumed on 21st June 2021. Prior to that, he served as Minister of Gender, Labour and Social Development from December 2019 to June 2021, Minister of ICT and National Guidance from June 2016 to December 2019 and Minister for the Presidency and Kampala Capital City between 2012 and 2016. He has been the Member of Parliament representing Kibale County and currently Kibale East in Kamwenge district since 2006 on the National Resistance Movement political party ticket.
He holds a Bachelor of Science in education specialising in Math and Physics from Mbarara University of Science and Technology, a Masters in International Relations and Diplomatic Studies, a Masters in Public Health from Makerere University and a Masters of Business Administration of ESAMI (pending graduation). Prior to joining elective politics, he among others worked with Uganda Revenue Authority as a Customs Officer and Office of the President as Special Presidential Assistant on Research and Information.
He is passionate about Governance, Agriculture, ICTs for development, Innovation and communication. He is a frequent author on topical issues in the traditional and wider media platforms.
He hails from Kamwenge district in the Rwenzori region, Western Uganda.
Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources, Rwanda
Dr. Gerardine MUKESHIMANA is the Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources of the Republic of Rwanda. She oversees all agricultural and livestock related activities in the Country, charged with new policy formulation. Dr. Mukeshimana also supervises the implementation of existing policies and works with other ministries and development partners on issues that affect the agricultural sector especially land use and land management, trade, commerce, infrastructure, gender and youth employment.
Prior to that, Dr. Gerardine Mukeshimana worked at the International Livestock Institute, Ministry of Agriculture, and the National University of Rwanda.
She holds a PhD and a Master’s degree in plant breeding, genetics, and biotechnology from the Michigan State University.
Lobin Clarkie Lowe
Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Malawi
Hon. Lobin Clarkie Lowe is currently serving as the Minister of Agriculture and Food Security in Malawi. He is also has been a Member of Parliament in the Malawi National Assembly since 2009.
Hon. Lobin Lowe previously worked with the Ministry of Agriculture as an Extension Officer and InterAid Organization. After leaving InterAid, Lobin Lowe ventured into commercial farming, where he founded and has been the Managing Director of GreenWorld Farms, which specializes in the production of mangoes and bananas.
He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Horticulture from Bunda College of Agriculture.
Reuben Mtolo Phiri
MP, Minister of Agriculture Zambia
Honourable Reuben Mtolo Phiri, MP is a member of Parliament for Chipata Central Constituency of Eastern Province. He is a member of parliament under the ruling United Party for National Development (UPND). He was first elected as a member of parliament in 2011 under the Movement for Multiparty. Democracy (MMD)He is an economist by profession with massive experience in the agriculture sector. Before joining politics, he worked in various agricultural organizations which include the Food Reserve Agency(FRA) and the Eastern Province Cooperative Union (ECU), among others. He is also engaged in farming. He is a dedicated and target oriented person who loves his work. He likes athletics, badminton, soccer, table tennis and travelling during recreation times.
Vice President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development, AfDB
Dr. Beth Dunford is African Development Bank’s Vice President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development. She is responsible for the Bank’s strategy, lending and other activities in agriculture, water and sanitation, education, and health, as well as Bank-wide work on employment and gender equity. Dr. Dunford leads technical expertise for the Bank’s multi-billion-dollar response to the Covid-19 pandemic in Africa.
Dr. Dunford, a national of the United States, has held senior level leadership positions in the U.S. government where she managed large programs working with the private sector, civil society and multilateral institutions. Dr. Dunford has also worked with African governments to deliver agricultural, social and human development impact at scale.
Dr. Dunford has worked as Assistant to the Administrator in USAID’s Bureau for Resilience and Food Security, and as Deputy Coordinator for Development for “Feed the Future,” the U.S. government’s global hunger and food security initiative.
Josefa Leonel Correia Sacko
Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy and Sustainable Development, African Union
H.E. Ambassador Josefa Leonel Correia Sacko, an Angolan national, is a leading African agronomist and Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy and Sustainable Development at the African Union Commission. Prior to her re-election in February 2021, she was Special adviser to the Angolan Minister of Environment responsible for Climate Change and Advisor to the Minister of Agriculture in charge of food security and poverty reduction. Ambassador Sacko is also the former Secretary General of the Inter- African Coffee Organization (IACO), Abidjan Cote D’Ivoire where she spent 13 years.
In recognition of her meritorious service, Ambassador Sacko has received numerous awards and recognition, including: member of the United Nation’s Champions 12.3 and the Scale Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement Lead Group. she was named one of the 100 most influential people in climate policy in March 2019; and awarded the Prix De La Foundation 2019 by Crans, Montana, Brussels Belgium for her efforts to empower rural women.
Ambassador Sacko speaks fluent Portuguese, French, English, Spanish and Lingala.
Manager-Export Development Advisory, African Export-Import Bank
Abah has over 22 years’ macroeconomic, commodities, trade and research experience in financial markets in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Europe. Prior to joining Afreximbank, he was a lead analyst at the London firm Agribriefing, Head of agri-commodity research and Africa economist for Standard Chartered Bank’s global franchise based in London, Dubai and Singapore and Malaysia. Abah has provided advisory services on commodity markets to some of the largest agribusiness names and institutional clients including hedge funds and central banks. Abah is a prominent pundit in the financial and business media and was profiled in the UK’s Financial Times at the height of the 2009 commodity crisis. Abah is a graduate of the London School of Economics and has been a member of the UK Society of Business Economists as well as a Financial Advisor licensed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore.
Director General, International Fertilizer Association
Alzbeta Klein is the Director-General of the International Fertilizer Association. In this role, she leads the global fertilizer industry towards creating and supporting productive and sustainable agriculture systems that contribute to a world free of hunger and malnutrition.
In her previous roles, Ms. Klein led IFC/World Bank Group’s Climate Business, positioning IFC as a lead investor in green/ESG investments in emerging markets. Prior to this, she led IFC’s agribusiness investments, industrial investments, and managed IFC’s $50bn investment portfolio in emerging markets.
Ms. Klein received her Master’s degree in Economics from the University of Ottawa, Canada, where she also studied for her doctorate; an engineering degree from Prague University, Czech Republic; and executive education from Harvard Business School and INSEAD. She holds a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation. She served on a number of agribusiness companies’ boards including Grupo Los Grobo in Argentina, HMH in South Africa, LAAD in Latin America, as well as the New York University Center for Sustainable Business Advisory Board. She currently serves on the Nespresso Sustainability Advisory Board.
Andrex Nicholas Kalinde
CEO, Smallholder Farmers Fertilizer Revolving Fund of Malawi (SFFRFM)
Dr. Kalinde is a seasoned professional with more than 30 years of working experience in administration and operations management. He has credentials in Foreign Trade Development from Osaka University, Japan (1994), a certificate in Transaction Documentation from Citigroup (2006) and specialization credentials in Environmentally friendly fertilizer production from South China Agricultural University (Guangzhou, 2010). Andy has
Andy holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration (2005) and Master of Science in Logistics and Supply Chain Management (2009). He is currently in the final year of the Doctorate degree programme with Bolton University
CEO, Fertilizers and Agri-Inputs, Export Trading Group
Ashish Lakhotia is a seasoned professional with around 17 years of experience in the fertilizer and agri-inputs industry. Lakhotia oversees the company ETG with close to 1200 employees, with a turnover of $858 million and impacting over two (2) million farmers in 22 African countries. Lakhotia has spent about eight years in sub-Saharan Africa, given his progressive career of 15 years, where he has served in the company in different leadership positions.
Under his leadership, the ETG business has grown from 15K MT to 2100 K MT in the last 15 years. The organization has witnessed a tremendous transformation by closing a private equity deal worth $389 million with PIC, South Africa, in 2017.
Lakhotia’s far-sighted initiatives to invest in innovation & technology, including mobile application, point of sales, digital marketing activities, EKB application.
Director of the Agriculture Finance and Rural Infrastructure Development, AfDB
A Japanese citizen, Atsuko Toda is a seasoned professional with over 20 years of experience with international institutions. She joined the Bank in December 2016 as Director of the Agriculture Finance and Rural Infrastructure Development Department. In her current function, she is responsible for the Bank’s investments in private sector agribusiness companies, mainstreaming disaster risk finance, and developing Special Agro-industrial Processing Zones (SAPZs) across Africa. In March 2021, she was appointed Acting Vice President for Agriculture, Human & Social Development, a capacity in which she served until June 2021. Before joining the Bank, Atsuko worked at the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) on rural development projects in Asia and Africa. Between 2004 and 2012. she held several positions in different emerging countries of Asia, including Vietnam, Laos, and Nepal. In 2012, Atsuko moved to Africa as the IFAD Country Director for the Nigeria country programme. Having managed a portfolio of rural development and value chain projects, Atsuko has a personal commitment to innovation in projects and investments that reach people. Atsuko holds a master’s degree in Public Administration, with specialization in rural finance, from the International Christian University (ICU), Tokyo, Japan; a bachelor’s degree in Sociology, with specialization in multi-cultural societies, from the Doshisha University of Kyoto, Japan; and a diploma in Developmental Studies from Cambridge University, Cambridge, United Kingdom.
CEO, Bank of Kigali Group, Rwanda
Diane Karusisi is the CEO of BK Group, the largest financial services group in Rwanda. Under her leadership, the Bank of Kigali, the largest commercial bank in Rwanda, has gone through an extensive digital transformation journey. Diane has also driven the expansion of BK Group into General Insurance, Investment Banking and Technology. Prior to joining BK Group, she served as the Head of Strategy & Policy and Chief Economist at the Office of the President of the Republic in Rwanda.
Business Banking Director, Absa Bank Kenya PLC
Elizabeth Wasunna-Ochwa is the Business Banking Director at Absa Bank Kenya PLC. In her current role at Absa Bank Kenya Plc, Elizabeth is responsible for commercial and SMEs banking, trade and cash management in business banking, Islamic banking, vehicle and asset finance and agribusiness. Under the program SME She, Elizabeth Wasunna-Ochwa is spearheading women in business proposition with proactive partnerships, including the International Trade Centre under SHE Trades, Kenya National Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KNCCI), Kenya Private Sector Alliance (Kepsa) & Kenya Association of Manufacturers ( KAM) Elizabeth’s banking career and experience spans over 25 years having started off her career in Barclays Bank of Kenya as a trainee. She has worked in two other Tier 1 banks in different capacities, most recently as the Head of Business Banking at Standard Bank in Malawi.
Elizabeth holds a Bachelor of Science in International Business Administration and a Master’s in Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing and Strategic Management from the United States International University-Africa. In addition, she has membership with the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce, where she serves as a Patron Member, and in the Kenya Association of Manufacturers.
Senior Vice President for East Africa, OCP Group
Fayçal Benameur who has been working at OCP Group for the last 22 years, is currently based in Addis Ababa – Ethiopia, as Group Senior Vice President for East & Southern Africa.
A graduate from the executive program of MIT Sloan School (USA) and from the Mining Engineering School of Rabat (Morocco), He first joined the OCP Group in 1999. He was the Operation Manager for the Khouribga mining facilities, mainly “Sidi Daoui”.
In 2007, he was appointed as a taskforce member in the largest strategic review deployed at Group level at the time. Then followed a 2008 assignment to the industrial investment program in order to implement the outcome of the task force as Project Director for the new phosphate ore beneficiation plants. He thereafter joined the team assigned to setup a joint venture between “Jacobs Engineering” and “OCP Group” in 2009. The newly created JESA soon became a global provider of technical, professional, and scientific services, including engineering, architecture, construction, operations and maintenance.
Mr. Benameur rejoined OCP in 2012, to setup a new division as the Director of “New Products Development”. He lead the development of new businesses for the company such as Animal Feed Phosphate, water soluble fertilizers, customized NPK formulation upon agronomic research, etc. He was appointed as Vice President – PMO for the Group’s Industrial Investment Program in 2015, and as Vice-President of Innovation and Technology within OCP Group in 2016.
The end of 2016 saw Fayçal Benameur being expatriated to Ethiopia to setup the OCP Ethiopia office, paving the way for the largest exposure of OCP aboard. Two years later, the scope of his responsibilities have been enlarged to encompass all eastern and southern countries as Senior Vice President for Eastern & Southern Africa.
Fernando Balderrama, an American national, is Chief Investment Officer in the Industrialization Private Finance team at African Development Bank. Fernando is responsible for deal origination in the industrial sector and has been with AfDB since 2010. He previously worked in international development and management consulting in London and Washington DC. Fernando holds a Masters in Development Management from the London School of Economics and a Masters in Economics from the University of Sussex. For his bachelors, he attended the University of Maryland. With a focus on long-term corporate and project finance, Fernando’s attention is directed at finding commercially viable opportunities to industrialize Africa.
Frank Mugeta Nyabundege
Managing Director, Tanzania Agricultural Development Bank
Frank Mugeta Nyabundege is the Managing Director of the Tanzania Agricultural Development Bank (TADB). He was appointed as Managing Director by the President of the United Republic of Tanzania on the 5th of August 2021.
Prior to his appointment, he served as Managing Director for Lake Oil Limited, one of East and Central Africa’s fastest-growing energy trading and transportation conglomerates.
He also served as the Managing Director for a state-owned commercial Bank, TIB Corporate Bank and commercial banks such as KCB, CBA and Standard Chartered.
Frank offers over 21 years of hands-on experience and leadership in banking and other industries such as energy trading and transportation. His experience ranges from having worked for regional and multinational banks.
Frank has served in different government entities as a Board Member, the most recent ones being High Education Students’ Loan Board and National Ranching Company Limited (NARCO). As Managing Director, Frank also serves as a board member of TADB.
He holds Masters in Business Administration, postgraduate diplomas in Leadership and Economic Diplomacy from AALTO University in Finland and Centre for Foreign Relations, respectively. Frank is also a Certified Director by the Institute of Directors Tanzania.
President and CEO, AFAP
Jason Scarpone, current President and CEO of The African Fertilizer and Agribusiness Partnership (AFAP), is a leading international development specialist with 22 years of experience in designing, implementing and managing economic recovery and development programs for Africa, South and Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe, the Balkans, the Caucasus and the United States. He has specialized in public-private partnerships that link production, policy and marketing, focusing on post-conflict, post-crisis environments.
Jason has successfully implemented large-scale agricultural and rural development programs with long-lasting positive effects. Scarpone is thoroughly familiar with industry institutions, regulations and compliance. He has also managed the proposal development, implementation and reporting of programs funded by donors such as AGRA, BPRM, CIDA, CORDAID, DFID, EAR, ECHO, FAO, IFAD, OFDA, OTI, SV, TACIS/PHARE, UNDP, UNHCR, USAID, USDA, WFP, World Bank, Asian Development Bank, numerous commercial banks and private donor sources, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Jason holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology and urban studies from Northwestern University and a master’s degree in labor relations from New York University.
Head of Market Intelligence, AFAP
Joseph Rusike is Head of Market Intelligence with the African Fertilizer and Agribusiness Partnership (AFAP). He has over 35years of work experience in agricultural economics research and analysis, teaching, outreach, consultancy, agribusiness management, and agricultural policy advice and technical assistance. He worked for the Department of Agricultural Economics and Extension, the University of Zimbabwe, the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). He holds a Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics from Michigan State University, an MA in Economics from the same university, an MPhil in Agricultural Economics from the University of Zimbabwe, and a BA in Agricultural & Forest Sciences from Oxford University.
Director of Policy, African Fertilizer and Agribusiness Partnerships (AFAP)
Dr. Maria Wanzala-Mlobela is an agricultural economist with over ten years of experience working on African agricultural policy and market development issues. She worked for the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC) for 14 years and was seconded to the African Union’s New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) as the Senior Fertilizer Policy Specialist during her tenure at IFDC. Her areas of specialization include analyzing the functioning and performance of fertilizer markets, fertilizer policy and regulatory frameworks, and the formulation of policies and programs to address constraints and improve market performance. In her current position at AFAP, Dr. Wanzala is responsible for the development and implementation of AFAP policy initiatives for policy and regulatory improvement facilitation to create a more enabling environment for the increased commercial supply of fertilizer in sub-Saharan Africa. This entails: proposal development; fundraising; program design and implementation; policy research and analysis; provision of policy services to the private sector, national governments, and regional bodies; and technical backstopping.
Dr. Wanzala has a PhD in agricultural economics from Michigan State University in the United States of America.
Marie Claire Kalihangabo
Coordinator, Africa Fertilizer Financing Mechanism, AFFM
Marie Claire is the Coordinator of the Africa Fertilizer Financing Mechanism (AFFM) since 2018, a special fund housed in the Department of Agriculture and Agroindustry of the African Development Bank.
Marie Claire Kalihangabo is a manager with over 20 years’ work experience with public, international and development organizations across Africa. Her areas of expertise include multi-donor programs management, agricultural value chain financing, international relations, compliance and resources management.
Prior to joining the Bank, she worked with the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC), where she held key roles as a Regional Operations Manager and Regional Compliance Manager of the IFDC’s East and Southern Africa Region for ten years.
Marie Claire has also worked for the Ministry of Justice in Rwanda as the Manager of Administration and Finance. She started her professional career at the National University of Rwanda as Head of the Department of International Relations.
Marie Claire holds an MBA in project management from the Maastricht School of Management.
Director of Agriculture and Agro-Industry, AfDB
Dr. Martin Fregene is Director of Agriculture and Agro-Industry at the African Development Bank. He is a plant geneticist and molecular breeder with 25 years of experience in genetics and breeding of cassava. Dr. Fregene developed the first molecular genetic map of cassava and started the first cassava molecular breeding program to accelerate the development of improved cassava varieties for various agro-ecologies of Africa, Asia, and Latin America. He began his career at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan, Nigeria, in 1991 as a cassava breeder. While at IITA, he was a recipient of a Rockefeller Foundation post-doctoral fellowship on genetic mapping (1993 – 1996) that took him to the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) in Cali, Colombia. After CIAT, he joined the BioCassava Plus project at the Danforth Center, a development program funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, where he rose to the position of Director of the project. Dr. Fregene received his B.S. and M.S. degrees from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, graduating at the top of his class. His Ph.D in plant genetics and breeding, also from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, was in collaboration with IITA, the John Innes Center, Norwich UK, and CIAT.
Manager, Financial Intermediation and Inclusion, AfDB
Mohamed Kalif is the Head of Financial Intermediation and Inclusion at the African Development Bank. His work covers commercial banks, insurance, leasing, regional development financial institutions, equity investments and financial inclusion, including digital payment systems throughout Africa. Before joining the Financial Sector Development of the Bank in 2010, Mohamed was the Chief Commercial Risk Officer of the African Development Bank for seven years.
Prior to joining the Bank, Mohamed was Head of project and construction finance for a commercial bank in Dubai. He was responsible for the development of the bank’s project finance activities throughout the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Oman and India. He also served as a credit manager for one of the largest banks in Saudi Arabia for four years.
Mohamed has accumulated 28 years of banking experience and corporate governance, including risk management, corporate banking and project finance lending in commercial banks, development financial sector, equity investment analysis and evaluation and digital financial services environment. Moreover, Mohamed is a board member in several regional and national development finance institutions.
Mounir is the CEO and Founder of AFRIQOM. He has spent the last 22 years in R&D, commercial and business development roles within the semiconductor and fertilizer sectors. He has served in several senior positions within large groups such as Samsung, Sony and OCP Group, where he spearheaded these groups’ strategy and development. Recently at OCP, Mounir was the Sales Director for Europe and FSU regions, covering all products from phosphate rock, MGA to processed phosphate fertilizers such as DAP and TSP. Mounir joined Argus over eight years ago. He was in charge of developing the fertilizer business unit, improving existing products, innovating and developing new products. The Argus NPK global weekly publication was Mounir’s latest brainchild. Three years ago, Mounir founded AFRIQOM to eradicate opaqueness and promote liquidity in Africa’s fertilizer markets. Mounir has since driven AFRIQOM to make it the leader in Africa fertilizer market business intelligence, analytics, and conferencing.
Omri van Zyl
CEO, AGRI SA Enterprises (Pty)Ltd, South Africa
Omri van Zyl is the Chief Executive Officer of Agri SA Enterprises (Pty) Ltd. He oversees the company’s activities, which consists of highly experienced and qualified expertise with considerable exposure to and a thorough understanding of the complex financial, production, logistical, operational and contextual dimensions of commercial partnerships and other ventures in the commercial agricultural sector.
In November 2016, he was named the continental winner by CEO Global in their “Leading African Recognition Programme” in Agriculture.
Omri van Zyl is a qualified attorney and holds a BA Law, LLB, qualifications in project management and business development and a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Pretoria. He has vast experience in commercial enterprises and exposure to the broader commercial agricultural network.
Regional Agribusiness Coordinator, IFDC
Peter is an expert in Agribusiness management and Agri-finance. He has over 21 years of experience in the public and private sectors coordinating agribusiness projects for local and international organizations. In his illustrious career, he has been a key influencer in the agribusiness transformation strategy of several local and international organizations, where he served in leadership positions in agri-banking, agri-extension services and formerly as the IFDC-2SCALE Agribusiness Coordinator in the Eastern and Southern Africa division.
Currently, he leads a team of IFDC’s – 2SCALE program Financial Inclusion subject matter specialists who are spread out in the wider sub-Saharan African region.