As the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy, Dr. Kalibata works with the United Nations system and key partners to provide leadership, guidance, and strategic direction towards the 2021 Food Systems Summit. She is responsible for outreach and cooperation with key leaders, including governments, to ensure the Summit serves as a catalytic process within the Decade of Action to improve food systems around the world to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Paris Agreement. Since 2014, Dr. Kalibata has also served as President of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), where she leads the organization’s efforts with public and private partners to ensure a food secure and prosperous Africa through rapid, sustainable agricultural growth, improving the productivity and livelihoods of millions of smallholder farmers in Africa. Prior to joining AGRA in September 2014, 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 has held several other leadership positions, including Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Agriculture and Deputy Vice Chancellor of University of Rwanda. She also worked for the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture in Uganda, and various other agricultural development organizations. She 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 Global Agenda Council of the World Economic Forum, the Malabo-Montpellier Panel, and Africa Risk Capacity, among others. Dr. Kalibata has a distinguished track record as an agricultural scientist, policy maker and thought leader. She was awarded 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 Univeristy 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 stallholder farmers. Dr. Kalibata holds a doctorate in Entomology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
Benedict Okey Oramah assumed the position of President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) on 21 September 2015. Dr. Oramah joined Afreximbank as Chief Analyst in 1994 and was promoted to the position of Senior Director, Planning and Business Development in 2007. Prior to joining Afreximbank, he was an Assistant Research Manager at the Nigerian Export-Import Bank from 1992. He holds an M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in agricultural economics, obtained in 1987 and 1991 respectively, from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria. He received a B.Sc. degree, also in agricultural economics, from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, in 1983. Oramah has published a book, “Foundations of Structured Trade Finance”, and has written more than 35 articles on a wide range of African economic, trade and trade finance issues. He is a regular speaker in trade and trade finance conferences around the world. Dr. Oramah serves as Chairperson of the Africa Chapter of the International Factors Group (IFG) and is on the Board of the IFG and the Editorial Boards of Trade and Forfaiting Review and the Journal of African Trade. He is also a member of the Consultative Board on the World Cocoa Economy of the International Cocoa Organization.
A Rwandan economist and former Finance Minister, Dr. Kaberuka is the 7th President of the African Development Bank (2005-2015). He is credited for expanding the reach and impact of AfDB, Africa’s premier financial institution during his two terms as President. Kaberuka is currently the African Union High Representative for Financing, the Peace Fund and COVID19 response. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of several organisations and think tanks including the Rockefeller Foundation, Center for Global Development, the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, The Brookings Institution and the London School of Economics. He serves on the International Advisory Council of Standard Chartered Bank and Co-Chair of Council on State Fragility. He was also nominated in 2017 to Chair the panel on the third External Evaluation of the International Monetary Fund. Since retiring from the African Development Bank, he is Chairman and Managing Partner of SouthBridge a financial and investment advisory firm which he co-founded. He was elected in 2019 as Chair of the Board of The Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria.
Dr. Frannie Léautier is an African finance and development expert, with long-standing global experience leading and transforming organisations in the private, public and not-for-profit spheres. Prior to joining TDB, she served as Senior Vice President at the African Development Bank, Vice President at the World Bank Group, and Executive Secretary of the African Capacity Building Foundation. In addition to having founded two companies, Dr. Léautier is a Board Member, Trustee, Special Advisor, Founder and Member of a number of prestigious international organisations, including the World Economic Forum (WEF), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), OCP Group, African Risk Capacity (ARC), African Economic Research Consortium (AERC), Institute for Security Studies (IIS), King Baudouin Foundation USA (KBFUS), Nelson Mandela Institute for Science and Technology (NM-AIST), and others. Likewise, she is a well-recognised author and academic, having published numerous books, articles and papers in international development and having taught Masters-level courses at Sciences Po, MIT, Harvard, Duke, and the University of Tokyo. In addition to her Civil Engineering Degree from Dar es Salaam University and a Transportation Masters from MIT, Dr. Léautier holds a PhD in Infrastructure Systems from MIT, and honorary degrees from North Central College and Lancaster University.
Gilbert F. Houngbo became the sixth President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) on 1 April 2017. Born and raised in rural Togo, Houngbo has spent more than 30 years working to improve the lives of some of the world’s most vulnerable people, with extensive experience in political affairs, international development, diplomacy and financial management. Prior to his appointment as IFAD President, Houngbo was the Deputy Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO) where he led field operations in more than 100 countries and managed its bilateral and multilateral partnerships. He served as Prime Minister of the Republic of Togo from 2008 to 2012, where he introduced economic reforms and enhanced the rule of law and civil liberties. From 1996 to 2008, he undertook a number of roles at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) including Chief of Staff and Assistant Secretary-General, Africa Regional Director, where he led poverty alleviation programmes in 45 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Prior to this, he spent a decade in the private sector, including at Price Waterhouse, Canada, where he worked in Audit and Financial Advisory Services. Houngbo has a Matrîse en gestion des entreprises from the University of Lomé, Togo, and a Diplôme d’Etudes Supérieures Spécialisées in Specialised Accounting from the University of Québec, Canada. He is a member of the Canadian Institute of Chartered Professional Accountants.
Jennifer Blanke is Non-Executive Director at African Risk Capacity Insurance Company Ltd., and sits on the boards of various not-for-profit and development-focused entities. She was previously Vice President Agriculture, Human and Social Development at the African Development Bank Group, responsible for overseeing the Bank’s strategy, lending and other activities in this area. Prior to that she was Chief Economist at the World Economic Forum, overseeing economic research activities and projects from 2012-2017. Other roles held at the World Economic Forum included Lead Economist and Head of the Global Competitiveness and Benchmarking team, and Senior Programme Manager responsible for developing the business, management, and technology sections of the Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland. Before joining the World Economic Forum, Dr Blanke worked for a number of years as a management consultant for Eurogroup (Mazars Group) in Paris, France, where she specialized in banking and financial market organization. She has written and lectured extensively on issues related to national competitiveness and economic development. Dr Blanke holds a Master’s degree in International Affairs from Columbia University, New York, and an MA and PhD in International Economics from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva. In addition, she was until 2019 a member of the Canadian Government’s Council of Economic Growth.
João Bosco Monte
Founder and current President of Brazil Africa Institute, he holds a Ph.D. in Education from the Federal University of Ceará and Postdoctoral studies from the University of Brasilia (UNB), with the object of research on the integration of the African continent. He is a visiting professor of important Brazilian and African Universities and he is a Senior International Associate of African, Latin American and Caribbean Studies Center - CALACs of Jindal Global University (India). Prof. João Bosco is the author of books and publications related to the relations between the various international actors, focusing on South-South Cooperation. He acts as an international consultant of Brazilian and foreign organizations and as a columnist and commentator of important media in Brazil.
John A. Kufuor
His Excellency John Agyekum Kufuor was elected President of the Republic of Ghana on the ticket of the New Patriotic Party. He served two consecutive terms as the second President in the Fourth Republic from January 2001 to January 2009. Under his administration Ghana recorded the fastest growth in its history, recording GDP growth of 8.4% and attaining a middle-income status by 2006. He introduced the National Health Insurance Scheme with free maternal care for pregnant women, Free School Feeding program, and best agriculture practices that doubled cocoa production to all-time high. As chairperson of the African Union, he supervised the peaceful resolution of the electoral conflict in Kenya. Also, chairing the Economic Community of West African States for two terms, he led the successful negotiations that brought peace to Sierra Leone, Liberia and Cote d’Ivoire. He was the first African leader to be peer-reviewed in 2006 under the APRM Mechanism. In 2011 he was named joint-winner of the World Food Prize with former Brazilian President Lula da Silva. He entered politics at an early age. Beginning his political career as Clerk of the City of Kumasi in 1967, he was elected to the Second Republic Parliament and appointed Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs in 1969 at age 29. He was elected again to the Parliament of the Third Republic in 1979. Upon the restoration of democratic rule in 1992, he sought the presidency of Ghana, which he won in December 2000. In retirement, he has set up The John A. Kufuor Foundation on Leadership, Governance and Development and serves as UN Special Envoy on Climate Change; Global Ambassador against Hunger for the UN World Food Programme; Chairman of the UN Interpeace Program; Global Envoy for Neglected Tropical Diseases Alliance. He is also President of the Italian development organization, Alliance for Africa; member of Club de Madrid; director of Brenthurst Foundation of South Africa, the Leon Sullivan Foundation, and the Netherlands Development Corporation and a member of the Global Citizenship Commission tasked with updating the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. He currently co-chairs the Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition. The former President attended Prempeh College in Kumasi, before proceeding to England to study Law, Economics and Philosophy at Oxford University. He was called to the Bar at Lincoln Inn, London, in 1961.
José Carlos da Fonseca Júnior
José Carlos da Fonseca Júnior has been the Executive Director of the Brazilian Tree Industry (Ibá) since the beginning of 2019. A career diplomat since 1982, he was approved in first place in the public examination to join the Rio Branco Institute (IRBr) / Ministry of Foreign Affairs, while still studying Law and International Relations at UnB. In 2008, he received his PhD from the High Studies Course (CAE) at the IRBr, defending the thesis Caminhos da Índia: the Indian political system in a time of reform. Implications for Brazil (2008). As a diplomat, he served twice at the Embassy in Washington, and in in Ottawa, Maputo, Manila, Abu Dhabi and Santiago. He was also Minister-Counselor in New Delhi and Ambassador of Brazil in Myanmar. He was also special advisor and chief of staff to two ministers of economy, respectively: Marcílio Marques Moreira and Pedro Malan. Elected Congressman for Espírito Santo in 1998, he was then Secretary of Finance and, more recently, in the latest Government of Paulo Hartung, he was Chief of Staff. For Ibá, he now sits on the Steering Committee of The Forests Dialogue (TFD) and on the Advisory Committee on Sustainable Forest-based Industries (ACSFI), of FAO.
Founder and Managing Partner of SouthBridge, Lionel Zinsou is a former Prime Minister of Benin (2015-2016). Before that, he was successively member of the Executive committee of Danone where he held several executive positions, General Partner at Rothschild & Cie and President of PAI Partners, one of the leading European Private Equity firms. Lionel Zinsou started his career as an academic in France (University Paris XIII and ENS) before joining the office of the Ministry of Industry (1980-1984) and Prime Minister (1983-1986), Laurent Fabius. Mr Zinsou is currently on the board of several institutions and corporates including Terra Nova (Chairman), Danone and PAI Partners. He studied at Ecole Normale Supérieure and at Paris IV and Paris VII universities (history of economics) in France (University Paris XIII and ENS). He also graduated from Sciences Po Paris and was a research student at the London School of Economics.
Maria Helena Semedo
Deputy Director-General, Maria Helena Semedo is an economist and politician from Cape Verde. A leading expert in global development issues, she has worked in public service for over thirty years. Over the last decade, FAO has helped shape a new global narrative where agriculture is prominently recognized as a solution in addressing increasingly complex emerging issues – from transforming food systems to dealing with climate change. Leading to deliver, Semedo promotes an integrated, inclusive approach, resulting in greater cross-sectoral engagement and stronger strategic partnerships, better positioning FAO in its role to promote a transition to sustainable food and agriculture systems. As part of the FAO Core Leadership Team, Semedo works to develop impactful initiatives such as the FAO Green Cities Action Programme and the corporate strategy for mainstreaming biodiversity across agricultural sectors, fostering multi-stakeholder dialogues that optimize the Organization’s 75 years of technical expertise and experience, its global reach and innovative approaches, all contributing to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Before taking up her current duties in 2013, Ms Semedo gained valuable experience and insight in Africa, first as FAO Representative in Niger, then as Deputy Regional Representative for Africa and Sub-regional Coordinator for West Africa. Prior to her international career, she worked as an economist for the Cabo Verde Ministry of Planning and Cooperation before becoming Secretary of State for Fisheries, then in 1993 Minister for Fisheries, Agriculture and Rural Affairs – the first-ever woman Minister in her country. After serving as Minister for Tourism, Transportation and Marine Affairs from 1995-1998, she became Member of Parliament, a position she held until 2003.
Martin Fregene is a geneticist & agricultural policy expert with over 25 years of research and development experience at two International Agricultural Research Centers (IARCs). He is currently Director of Agriculture and Agro-Industry (AHAI) at the African Development Bank working on implementation of a bold initiative of the Bank, the Feed Africa Strategy in collaboration with AHAI’s sister department at the Bank, Agricultural Financing and Rural Development (AHFR). Dr Fregene has a B.Sc. degree in Chemistry from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria and a M.Sc. degree in Organic chemistry at the same University. He further went on to do his doctorate in plant genetics and breeding at the John Innes Center, Norwich UK, the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan, and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture.
25 years of international investment banking, having focused on African markets for the past 8 years. CEO of Standard Bank Brazil since 2018 and Head of Power & Infra-structure for LATAM since 2012. Prior to Standard Bank, occupied different senior positions in leading global financial institutions including JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America Merril Lynch and ING Bank. Extensive track record in local and international Debt Capital Markets & Syndications, having coordinated for 5 years the Real Estate Mortgages Securities Committee at the Brazilian National Association of Investment Banks. Natalia holds a Honors Degree in Public Administration from Fundação Getulio Vargas and specialization in Finance by the Amsterdam Institute of Finance
Omar Ben Yedder
Omar Ben Yedder is the Group Publisher and Managing Director of leading publishing, events and communications group IC Publications. The organization has over 50 years’ experience in publishing magazines, country supplements, industry reports and market intelligence on Africa. It now offers a full suite of communications services as well as organises a number of key events across the continent. Having previously been an Associate Vice President in the Equity Finance team at Merrill Lynch, Omar brought a new and dynamic approach to IC Publications. Under his leadership, African Banker magazine as well as IC Events were launched. Today the group also carries out communications advisory, media relations and contract publishing. IC Publications is committed to serving the interests of Africa, and that is what drives all of the group’s activities. Be it in terms of shaping the African agenda and help write the African narrative, or creating the networks and links to drive social and economic empowerment throughout the continent. Omar’s work and personal interests include media, development economics, leadership and education. He has chaired the Africa Story Challenge competition, a programme driven by the Africa Media Initiative. He also sits on the board of Brand Africa. Omar studied Economics and Languages at Durham University and also is a Chartered Management Accountant.
Senior Fellow at the Policy Center for the New South, previously known as OCP Policy Center, principal at Center for Macroeconomics and Development and non-resident fellow at Brookings Institute. Canuto was Vice President and Executive Director at the World Bank, Executive Director at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Vice President at the Inter-American Development Bank. He was also Deputy Minister for international affairs at Brazil’s Ministry of Finance, as well as professor of economics at University of São Paulo (USP) and University of Campinas (UNICAMP).
Mr. Dlamini was the Chairperson of Civil Air Navigation Services Organization (CANSO) Africa region, SADC Development Finance Institutions, Association of African Development Finance Institutions (AADFI) and World Federation Development Finance Institutions (WFDFI). He is currently the Vice Chairman of the International Development Finance Club (IDFC). Mr. Dlamini holds an MSc in Global Finance from the New York University Stern School of Business/Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and a Bachelor of Commerce (B Comm) degree from the University of Durban-Westville. Mr. Dlamini further received certificates for completing an Executive Development Programme (EDP) from the University of the Witwatersrand Business School (WBS) and an Advanced Executive Programme from Kellogg School of Management
Paulo Gomes has over 25 years of experience both in the public and private sectors. He has advised and worked with several heads of states and governments on key projects throughout the African continent. He has assisted a few of them to establish investment advisory bodies and served on international committees. Paulo Gomes has also served at very senior levels in multi-lateral development institutions, from the World Bank to the West African Development Bank (BOAD). He was member of the board of the Green Climate Fund in South Korea.