The Board

The Board

Strive Masiyiwa

Board Chair

Mr. Masiyiwa is from Zimbabwe and is the Founder and Executive Chairman of Econet Wireless International, based in Johannesburg, South Africa. He is also a Trustee of the Rockefeller Foundation. In 2002, Mr. Masiyiwa was feted by the Time Magazine in their list of Most Influential People, and in March 2014, he was selected to Fortune Magazine’s list of the “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders.” He is one of Africa’s most influential figures, and a champion for the power of technology to improve the lives of millions of Africa’s smallholders.

Kofi A. Annan

Board Chair Emeritus

Mr. Annan is from Ghana and was appointed Chairman of AGRA’s Board of Directors in June 2007. Prior to that, he served as Secretary General of the United Nations (1997 to 2006). During his tenure at the UN, he was a resolute advocate for human rights, the rule of law, and the revitalization of the United Nations. He played a key role in mobilizing a global effort to combat malaria and HIV/AIDS; and was instrumental in laying out the Millennium Development Goals, a strategy to meet the needs of the world’s poorest by 2015. In December 2001, Mr. Annan and the United Nations received the Nobel Peace Prize.

Dr. Maria Isabel Andrade

Board Member

Dr. Andrade, from Cape Verde, has nearly 30 years of experience in Africa working with root crops. She initiated the root and tuber crops program in Cape Verde Islands in 1984. Before joining FAO in 1994, she was leader of the Cape Verdean roots and tubers program at the National Research institute. From 1996-2001, Dr. Andrade worked as IITA’s Regional Agronomist for the Southern Africa Root Crops Research Network (SARRNET), providing overall technical support on plant breeding and agronomy. She also provided leadership to the Mozambican national root crops program in identifying, developing and implementing research and development projects.Dr. Andrade was a joint winner of the 2016 World Food Prize for her research work with sweet potatoes in Africa

Frank N. J. Braeken

Board Member

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 President of Unilever China (Shanghai), President of Unilever Namca (Dubai), and President of Unilever Africa (Dubai / Durban). Subsequent to leaving Unilever, Frank N. J. Braeken has acted as investment advisor and investor for large scale agro and food enterprises on the African continent. He is also a non-executive board member of Buhler, the Swiss engineering group, Marie Stopes International . In 2016 he was elected Chairman of the Board of Feronia Inc, a Toronto listed palm oil producer on the African continent.

Prof. Joachim von Braun

Board Member

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, trade, science and technology policy. He is chair of the Bioeconomy Council of the Federal German Government; Vice-President of the NGO “Welthungerhilfe”, Vice Chair of the Board of Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN). He was Director General of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) based in Washington, DC, U.S.A. from 2002 to 2009. The International research community of agricultural economists (IAAE) elected von Braun as President in 2000.

H.E Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete

Board Member

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 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.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.President Kikwete has been the Chairman of the African Union Assembly of Heads of States and Government, and the East African Community.

L.K. Mohohlo

Board Member

Mrs. Linah Mohohlo is from Botswana, and was the Governor of the Bank of Botswana from 1999 to 2016, following a 23-year career with the Bank, during which she worked in a number of the Bank’s operational and policy areas. She has also worked with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as a Special Appointee. In her capacity as Governor of the IMF for Botswana, she has been a member of the International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC: 2000-02), representing the Africa Group 1 Constituency comprising 21 sub-Saharan African countries.

Dr. Kanayo Nwanze

Board Member

Dr. Kanayo F. Nwanze, a Nigerian national, is the immediate former President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and he began his term as IFAD’s fifth President on 1st April 2009. Prior to that, he was Director-General of the Africa Rice Center for a decade. In addition, Nwanze has held senior positions at a number of research centers affiliated with the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) in Africa and Asia, and he was instrumental in the establishment of the Alliance of CGIAR Centers. He started his international career as a post-doctoral researcher with the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) shortly after his Ph.D. (1975) in agricultural entomology from Kansas State University, Kansas, USA. Nwanze also holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Science from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria (1971). He was awarded doctorate degrees honoris causa by McGill University, Canada in 2012 and University of Warwick, UK in 2015. He has published extensively and is author of “A Bucket of Water”: Perspectives in Sustainable Rural Development, 2017.

Dr. Kanayo F. Nwanze, was awarded the inaugural Africa Food Prize in 2016 for his outstanding leadership and passionate advocacy in putting Africa´s smallholder farmers at the center of the global agricultural agenda.

Dr. Judith Rodin

Board Member

Dr. Rodin, an American, is the immediate former President of The Rockefeller Foundation. Previously she was president of the University of Pennsylvania and the first woman to lead an Ivy League institution. When she joined the Foundation, she re-calibrated its focus to meet the challenges of the 21st century. Today the Foundation supports and shapes innovations to strengthen resilience to risks and ensure more equitable growth around the world. In May 2013, Dr. Rodin was named in the Forbes Magazine’s list of the “Worlds 100 Most Powerful Women”.

Josette Sheeran

Board Member

Ms. Sheeran, an American, is the President of the Asia Society, as well as the Vice-Chair of the World Economic Forum (WEF). Prior to that, she served as the Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), the largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger around the globe. Every year, the program feeds more than 90 million people – victims of war and natural disasters, families affected by HIV/AIDS, and schoolchildren in poor communities.

Fred Swaniker

Board Member

Fred Swaniker is a serial entrepreneur and leadership development expert who is deeply passionate about Africa and believes that the missing ingredient on the continent is good leadership.

In line with this, he has successfully founded three organizations that aim to catalyze a new generation of ethical, entrepreneurial African leaders: African Leadership Academy, African Leadership Network, and African Leadership University. Collectively, these institutions aim to groom 3 million leaders for Africa over a 50 year period.

He has been recognized as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, and was listed by Forbes Magazine among the top ten young ‘power men’ in Africa in 2011. Fred was also recognized by Echoing Green as one of fifteen “best emerging social entrepreneurs in the world” in 2006.

He was a 2009 TED Fellow and is a Fellow of the Aspen Institute’s Global Leadership Network. Fred began his professional career as a consultant with McKinsey and Company and has an MBA from Stanford Business School, where he was named an Arjay Miller Scholar, a distinction awarded to the top 10% of each graduating class at the business school. He was born in Accra, Ghana but has lived and worked in about 10 different African countries.

Rodger Voorhies

Board Member

Rodger Voorhies is Managing Director of the Agricultural Development, Financial Services for the Poor, and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene teams within the Global Development Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In this role, Rodger leads the foundation’s efforts to alleviate hunger and poverty for millions of farming families in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia by increasing agricultural productivity in a sustainable way; make high quality digital financial services widely accessible to people living in the poorest parts of the world; and bring groundbreaking innovations in sanitation technology and new ways to deliver sanitation products and services to people in the developing world.

Rodger lived for nearly 20 years in emerging markets. He served most recently as the CEO of Opportunity Bank of Serbia. He also founded Opportunity Bank of Malawi, the first commercial microfinance bank in Malawi and grew it to become one of the largest providers of financial services in the country.

Dr. Usha Barwale Zehr

Board Member

Dr. Usha Barwale Zehr is Director and Chief Technology Officer at Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Company Private Limited (MAHYCO), India. She received her Ph.D. from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Subsequent to her formal education, she worked at Purdue University in the Sorghum improvement program. For the last 19 years, she has been utilizing new technologies and tools including biotechnology for improving the quality and productivity of seeds and agriculture. In addition, Dr. Zehr serves as Director of Barwale Foundation (a non-profit Research Foundation). She also serves on the Board of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center and Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa.

Dr. Zehr chairs the Breeder’s Committee of the International Seed Federation.

Dr. Agnes Kalibata

President, AGRA

Dr. Kalibata leads AGRA’s efforts with the participation of public and private partners towards ensuring a food secure Africa through rapid, sustainable agricultural growth and improved productivity by empowering millions of smallholder farmers.

She is a former Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources in Rwanda and is widely considered to be one of the most successful Agriculture Ministers in sub-Saharan Africa. Dr. Kalibata has held several other leadership positions, including Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Agriculture and Deputy Vice Chancellor of University of Rwanda. She has also worked for the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Uganda, and various other agricultural development organizations. She currently sits on various boards including the International Fertilizer Development Corporation (IFDC), the Sustainable Trade Initiative, the Africa Risk Capacity, and the Global Agenda Council of the WEF.

In 2012 Dr. Kalibata received the Yara Prize, now the Africa Food Prize for transforming Rwanda’s Agriculture in a relatively short period of time. She is a distinguished agricultural scientist, policy maker and thought leader and holds a PhD in Entomology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Victoria Chelangat Sabula

General Counsel & Corporation Secretary

Mrs. Sabula, a Kenyan national, serves as AGRA’s in-house legal adviser and manages the affairs of the Board of Directors. Starting her career with KCB Bank Group 10 years ago, she has extensive experience providing in-house legal advisory services across sub-Sahara Africa, structuring and negotiating corporate finance transactions, drafting and negotiation of complex contractual agreements, and advising on governance and multi-country regulatory compliance matters. She is passionate about agriculture and access of the poor to innovative farming solutions that will see them lifted out of poverty.

Mrs. Sabula holds a Bachelor of Law (LL.B) Degree from Moi University, a post Graduate Diploma in Law from Kenya School of Law, a diploma in Human Resource Management from Kenya Institute of Management, and a Masters in Business Administration from Nazarene University. She is an Advocate of the High Court of Kenya, a Chartered Public Secretary and an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators in Kenya. She was in 2015 named to Legal 500’s General Counsel Power List Africa which recognizes the top 100 corporate counsels in Africa.