Dr. Lindiwe Majele Sibanda is AGRA’s new VP for Country Support, Policy and Delivery

Dr. Lindiwe Majele Sibanda

Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) has announced Dr. Lindiwe Majele Sibanda as its new Vice President for Country Support, Policy, and Delivery with effect from 1 July 2017. The recruitment of Dr. Sibanda reflects a significant move to build on AGRA’s vast expertise and knowledge of the continent by strengthening its abilities to support governments – particularly ministers of agriculture and related institutions – that are prioritizing inclusive agricultural transformation in order to drive food and nutrition security and economic growth.

Founded in 2006, AGRA was set up to work with various partners to bring about a uniquely African Green Revolution to unleash the continent’s agricultural potential. Over the last decade, AGRA has worked alongside others to lay the foundation for a renaissance in Africa’s agriculture, one powered by the enormous progress increasingly evident in farmers who gain more options in the seeds they plant, in the fertilizers they use, and the markets available to purchase their produce.

From 2017, AGRA is looking to bring together all of its expertise in an integrated manner to support countries that are going to scale with agricultural transformation, and using its continental presence to move what works from one country to another. In doing this, it will support countries to strengthen dialogue and engagement within and across sectors to improve coordination and resource allocation, while building sector-wide delivery and accountability mechanisms.

As Vice President for Country Support, Policy, and Delivery, Dr. Sibanda will be at the very heart of this new agenda. She will directly engage with ministers and other partners in AGRA’s focus countries that are advancing the plans, policies, investments, and programs for inclusive agricultural transformation, first at a country level, but with an ambition for the whole continent.

Dr. Sibanda joins AGRA from the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN), where she has held the position of Chief Executive Officer and Head of Mission since 2004. At FANRPAN, Dr. Sibanda and her team have coordinated agricultural policy research and advocacy programs in 17 African countries with heralded results. In 2010, recognizing her work in policy and advocacy around the continent, she was invited into the Guardian Global Development Advisory Panel and identified as one of the world’s most influential thinkers and provocative new voices.

Dr. Sibanda has over 25 years of trans-disciplinary experience in agriculture and rural development, public and private sector reforms and management. This experience includes helping government ministries of agriculture to streamline their activities and create a conducive environment for the private sector; establishing the Initiative for Development in African Agriculture; developing locally based processes for channeling analytical input into policy making; and, establishing and strengthening state and non-state actor policy dialogue platforms.

Dr. Sibanda has also served in a variety of roles with agricultural institutions critical to the continent’s development, including as board chair at the International Livestock Research Institute, a trustee for three International Agricultural Research Centers, and as adviser to and advocate for numerous international food and nutrition security-related initiatives. In 2009, Dr. Sibanda led the “No-Agriculture, No-Deal” global campaign and mobilized African civil society organizations to push for the inclusion of agriculture in the United Nations Framework for Climate Change Convention (UNFCCC) negotiations.

Dr. Sibanda grew up on a farm in rural Zimbabwe, and believes her strong personal connection to Africa’s agricultural traditions has helped her become one of the continent’s leading advocates for food and nutrition security.

Speaking about the appointment, AGRA’s President, Dr. Agnes Kalibata said, “Dr. Sibanda’s experience and leadership will put AGRA squarely on the path towards strong country support, while driving a culture of learning among countries to achieve the much needed agricultural transformation.”

Speaking about her appointment, Dr. Sibanda notes “The African Green Revolution championed by AGRA is already in motion, thanks to the visionaries, innovators and revolutionaries striving towards a common goal. In order to take our achievements to scale and realize lasting transformation, we must strongly connect the smallholder farmer aspirations, particularly women and youth, to the government policy processes and national investment plans. We must generate mass public awareness that illuminates all actors to embrace the vision of a food and nutrition secure Africa that not only feeds and nourishes itself but the world. I am privileged and excited to be part of this noble cause.”

Dr. Sibanda is a winner of the YARA prize in 2013, recognizing her contribution to African agriculture specifically her work with the youth, innovation and entrepreneurship. She is a trained animal scientist, an authoritative leader in agriculture climate change and nutrition, and a trained professional dialogue facilitator for multi-cultural groups. She is an alumnus of the University of Reading, UK and the University of Alexandria, Egypt and holds BSc, MSc. and PhD degrees in Agriculture.