“Investing in inclusive rural transformation: Innovative approaches to financing,” has been a unique international conference co-organized by IFAD and the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance, with the Brookings Institution and the University of Warwick. The two-day conference brought together policy and decision-makers, representatives of government organizations, the private sector, research and academic institutions, multilateral and bilateral development organizations, civil society and others for two days of solutions-focused events and discussion.
The conference began on 25 January with a high-level inaugural session at the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance. On 26 and 27 January the conference continued at IFAD’s Rome headquarters with lively panel discussions and technical sessions.
Hina Rabbani Khar is the 26th Foreign Minister of Pakistan. Twice elected Member of Parliament. Khar’s term as Foreign Minister is best remembered for the ‘Regional Pivot’ to Pakistan’s foreign policy. As the 26th Foreign Minister of Pakistan, she concentrated on building ties with Pakistan’s immediate neighbours. A major policy shift was taken by starting the journey of normalization of trade relations with India. Similarly, with Afghanistan, Pakistan pursued a policy of reaching out to all political parties, and ethnicities. Pakistan also pursued an active role in an Afghan led and Afghan owned process of reconciliation. In a difficult time of increasing economic sanctions Pakistan pursued to cement ties with Iran.
Khar has also served as Minister of State for Economic Affairs for 4 years and Minister of State for Finance & Economic Affairs for another 2 Years. During these years, she was the lead person in Pakistan’s economic diplomacy, both bilateral and multilateral.
Estrella Penunia, or Esther, as called by colleagues, is Secretary General of the Asian Farmers’ Association or AFA, a regional alliance of national farmers organizations (FOs) in Asia. Established in 2002, AFA is currently composed of twenty national FOs in sixteen countries, representing around 12 million small-scale men and women farmers. AFA, in a consortium with La Via Campesina, is managing a five year capacity building programme for farmers organizations called MTCP2/AFOSP, supported by EU, IFAD and SDC. AFA carries out programs on policy advocacy, knowledge management, capacity development and cooperative and enterprise development. As a social development worker, Penunia spent more than three decades of professional years in the field of rural development, working with the famers, fishers and indigenous peoples’ sectors in various capacities as community organizer, participatory action researcher, trainer, gender advocate, consultant, campaigns coordinator, NGO executive/manager and networker. She and her husband are currently working in partnership with a farming family in developing a 2-hectare upland farm through sustainable, integrated, diversified, organic practices.
Zeinab Badawi is a BBC presenter and journalist. She was born in the Sudan, but moved to London when she was two years old.
She studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Oxford University and holds a Master's Degree (awarded with a distinction) in Middle East History and Anthropology from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at London University. In 2011, she was awarded an honorary doctorate by SOAS for her services to international broadcasting. In 2015, she received a second honorary doctorate for journalism from the London College of Communications - University of the Arts London.
Badawi has extensive experience in television and radio, working on a range of programmes. She is one of the best known broadcast journalists working in the field today. In 2009, she was awarded International TV Personality of the Year by the Association of International Broadcasters, and was named in Powerlist 2012 and 2015 as one of Britain’s top 100 most influential members of the black community. In 2016, she received the May Chidiac Foundation lifetime achievement award.
Badawi is the current Chair of the Royal African Society, a Queen’s appointment to the Board of the Historic Royal Palaces, a trustee of BBC Media Action, a Vice-President of the United Nations Association UK, and a board member of the African Union Foundation. She is also a member of the World Economic Forum's Global Agenda Council for Africa.
Badawi is a former trustee of the National Portrait Gallery. She has been a board member of the British Council, the Centre for Contemporary British History, a former Chair of the London based freedom of speech campaign organisation, Article 19, and a board member of the Overseas Development Institute (ODI).
James Mwangi is the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Equity Bank Group and the Executive Chairman of Equity Group Foundation. He holds five honorary doctorate degrees in recognition of his contributions to the Kenyan society. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree and is a Certified Public Accountant. Mwangi has been honored twice with Presidential national awards. He was vested the First Class Chief of the Order of the Burning Spear national decoration - the highest presidential award to a civilian - for outstanding contributions in economic development. He was also named the World Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young in 2012, and the Forbes Africa Person of the Year in 2012. He is currently the Chairman of Kenya’s Vision 2030 Delivery Board charged with the responsibility of ensuring Kenya becomes a middle income country with global high standards of living by the year 2030. He serves on several international bodies as an advisor. He is a Board Member of the Africa Leadership Academy in South Africa, the Global Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition among others and is the Chancellor of Meru University College of Science and Technology. Mwangi has extensive experience in the banking industry and inclusive finance.
Carlo Petrini is a journalist, author and advocate for a sustainable food system. He is founder and president of Slow Food.
In 2004 he created the University of Gastronomic Sciences and Terra Madre, a network of over 2,400 food communities from more than 160 countries.
In 2004 Petrini was named a 'European Hero' by Time magazine, and in January 2008 he was the only Italian to appear in the list of ‘50 People Who Could Save the World’ drawn up by the British newspaper The Guardian. He has been named Co-Winner of the 2013 Champion of the Earth Award for “Inspiration and Action” by the United Nations Environment Programme and, in May 2016, he has be appointed from the President of FAO, Graziano De Silva, as a Special Ambassador to Zero Hunger for Europe.
Petrini is also the author of various books and in 2015 he wrote the reading guide to Pope Francis' encyclical “Laudato Si”.
Nisha Pillai is an accomplished former news presenter with BBC World News who now specialises in moderating Panel Discussions and High Level Dialogues. She has worked closely with several UN agencies, with scientific institutes such as CERN, and with industry events and conferences in the Finance, IT and Energy sectors.
Pillai’s 25 year career at the BBC culminated as one of the main news anchors at BBC World News, where she reported extensively during the 9/11 attacks and the Iraq war. She was also one of the first regular interviewers on Hard Talk. As an award-winning investigative journalist at Panorama, the BBC’s flagship current affairs programme, Pillai had notable investigations to her name. She was awarded the Royal Television Society’s Award for her investigation into the late Robert Maxwell, which was broadcast a month before his death. Pillai cut her teeth as a financial journalist at the Investors Chronicle and on the BBC’s Money Programme. She read economics at the London School of Economics and was a graduate trainee at Schroders.
Shobhana K. Pattanayak is Secretary for the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers' Welfare, Government of India. He holds a Masters in Science (Hons.) in Biological Sciences from Birla Institute of Technology & Science, Pilani, India; a Post Graduate Diploma in Environment Law from National Law School of India University, Bangalore; and a Diploma (CIAP) from Ecole Nationale d'Administration (ENA) Paris, France with specialization in Public Finance.
Prior to being appointed Secretary for the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers' Welfare, he held the position of Additional Chief Secretary, Home Department, Government of Karnataka (July 2013 to February, 2016) and Principal Secretary, Energy Department, Government of Karnataka, (Jan 2013 – June 2013). During the period 2009-12, he was posted as Minister (Agriculture), Embassy of India, Rome and Alternate Permanent Representative of India to UN Agencies in Rome. During his tenure in Rome, he served on the Evaluation Committee and the Executive Board of IFAD; held the position of Chairperson of Committee on Agriculture, FAO (2010-2012) and President of Executive Board, WFP (2012).
Enda Murniningtyas is former Deputy Minister of National Development Planning (BAPPENAS), Indonesia. Before that she was Deputy Minister for Maritime and National Resources at the Ministry of National Development.
She worked at BAPPENAS for over 30 years in the area of natural resources, agriculture, economics, and poverty. She has been a frequent lecturer and served on the graduate thesis and dissertations committee for the Bogor Agricultural Institute.
She is an active chair member of Perhimpunan Ekonomi Pertanian Indonesia (PERHEPI) and Chairperson for PERHEPI Jakarta. She was the Government of Indonesia’s representative at the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals at the United Nations.
Murniningtyas is currently retired and maintains a professional role in the area of agriculture, climate change, environment and sustainable development. She has just been appointed by UN Secretary General as Co-Chairs of the 15-member Independent group of scientists to draft the quadrennial Global Sustainable Development Report.
She graduated with a BSc in Agricultural Economics and Social from Bogor Agricultural Institute, an M.Sc in Agricultural and Resource Economics from Oregon State University, and Ph.D from Colorado State University for studies in Agricultural and Resource Economics.
Dan Newman is a solution designer and facilitator as part of The Value Web, a global network of facilitators dedicated to improving the way the world takes important decisions. He works with institutions such as Oxfam, the World Economic Forum, BMGF, the Rockefeller Foundation, and IIED as well as international organisations such as IFAD, UNICEF, WHO, ICRC, and the Commonwealth. He is also CEO of Matter Group, which performs similar work in the private sector, working with leading companies such as Airbus, Shell, Reliance, SWIFT, Generali, Giorgio Armani, and UniCredit.
Educated at Swarthmore College, NYU, and Colombia, Newman splits his time between London and Rome.
Mario Cerutti was born in Torino (Italy) in 1958.
He graduated in Business Administration at the University of Torino and holds an MBA from the University of Dallas.
He has been working in Lavazza since 1986. Currently, he is Chief Institutional Relations and Sustainability Officer in Lavazza.
From 2004 to 2007, Cerutti was the President of the European Coffee Federation (ECF).
He is currently serving as President of the Italian Coffee Committee (Comitato Italiano del Caffè - an association of large Italian coffee companies), as Chairman of the Coffee & Climate Steering Committee and as member of the board of the Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee (ISIC). He is also a board member of the ICP (International Coffee Partners).
Claude Torre, a national of France, has extensive experience in international cooperation, agriculture development and rural finance. He currently holds the position of Project manager in Agriculture, in the division of Rural Development and Biodiversity at the Agence Française de Développement (AFD).
Prior to his current position, he was in charge of the elaboration of the 2011-2016 Strategic Plan of AFD. For more than two decades, he has been in charge of several cooperation programmes in Western and Central Africa, Middle East and Latin America and Caribe, including field presence in Niger, Guinea and Morocco.
Torre speaks French, English and Spanish.
Jesús Antón has extensive experience on international cooperation, economic analysis, agricultural policies, risk management and development. He is currently Senior Programme Manager of the Platform for Agricultural Risk Management (PARM) in the Policy and Technical Advisory Division at the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). PARM is a G8/G20 initiative promoting rigorous agricultural risk assessment and management policies in nine African countries.
Before taking office in IFAD in September 2014, Antón worked for fourteen years in the Trade and Agriculture Directorate of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris. As Senior Economist, he led the OECD work on Agricultural Risk Management and other policy projects. He has also been advisor in the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture and lecturer in University. He holds a PhD in Economics (UAM, Madrid), a Master of Science (MSc) in the London School of Economics and a Master from the College of Europe (Belgium). He has several publications in OECD and academic journals.
Antón speaks Spanish, English and French.
Scott Overdyke is Director of Strategic Partnerships, Root Capital. He leads strategic initiatives at the cross-section of Root Capital’s lending, advisory, and field building activities - including fund design and management for mission-aligned investors. Prior to joining Root Capital in 2014, Overdyke was a consultant with FSG where he helped companies create shared value strategies to drive financial, social and environmental impact. He has also worked with the Peace Corps, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, TechnoServe, and the social enterprise Razoo.com. He is a graduate of Columbia Business School and Harvard Kennedy School and currently lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Alessandro Marini is a development economist with more than twenty years of professional experience in rural economic development with Non-Governmental Organizations, public sector agencies in developing countries and international organizations (UN). He has considerable experience in the design, implementation and supervision of investment projects, as well as in policy formulation and policy dialogue processes. Since 2007 he has been working as Country Programme Manager with the International Fund for Agricultural Development, where he has been in charge of IFAD operations initially in Mozambique and currently, as Country Director, in Uganda, where he pioneered an innovative equity fund investing in agribusiness companies. He has worked in different geographic areas for both long term and short-term assignments, primarily, although not exclusively, in Sub-Saharan Africa. He holds a Master of Arts in Development Economics at the University of Sussex in Brighton, UK and a ‘Diploma di Laurea’ in Economics at Luigi Bocconi University in Milan, Italy.
Rosângela Ferreira Moura, a Brazilian national, comes from a family of smallholder farmers. Growing up in the rural community of Caatingueirinha in the State of Ceará, she worked on the family farm while pursuing her studies. She was actively engaged in her local community and supported various social initiatives through the church.
In 1998, Moura joined the Potiretama Union and was elected Director of the Union in 2000. She served two terms as Secretary-General for the Union, from 2000-2007, and coordinated an Agrian Reform Camp with 120 families during her term. In 2008, Moura was elected the first female president of Potiretama Union.
In 2009, Moura became the Secretary of Rural Women at the Federation of Rural Workers in Agriculture in the State of Ceará (FETRAECE).
Moura was able to buy her first land of 2.1 hectares in 2013.
Daniel Gustafson is the Deputy Director-General (Programmes) of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Among other responsibilities, he oversees the work of the Organization to ensure that it contributes to its Members' Sustainable Development Goals. As a US citizen, he has worked for the past 40 years on agriculture and rural development issues and holds B.Sc and M.Sc degrees from the University of Wisconsin, and a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland. In April 2015, he was conferred a Ph.D. Honoris Causa by the Acharya N G Ranga Agricultural University (ANGRAU) in India.
Gustafson started his career in 1977 at the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), based in Brazil, where he worked on a range of programmes supporting the country's agricultural research and development programmes. He moved to the University of Maryland in 1988 as Programme Director, International Development Management Centre.
He joined FAO in 1994, first working within the Ministry of Agriculture in Maputo, Mozambique, and subsequently as FAO Country Representative in Kenya, Somalia, India and Bhutan. In 2007, he was appointed Director of FAO's Liaison Office for the US and Canada, based in Washington D.C., and then moved to FAO headquarters in 2012 as Director of FAO's Office of Support to Decentralization. Prior to his current position, he was Deputy Director-General (Operations), overseeing the Organization's decentralized offices and other operations-related departments and units.
Gaëlle Bonnieux is Head of Agriculture Debt Investments at responsAbility. She supervises a team of 16 Investment Officers based in Lima, Nairobi, Mumbai, Paris and Zurich, managing of portfolio of USD 280 million invested in 45 countries and 55 commodities. She joined responsAbility in November 2009, first as Investment Analyst in charge of Financial Institutions and then as Investment Officer in charge of Agriculture Investments. In this role, she conducted more than 50 due diligence in Africa, Latin America and Asia and covered a broad variety of commodities (coffee, cocoa, tea, cashew, spices, fruits & vegetables, soya, etc.). Prior to that, she used to lead a project supervised by Max Havelaar France/FLO aimed at facilitating access to finance for Fairtrade certified producer organizations. The project resulted in the creation of a rating methodology adapted to small agricultural businesses. She also has experience developing a microfinance network in Latin America and Africa for MicroCred Holding, a microfinance group based in Paris (Greenfield projects). Bonnieux holds a Master degree in Business & Administration and an Executive Master degree in Finance. She speaks French, English and Spanish.
Kaspar Baumann is experienced in structuring private investments in emerging and frontier markets. He works at Clarmondial, a Zurich-based advisory firm focused on mobilising investments for sustainable natural resource management. He focuses on structuring investments to attract funding to agriculture companies in emerging markets and advises leading corporates on their sustainability-related investments.
From 2008 to 2015, Baumann worked in the private equity team of responsAbility Investments, an asset manager specialized in impact investments. In this role, he executed minority participations in financial institutions servicing SMEs and agricultural clients in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America.
Baumann is an independent member of the board of directors of an SME-focused bank in Macedonia (FYROM). He holds an MSc in the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich and an MBA from Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford.
He speaks English and German, intermediate French and is learning Spanish.
Jean-Michel Severino succeeded Patrice Hoppenot in May 2011 as CEO of "Investisseurs et Partenaires" (I&P), an impact investing and private equity firm, which focuses on small and medium-sized enterprises and microfinance institutions in Africa.
Severino chairs the board of Ecobank International. He serves as chair of the audit committee for Danone’s board and is a member of its corporate social responsibility committee. He is also a member of the board of Orange (France Telecom).
Prior to assuming the CEO role at Investisseur & Partenaire, Severino was chief executive officer of the Agence Française de Développement from 2001 to April 2010 and Vie President from Asia from 1996 to 2000.
Severino graduated from ESCP (1978) and IEP (1980) before entering the Ecole Nationale Administration (1984). He holds a degree in Law (Paris II, 1978) and a Master of Sciences in Economics (Paris IX Dauphine, 1979).
Otar Danelia is a Member of Parliament of Georgia and former Minister of Agriculture. He has been acting as Head of Agrarian Issues Committee since October 2016. He is also a member of the Environmental Protection and Natural Resources Committee.
In 2014, Danelia was appointed as first Deputy Minister of Agriculture before being appointed Minister of Agriculture. Prior to that, he served as head of the Interior Ministry’s Service Agency and acted deputy head of logistics department at the Interior Ministry since 2013. Danelia has also worked in Georgian companies including SilkNet and Bank Republic, as well as in international organizations.
Danelia studied law at the University of Tbilisi.
Roberto Ridolfi is Director of the European Commission for Sustainable Growth and Development at Directorate General for International Cooperation and Development.
Twice Ambassador/ Head of delegation to the European Union, Ridolfi was first Ambassador for the Pacific where he served from 2005 to 2007. In 2010 he was appointed in Uganda by the High Representative for Foreign Policy of the EU where he served until September 2013.
In between, as Head of Unit of Europe Aid, he managed programmes dealing with environment and climate change, food security, human development and migration as well as the One-Billion-Euro Food Facility in 50 countries.
Ridolfi joined the European Commission in 1994 and worked in several delegations and offices of the EU (Malawi, Namibia, and Kosovo). Between 2001-2004, he was the principal coordinator dealing with environment, transport and Public-Private-Partnerships (PPP).
Ridolfi holds a MSc in Engineering, an MBA and a PhD in A. Technology and has an extensive private sector and academic experience (1985 – 1994).
Rupinder Singh Sodhi, age 58 years, is Managing Director of Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation, Ltd., (AMUL), which is India’s largest Food Products organization with turnover of US$ 3.4 Billion in 2015-16. Sodhi has 35 years of rich experience in leading and developing cooperative sector within Indian dairy industry which generates livelihood for 3.6 million of dairy farmers and serves one billion Indian consumers.
During his six-year tenure as Managing Director of AMUL, he ensured a 90 per cent increase in milk procurement prices and 87 per cent increase in milk procurement. Under his leadership, AMUL has initiated strategic productivity enhancement programme, fertility improvement programme, calf rearing and total mixed ration project to improve milk productivity of animals. To support the Government of India’s cashless transaction after demonetization, AMUL has opened one million new bank accounts and started paying 100 per cent payment of milk producer members through banking channel.
For more than three decades, Sodhi has worked under direct guidance and mentorship of the father of white revolution, Dr. Verghese Kurien, and has ensured that values cherished by him, such as integrity, dedication, courage, honesty, commitment to farmers and to consumers, remain deeply ingrained in the culture of AMUL.
Sodhi has obtained his Bachelor (Agriculture) degree from CTAE, Udaipur, India and he is first-batch alumnus from IRMA, Anand, India.
Tuga Alaskary has been working for the African Risk Capacity (ARC) Specialized Agency of the African Union since 2010. ARC is a sovereign weather-index insurance initiative providing governments with contingency financing in the event of extreme weather events. In her current role as a Country Engagement Manager for the ARC, Alaskary manages a portfolio of country programmes. Prior to this, she was a Liaison Officer at the Office of the Prime Minister of Iraq where she took a leading role in a national civil service reform initiative with the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq. She has also worked for various NGOs, the United Kingdom's civil service and in academic institutions in London and Baghdad. A British and Iraqi national, Alaskari has a B.A. honours degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from the University of Essex and an MSc in Development Studies from the University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies.
Laura Frigenti was appointed Director of the newly established Italian Agency for Development Cooperation in January 2016. Before then she spent over 20 years in the USA where she held various positions at the World Bank and in other public organizations.
She joined the World Bank in 1994 and she held several technical and senior manager positions, including Country Director for Central America and the Andean Countries, Director of Strategy and Operations for both Latin America and Caribbean and Africa, Chief of Staff to the President and Director of the President’s Office. During her career, Frigenti designed some of the Bank’s most innovative programs, and was deeply involved in organizational reforms.
After leaving the World Bank in 2014, Frigenti was Vice-President for the Global Development Practice at InterAction, the largest umbrella organization of US NGOs where she dealt extensively with issues related to public/private partnership, transparency and accountability, and private funding for development. She brings in-depth knowledge and expertise of Africa, Central Asia, Europe and Latin America region, with direct experience in leading the dialogue with political and business leaders in over 30 countries.
Before joining the World Bank, she worked at the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Directorate General for Development Cooperation; the Instituto per la Cooperazione Economica (ICEPS) where she led the think tank’s effort around international development; the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean in Chile and the Instituto di Studi Italo Africani.
Frigenti holds a Master's degree in History and International Affairs from the University of Rome, la Sapienza.
Frank Rubio is currently Oikocredit’s Global Head of Agriculture. Oikocredit is a Netherlands-based social investor that operates in 70 countries worldwide, working for the triple-bottom-line of people, planet and profit. Rubio has 25 years’ experience in microfinance and agricultural development through organizations such as Catholic Relief Services, CARE-USA and the Inter-American Development Bank. He currently supervises a team of 7 professionals responsible for the growth quality and impact of Oikocredit’s worldwide agricultural lending portfolio which currently values at €170 million. Oikocredit’s AgriUnit works closely with smallholder farmers to provide adequate and flexible financial services that meet the growing demands of our agricultural partners and increase our social impact worldwide.
Rocco Macchiavello holds a PhD in Economics from London School of Economics (LSE), where he is currently an Associate Professor in Management. He is also a Research Associate of the University of Warwick’s Policy Lab that is based in London.
Previously, Macchiavello was a Post-Doctoral Fellow at Nuffield College (Oxford University), at the Harvard Kennedy School, and a Professor of Economics at Warwick University. Macchiavello acts as Lead Academic for the IGC – Myanmar Country Programme and is a research affiliate with the Centre for Economic Policy Research, the Bureau for Research and Economic Analysis of Development and IPA. He is an Associate Editor for Economic Development and Cultural Change and for the Journal of Law, Economics and Organization and he is on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Development Economics and Economica.
Macchiavello's research interests lie at the intersection of development, organisational and industrial economics. His research covers several topics (relational contracts, vertical integration, supply chain, lending models, risk management, management and productivity), countries (Bangladesh, Chile, Costa Rica, Colombia, Ethiopia, India, Kenya, Myanmar, Pakistan and Rwanda), and sectors (coffee, flowers, dairy and garments). For his research, he has collaborated with numerous government agencies, international organizations, social enterprises and large companies. His current research studies focus on industrial zones, industrial policy and agricultural value chains in emerging markets and, more broadly, markets and firms in weakly institutionalized environments. He is also interested in researching organized crime and international drug trafficking.
Mark Cackler is Manager, Agriculture and Food Security, at the World Bank, working on agricultural transformation in Africa.
Cackler joined the World Bank in 1981, after working for John Deere, an agricultural equipment manufacturer, in both the US and Thailand. Initial assignments in the World Bank included agriculture and natural resources units for East Africa, China, Indonesia and the Pacific Islands, and in the World Bank's New Delhi Office, where he led the World Bank’s commercial agriculture portfolio in India. In 2000, he was appointed Manager of the Agriculture and Rural Development for Latin America and the Caribbean, and in 2007 Cackler was appointed Manager of the central agriculture and rural development department, where he managed World Bank global programs and partnerships for agriculture and food security, including the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP), the Global Food Safety Partnership, the Global Donor Platform for Rural Development, AgriFin (on agricultural finance), AgResults (on private sector innovations), and other programs dealing with climate smart agriculture, agricultural technology, gender in agricultural livelihoods, livestock, and agricultural risk management. In May 2015, Cackler was appointed as Manager for the unit responsible for World Bank activities dealing with agricultural transformation in Africa.
Cackler is from the United States and was raised in Moline, Illinois. He has economics degrees from Oberlin College, Ohio, and the University of Jyvaskyla in Finland, and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Ousmane Ndiaye, a Senegalese national, has an extensive experience in supporting, counselling and backing up professional agricultural organizations in West and Central Africa. He is currently Director-General of the Senegalese Association for the Promotion of Grass-root Development, which is a National Federation of Organizations and Cooperatives of farmers, pastoralists, fishermen and rural women.
Since the year 2000, he has been supporting the Network of Farmers' Organizations and Agricultural Producers of West Africa, which brings together the Professional Agricultural Organizations of 13 countries of the Economic Community of West African States (CEDEAO). For the past two decades, he has participated in several missions to formulate projects to strengthen the capacity of farmers' organizations and develop agricultural value chains.
His work consisted in analysing the Farmers' Organizations strengths and weaknesses, their institutional arrangements, and proposing interventions in technical, organizational and financial and administrative management. He also assisted in the design and development of partnerships between Producers' Organizations and processing industries, commercial banks, traders and public services to support the development of the agricultural sector.
Ndiaye speaks and writes French fluently.
Lindiwe Majele Sibanda is the Chief Executive Officer and Head of Mission for the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN), coordinating policy research and advocacy programs aimed at making Africa a food and nutrition secure region. She is an authoritative leader in agriculture, climate change and nutrition with over 25 years of trans-disciplinary experience. Sibanda served as a trustee and adviser to the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research centres as Board Chair for the livestock centre (ILRI) and trustee for maize and wheat (CIMMYT), and advisor to programmes on water, land and ecosystems (WLE); climate change, agriculture and food systems (CCAFS); policy, markets and institutions (PIM). She serves as a Commissioner for the EAT-Lancet Commission and member of the UN Committee for Policy Development. She is currently leading a multi-country research and technical assistance project on Agriculture to Nutrition. She holds a BSc Degree (University of Alexandria, Egypt), MSc and PhD from the University of Reading, UK.
Ambassador Pietro Sebastiani was born in Capannori (Lucca) in 1957, and entered the diplomatic corps in 1984. He has served in Moscow, New York, Paris and Brussels. He has served as Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations Organisation and was Italy's Ambassador to Spain between 2013 and 2016.
Sebastiani was a member of the Cabinet of the Ministers for Foreign Affairs Andreatta, Elia, Martino, Agnelli and Dini from 1993 to 1996. He was Diplomatic Advisor to the Speaker of the House of Deputies in the 14th Parliament and from 2005 to 2008 he was the Diplomatic Advisor to the President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union in Geneva.
Sebastiani graduated in Political Sciences with a major in International Law from the "Cesare Alfieri" University of Florence and took courses in International Economics at Harvard University and in International Journalism at Columbia University, New York. He carried out research for two years at the European University Institute of Fiesole and in other British universities, archives and libraries. He is the author of books, papers and articles on historic and political issues.
Sebastiani belongs to a number of associations, which include the Accademia degli Incamminati. He was member of the Board of Directors of Cotec-Italia. In 2015 he was awarded the Master de Oro in Economics by the Spanish Real Forum de Alta Direccion.
He has received many awards in Italy and from countries including Austria, Bulgaria, Chile, Germany, Luxembourg, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia, Spain, Hungary and Uruguay. He is the founder and Honorary President of the Italian Association of the Sudden Infant Death Syndrome "Seeds for SIDS".
He speaks fluent English, French and Spanish and has studied German, Russian and Dutch.
Siobhan Benita is the Chief Strategy Officer of Warwick in London and Co-Director of the Warwick Policy Lab at the University of Warwick. Before that, Benita was the Chief Policy and Strategy Officer for the University’s Department of Economics.
Previously, Benita was a senior civil servant with over 15 years’ of government experience. She worked in many of the major departments, including Transport, Environment, Health and Local Government as well as spending several years at the heart of government with senior roles in the Cabinet Office and HM Treasury.
Benita left the Civil Service in January 2012 to run as an independent candidate in the Mayor of London election, where she secured around 250,000 votes. She has broad experience of TV and radio commentary and speaks regularly on issues, including public policy and gender equality.
Pedro Martel joined the Inter-American Development Bank in 1998 as a Research Assistant in the Natural Resources and Environment Division serving Central America, Mexico and the Dominican Republic. In 2001, he started working as a project economist for the Southern Cone Region of the Bank in the Natural Resources and Environment Division. From 2005 to 2013, Martel worked in the Bank’s country offices in Paraguay and Guatemala as an agriculture and rural development specialist, designing and supervising investment projects. In 2013, Martel was transferred to IDB Headquarters in Washington DC, where he worked as a lead agricultural economist. On March 1, 2016, he was appointed Chief for the Environment, Rural Development and Disaster Risk Management Division. Martel, a citizen of Honduras, holds a PhD in Agricultural Economics from Michigan State University and a BS in Agriculture from the University of San Pedro Sula, Honduras.
Sean de Cleene is Chief Strategy and Partnerships Officer at Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). Responsible for overseeing business and market development strategies, innovative financing and strategic partnerships. Former positions include: Senior Vice President, Global Initiatives, Strategy and Business Development, Yara International; Chair, World Economic Forum New Vision for Agriculture incorporating multi-stakeholder partnerships in 14 countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America including partnering to form both Grow Africa and Grow Asia; Founding Co-Chair Grow Africa; Seconded as Special Adviser, UN Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Food Security and Nutrition.
De Cleene previously also successfully jointly initiated a number of respected cross sector partnership platforms and initiatives including inter alia Grow Africa, African Green Revolution Forum, Beira Agricultural Growth Corridor, Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania, Malawi Agriculture Partnership, UNEP Finance Initiative Africa Taskforce, African Institute of Corporate Citizenship, the Johannesburg Stock Exchange Sustainability Index.
Eniola Mafe, a Nigerian national, currently serves as Programs Manager for the Niger Delta Partnership Initiative (NDPI) Foundation, responsible for advocacy and business development activities of NPDI and also supporting the design, enhancement, monitoring and evaluation of NDPI and its Nigerian sister-organization, PIND Foundation. NDPI’s strategic objective is to reduce poverty and increase socio-economic benefits by implementing interventions that create stability, equitable increases in employment and incomes of individuals in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. At NDPI, Mafe works with a range of partners to tackle the myriad of complex and interrelated impediments to sustainable development, with a focus on the development of robust market systems. This includes the development and strengthening of value chains, specifically aquaculture, cassava, palm oil and sector agnostic business linkages.
Mafe joined NDPI in 2013 after serving as program manager on Africa at Vital Voices Global Partnership in Washington, D.C. focusing on organizational development, entrepreneurship and economic development in sub-Saharan Africa. Mafe was named one of the 99 most influential foreign policy leaders under the age of 33, or the “99 Under 33,” by Diplomatic Courier and Young Professionals in Foreign Policy in 2011 and one of 13 Young Africans Business/Economic Leaders to Watch in 2013 by Ventures Africa Magazine. Previously Mafe worked at the Women’s World Banking Ghana in Accra and Bank of America Merrill Lynch in New York City. She holds a M.A. from Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Washington, D.C. and a B.A from Spelman College.
Silvia Paraguya is the Chief Executive Officer of the National Confederation of Cooperatives (NATCCO). NATCCO is a federation of 834 cooperatives with consolidated assets of US$2.36 Billion owned by 3.7M individual members. NATCCO’s services include the Central Fund, Information Technology, Education Training and Consultancy, Microfinance Innovation in Cooperatives and Member Relations and Networking.
She is the Chairperson of CODE-NGO, the biggest coalition of NGO Networks in the Philippines, as well as the of the Network Consolidated Cooperative Bank and Balay Mindanaw Foundation, Inc. She has also been the Chair of the National Cooperative Development Council and Philippine Cooperative Centre.
She is a member of the Coop Sector Council of the National Anti-Poverty Commission. She has once been appointed as the Co-Chair of the Regional Development Council X, and is a former member of the Government Panel negotiating with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
A chemical engineer, she is a graduate of Master in Business Management of Asian Institute of Management, Makati City. She is a proud member of the Higaonon tribe of Bukidnon.