Key Speakers


Her Excellency Dr. Mrs. Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, 
The President of the Republic of Mauritius

Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, prior to joining the State House, was the Managing Director of the Centre International de Dévelopement Pharmaceutique (CIDP) Research and Innovation as well as Professor of Organic Chemistry with an endowed chair at the University of Mauritius. Ms Gurib-Fakim earned a BSc in Chemistry from the University of Surrey, UK (1983), and a PhD from the University of Exeter (1987), at which time she began working at the University of Mauritius.



H.E. Dr. Nkosazana Clarice Dlamini Zuma, 
The Chair African Union

She is an indisputable trailblazer in the upliftment and empowerment of women across the African continent. Her career as a struggle activist and politician is testimony to her indestructible and courageous spirit. She was born on 27 January 1949 in KwaZulu-Natal, a time when black women’s career expectations did not go beyond domestic work. She, however, was not to be limited. She completed her high school studies at Amanzimtoti Training College in 1967.


Reeta Roy is President and CEO of The MasterCard Foundation,

A passionate advocate for economically disadvantaged people in developing countries, Reeta has worked tirelessly to create a foundation that is client-centric, collaborative and known for its lasting impact in Africa. Reeta is happiest when she is in the field, connecting directly with the people who are touched by the programs the Foundation supports.




Naledi Pandor
Minister of Science and Technology, Republic of South Africa

Naledi Pandor is South Africa's Minister of Science and Technology. A life of exile from 1961 until 1984 gave her education an international dimension. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Botswana and Swaziland, and a Master’s degree in Education from the University of London. In 1992 she studied for a Diploma in Higher Education, Administration and Leadership at Bryn Mawr in the USA. 



Prof. Mabel Opanda Imbuga, Vice Chancellor, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology  ,

Prof. Mabel Imbuga is the Vice Chancellor of Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, a public university in Kenya, well known for its leading role in Agriculture, Science, Technology and Innovation in the African Continent. She is a Professor of Biochemistry, with over 35 years of teaching, scholarly and leadership experience. She holds several positions both nationally and internationally, among them, Chairperson Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM), 



Dr. Kamau-Rutenberg Director, African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD).

Through its investments in Africa’s leading women agricultural scientists, AWARD serves as a catalyst for innovations with high potential to contribute to the prosperity and well-being of African smallholder farmers.Dr. Kamau-Rutenberg has received widespread recognition for her work investing in women, including being honored as a White House Champion of Change,

Norah Asio Ebukalin, Executive Director, Popular Knowledge Women’s Initiative (P’KWI)

Norah Asio Ebukalin, is an illustrious farmer, community mobilizer and a living testimony of the transformative power of community-university engagement. Norah has demonstrated the working power of community mobilisation to transform rural livelihoods through focused engagement with women and harnessing knowledge and technologies from Universities and other research actors. As the Executive Director of the Popular Knowledge Women’s Initiative (P’KWI),  


Prof. Johan van Zyl, Professor Extraordinary
Stellenbosch University

Prof. Johan van Zyl is the past Chief Executive Office of Sanlam and Professor Extraordinary in the departments of Agricultural Economics and Economics at Stellenbosch University. He currently serves as the Joint Chief Executive Officer of African Rainbow Capital Proprietary Limited, Managing Director of Altech Alcom Matomo Limited and Chairman of African Life Assurance Company Limited. 
Prof Van Zyl has been a Non-Executive Director of Sanlam Limited since January 18, 2016 after serving as an Executive Director from 2001 to 2015.


Lindiwe Majele Sibanda, CEO and Head of Mission, Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN)

Lindiwe Majele Sibanda has over the past 27 years worked as a research fellow, university lecturer, business owner, cattle farmer, chief executive officer of a food security policy think tank and head of an international diplomatic organization. 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. Since 2004,



Mercy Karanja, Senior Program officer/Senior Regional Advisor in Agricultural Development, Bill and Melinda Gates foundation.

Mercy Karanja is a Senior Program officer/Senior Regional Advisor in Agricultural Development at the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation. In her Senior Regional Advisor (SRA) role, she develops and manages investments to strengthen national institutions and systems from the national to local level to ensure enhanced service delivery to small holder farmers.


Jon Lomoy
Director General,  Norwegian Agency for Development Corporation (NORAD)

Mr. Lomoy, is the former Director of the OECD Development Co-operation Directorate DCD where he played a key role in supporting the Millennium Development Goals.  He has spent much of his career dedicated to Africa and to development.  He worked at various times with NORAD as the Head of the Eastern Africa Division and as Director of the Africa Department.  He has been the Ambassador of Norway in both Zambia and Tanzania, served in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as Deputy Director General of the Department for Asia, Latin America and the Middle East, and was instrumental in establishing the Oil for Development Programme.  He has championed efforts to address climate change, child and maternal health and sustainable development and has worked to decentralise support and encourage local ownership



Mr Senzeni Zokwana
Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Republic of South Africa

Mr Senzeni Zokwana was appointed the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of the Republic of South Africa in 2014. He is also Chairperson of the South African Communist Party and a Member of Parliament.
Mr Zokwana previously served as the President of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM). He became involved in trade union activism in 1980 during the apartheid-era in South Africa at the President Steyn Gold Mine in the Free State. He joined the ranks of NUM in 1983, became a shaft steward in 1984 and was elected to the branch executive committee in the President Steyn Mine in 1985.  

Chimwemwe Chamdimba, Senior Programme Officer at the AU/NEPAD Agency

Chimwemwe Felistas Chamdimba is a Senior Programme Officer at the AU/NEPAD Agency in the Industrialization, Science, Technology, and Innovation Hub. She is responsible for policy and regulatory reforms, and regional harmonization. In her work at the NEPAD Agency, Chimwemwe has effectively contributed to key policy processes at the continental level including the development of the Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa (STISA-2024); the revision of the African Union Health Strategy; and the development of the African Union Model Law on Medical Product Regulation.


Dr Shadrack Ralekeno Moephuli
President and CEO,Agricultural Research Council, SA

Dr. Moephuli has been President and Chief Executive Officer of the Agricultural Research Council (ARC), South Africa, since 2006. Prior to joining the ARC, he served in the Department of Agriculture of South Africa, first as Director Genetic Resources from 1999-2003 and later as Chief Director Agricultural Production from 2003-2006. His responsibilities in the Department included developing and implementing policies and strategies for agricultural production as well as serving as technical advisor to the Ministry of Agriculture. 

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