Moussa Faki Mahamat
Chairperson of the African Union Commission
Moussa Faki Mahamat was born on 21st June 1960 in the town of Biltine in the eastern Chad. He attended University in Brazzaville in the Republic of the Congo, where he studied Law. He was the Director-General of two ministries before serving as the Director-General of the National Sugar Company (SONASUT) between 1996 and 1999.
Subsequently, he served as Director of the Cabinet of President Déby from March 1999 to July 2002 and he was Déby’s campaign director for the May 2001 Presidential election. Faki was then appointed as Minister of Public Works and Transport in the government of Prime Minister Haroun Kabadi, which was named on June 12, 2002. After a year, he was appointed as Prime Minister by Déby on June 24, 2003.
Faki was nominated as a member of the Economic, Social and Cultural Council on 19th January 2007, and was then elected as the Council’s President in mid-February 2007. In the government of Prime Minister Youssouf Saleh Abbas, he was appointed as Minister of Foreign Affairs, which was announced on 23rd April 2008.
On 30th January 2017, he was elected to succeed South Africa’s Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as the Chairperson of the African Union Commission. Faki took office as Chairperson of the AU Commission on 14 March 2017.
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),
Member of Pan African University Council, Chairperson Kenya University and Colleges Placement Board, Board Member Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO), Commissioner- Commission for University Education (CUE)-Kenya, Board Member Universities, Business and Research in Agricultural Innovation (UniBRAIN), Jury member L’Oréal for Women in Science (FWIS), Scientific Elder, (IDRC), Immediate former Chairperson of Inter University Council for Eastern
Africa, Immediate former chairperson of Vice Chancellors Committee- Public Universities Kenya, and Director International Network of Women Engineers and Scientists representing Anglophone Africa.
Prof Imbuga is a member of several professional associations across the world, a former president and founder of the African Women in Science and Engineering (AWSE); immediate former Director of International Network of Women Engineers and Scientists ; Member, Global Consortium of Higher Education and Research for Agriculture (GCHERA) and member, International Conference of Women Engineers and Scientists (ICWES) and Research Scientist- ICIPE.
Prof. Imbuga has extensive knowledge and demonstrative experience in the higher education system, having scaled the ranks from technical roles starting as Assistant Lecturer, to leadership roles a Chairperson of Department, Dean, Director and Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Academic affairs before she took on her current appointment.
Imbuga is a key resource in strategic management and leadership, with an MBA in strategic management. She is a Pan Africanist and a key reformer in the higher education setup in Africa, having successfully driven a number of key projects, including strengthening the higher education stakeholder relations in Africa and the recent launch of Pan African University Institute hub of Basic Science Technology and Innovation (PAUSTI), housed in JKUAT, Kenya. She is a mover and doer of successful African projects in higher education, resulting in increased access and transformation of the higher education. She has participated in various forums and key Government seminars as a motivational speaker for upcoming leaders and scientists. Imbuga has over 10 funded projects and several publications. She has attracted international funding for various projects cutting across various disciplines.
Peter Mulwa Felix Mbithi
Vice- Chancellor, University of Nairobi
Prof. Peter Mulwa Felix Mbithi is the Vice-Chancellor, at the University of Nairobi and Professor of Veterinary Surgery, University Of Nairobi (UoN). Born in 1956, Prof. Mbithi graduated from the University of Nairobi (UoN) with a Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine (BVM) in 1983 and an MSc. in Clinical Studies in 1985. In 1987, Prof. Mbithi graduated with a Master of Veterinary Science (M.V.Sc. Veterinary Anesthesiology Radiology and Surgery) from University of Saskatchewan, Canada. Between 1986 and 1987, he did a Surgical Residency – Advanced Surgical Specialty Program at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, Western College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada. In 1995, Prof. Mbithi completed his PhD at UoN. Between 1995 and 2003 he was Chairman, Department of Clinical Studies, in 2003 he was elected as the Dean, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine until he was appointed as the Principal, College of Agriculture and Veterinary Sciences in 2004. In 2005 he was competitively appointed as Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Administration and Finance, a position he held until 2015. He was appointed the Vice Chancellor University of Nairobi January 6, 2015. He has supervised MSc students and PhD students and has published extensively in peer-reviewed journals and is a member of several professional organizations. Clinical veterinary medicine and orthopeadic surgery, wounding and traumatology with special interest in lameness, joint surgery and athritides are some of Prof. Mbithi research interests.
Senior Program officer/Senior Regional Advisor in Agricultural Development at the 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. She led the establishment of the Agricultural Development Division (ADD), part of the Tanzania Presidential Delivery Bureau (PDB). She supports the Ag team in building in-country relationships that are critical to the success of the foundation work, tracking and monitoring investments to ensure foundation investments are catalytic and leverage other in-country resources in the sector. She also develops and manages a portfolio of institutional strengthening investments in extension/farmer organizations and higher education space to respond to and needs of small holder farmers. Mercy has a diversified management and leadership experience across multiple industries, academia, public, private, non- profit and donor partners. Prior to joining the foundation in 2008, she was a Global Development Policy Coordinator with the International Federation of Agricultural Producers (IFAP) in Paris. She served in the Kenya Ministry of Agriculture/livestock, lecturer at Egerton University and Chief Executive of the Kenya National Federation of Agricultural Producers and served in many international committees to tackle rural poverty. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Agriculture from the University of Nairobi and Post graduate in Extension and rural development from Reading University UK. Her passion is to improve the livelihoods of farmers.
Director Education and Learning,Mastercard Foundation.
Peter brings a strategic perspective to the Education and Learning and Youth Livelihoods teams at the Foundation. Peter has made major contributions to education in Africa. Before joining the Foundation, Peter was the Practice Manager for Education in West and Central Africa at the World Bank. He conceived the Africa Centers of Excellence initiative, which is advancing STEM education in multiple African universities across the continent. Peter also serves as the Chair of the Executive Committee of the Association for the Development of Education in Africa. He holds a PhD in Engineering and two master’s degrees in education and engineering, respectively.
Executive Secretary, Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM)
Prof. Adipala Ekwamu is the Executive Secretary of the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM), a consortium of 60 African Universities that provides research and postgraduate training opportunities for students and faculties in Africa. He provides overall leadership in the running of the RUFORUM Secretariat. Since his appointment in 2004, he has transformed RUFORUM from a member based organisation of 10 Universities in five countries in Eastern and Southern Africa, to now an Africa-wide consortium of 60 universities in 25 countries. Under his leadership, RUFORUM has supported the training of over 1,500 MSc and 350 PhD students that are working across Africa. He has teamed up with several higher education networks both within and outside Africa to advocate for higher education in Africa, and has helped to establish and strengthen postgraduate training programs and academic mobility programmes for students and faculty across Africa. Prof. Adipala Ekwamu is the founding editor of the African Crop Science Journal, and author of 200 peer reviewed journal publications.
He founded the African Crop Science Society in 1993, which is today one of the most respected professional societies in Africa. He also helped to found the African Journal of Rural Development which released its first two issues in 2016. He received his Doctoral Degree in Plant Pathology from The Ohio State University in 1992, and taught in the Department of Crop Science at Uganda’s Makerere University from 1980 to 2003. In 2010, Prof. Adipala Ekwamu earned the Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences International Alumni Award.
He is a Fellow of Uganda National Academy of Sciences. Away from higher education, Prof. Adipala engages in community development activities and has built a school that currently supports close to 1000 primary school students in his home district. He has also launched a secondary school, in the same community, as part of efforts to increase access to quality basic education for marginalised rural communities in Uganda.
Judith Ann Francis,
Senior Programme Coordinator, Science and Technology Policy at the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation
Judith Ann Francis is Senior Programme Coordinator, Science and Technology Policy at CTA in The Netherlands. She is presently the Executive Secretary of the European Forum on Agricultural Research for Development (EFARD) and a member of the International Advisory Panel of the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) in Africa. Since joining CTA in 2003, Judith has been responsible for promoting science, technology and innovation (STI) for agricultural and rural development (ARD) in the 79 African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States. She has championed the innovation systems concept, foresighting, women scientists and young professionals, increasing investments in research and innovation, engagement of research and academic communities in STI policy processes, and strengthening the STI collaboration within and across the ACP regions and between the ACP and European partners. Judith presently represents CTA in two EU FP7 projects; CAASTNet Plus (Africa/EU) and PACENet Plus (Pacific/EU) on bi-regional STI collaboration for addressing the global challenges on food and nutrition security, climate change and health.
She also represents CTA in the EU funded PAEPARD project for strengthening Africa/EU cooperation and greater engagement of non-research actors in agricultural research for development. Judith also oversaw the direction and management of the CTA Science and Technology portal “Knowledge for Development” http://knowledge.cta.int/ Prior to joining CTA, Judith worked with the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), coordinating a multi-country project on tropical fruits, technology and innovation and prior to that as a researcher/food technologist with the Caribbean Industrial Research Institute (CARIRI).
She has also lectured at undergraduate and postgraduate levels in Food Science and Human Nutrition. Judith holds a diploma in Management, post graduate degrees in Food Technology and Human Nutrition; BSc in Science (honours) and; certificates in the Management of Technology and Innovation, STI Policy and the Evaluation of Science and Innovation Policies. She has pursued international fellowships in France and The Netherlands and held various positions in professional organizations including having served as president of the Caribbean Association of Food Science and Technology and the Caribbean Association of Nutritionists and Dieticians. Judith has also served on several national and international boards, including the board of SciDev.net, and has authored and edited several publications, among them, Life stories of African women and young professionals in science.
Deputy Executive Secretary, RUFORUM
Dr. Moses Osiru is RUFORUM’s Deputy Executive Secretary and oversees programming at the RUFORUM Secretariat in Kampala. He has over 15 years’ experience in the agricultural and higher education sectors, including close to ten years within the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). As Regional Pathologist with the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), Moses supported small holder farmers to improve groundnut production and marketing, including through mitigating aflatoxin contamination in groundnut in Burkina Faso, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, and Ghana (based in Bamako, Mali) and in Eastern and Southern Africa (based in Lilongwe, Malawi). Dr. Osiru supported farmers in East and Central Africa to combat Banana Xanthomonas Wilt and other banana diseases through research and development activities at Bioversity and its BARNESA network in East and Central Africa. During his time with the Ministry of Agriculture (PMA Secretariat, NARS Secretariat) in Uganda, Dr. Osiru participated in the review and reform of agricultural research in Uganda that led to the new agricultural research policy in 2004. He led the development of ECOWAS’s Strategy and Action Plan for the Control of aflatoxins in West and Central Africa and a needs assessment for African agricultural research and training institutions to enhance collaboration with Brazil. Moses continues to teach plant pathology related courses at Makerere University.
Dr. Osiru currently serves on various Boards and Steering Committees including the African Crop Science Society; the International Network for Higher Education in Africa (INHEA), the Global Confederation of Higher Education Associations (GCHERA), the Swedish Agriculture for Food Security 2030 Initiative (AgriFose) and the Acacia International School. He also sits on editorial boards of various Journals, including the Journal of Phytology [ISSN: 2075-6240]. He was a member of the Founding Steering Group of the African Forum on Agricultural Advisory Services (AFAAS).
Dr. Osiru holds a PhD in Agriculture (Plant Pathology) and MSc (Plant Breeding/ Pathology) from Makerere University. He has over 30 research publications, four of which are book chapters.