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Event Host & Moderator


Femi Oke
Femi Oke

  Femi Oke, International Journalist & Presenter

   Femi Oke is an international journalist, writer and moderator. Since the 1980s, she has worked for BBC

   television and radio, Sky TV, all U.K. terrestrial television networks, CNN and U.S. public radio. Oke’s reporting

   has been recognized by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the African       

   Communications Agency and InterAction.


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Speakers (in alphabetical order)

Agnes Kalibata

Dr. Agnes Kalibata, Special Envoy for the 2021 Food Systems Summit

As the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy, Dr. Kalibata works with the United Nations system and key partners to provide leadership, guidance, and strategic direction towards the 2021 Food Systems Summit. She is responsible for outreach and cooperation with key leaders, including governments, to ensure the Summit serves as a catalytic process within the Decade of Action to improve food systems around the world to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Paris Agreement. 

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Claudia Sadoff, Managing Director, Research Delivery and Impact, CGIAR System Organization

Claudia Sadoff is a globally-recognized leader in water management for international development. She most recently served as the Director General of the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), a CGIAR Center headquartered in Sri Lanka working globally to find water solutions for sustainable, climate-resilient development. She also served as a member of the CGIAR System Management Board, acting as CGIAR Gender Champion.

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Dave Prescott

Dave Prescott, Creative Director, The Partnering Initiative

Dave Prescott has over fifteen years’ experience in cross-sector partnership and sustainability, with a particular focus on communications and project management. Dave supports strategic communications at TPI. He was the lead writer for ‘Unleashing the power of business’, a TPI report designed to enhance the role of business in the post-2015 development agenda and has co-authored two partnering toolkits, one focussed on Zambia and another on non-communicable disease.

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Gerd Muller

Dr Gerd Muller, Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, BMZ

Since 2013, Dr. Müller has severed as Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). Previously, from 2005-2013, he served as Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection, and was responsible for international relations, development projects and world food affairs. Prior to his political career, he was Deputy Head of the Office for Foreign Relations of the Hanns Seidel Foundation and a policy officer at the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs.

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Gilbert Houngbo

Gilbert Houngbo, President, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)

Gilbert F. Houngbo became the 6th President of IFAD on 1 April 2017. Born and raised in rural Togo, Houngbo has spent more than 30 years working to improve the lives of some of the world’s most vulnerable people, with extensive experience in political affairs, international development, diplomacy and financial management. Most recently, Houngbo was the Deputy Director-General of the ILO where he led field operations in more than 100 countries and managed its bilateral and multilateral partnerships. 

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Ibrahima Coulibaly

Ibrahima Coulibaly, President, West Africa Farmers Organizations Network (ROPPA)

Ibrahima Coulibaly was appointed by his peers at the 7th Convention of ROPPA. He is a farmer active in the fields of horticulture, arboriculture and cereal production. A tireless promoter of family farming, he is one of the founders of the National Coordination of Producers of Mali, which he has been leading since 2005. In 2006, he was one of the initiators of the Agricultural Orientation Law, which enshrined the concept of food sovereignty and recognized the centrality of family farming in agricultural policy. 

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Jaron Porciello

Jaron Porciello, Co-Director, Ceres2030: Sustainable Solutions to End Hunger

Jaron Porciello is an information scientist and a faculty fellow at the David R. Atkinson Center for Sustainable Development at Cornell University. She is Associate Director for Research Data Engagement in International Programs, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (IP-CALS). For more than a decade, Jaron has worked with agricultural research communities, publishers, UN agencies, donors, and development groups across Sub-Saharan Africa.

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Jeanine M. Cooper

Honorable Jeanine M. Cooper, Minister of Agriculture, Liberia

Honorable Jeanine M. Cooper was nominated to be the Minister of Agriculture in January 2020. As a new minister, she has detailed a vision of transformation of Liberian agriculture, a vision centered on elevation of Liberian farmers from subsistence farming to commercial smallholders and products produced sustainably and organically. Minister Cooper founded FABRAR Liberia, currently Liberia’s largest rice processor and producer, in 2009, and has been managing the company since January 2017.

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Maria Flachsbarth

Dr. Maria Flachsbarth, Parliamentary State Secretary, BMZ

Since 2018, Dr. Flachsbarth has served as Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). Previously, from 2013-2018, she served as Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture. She holds doctoral and postgraduate degrees in Veterinary Medicine from University of Veterinary Medicine (TiHo), Hanover. Since 2011, she has been a member of the Central Committee of German Catholics and President of the German Catholic Women's Association.

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Martien van Nieuwkoop

Martien van Nieuwkoop, Global Director, World Bank

As the Global Director for the Agriculture and Food Global Practice in the World Bank’s Sustainable Development Practice Group, Martien provides leadership to the formulation and implementation of the Bank’s strategy and knowledge in agriculture and food, oversees the operationalization of the Bank’s vision on agriculture and food in regional and country programs, acts as senior spokesperson for agriculture and food Bank-wide and manages the Agriculture and Food Global Practice.

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Maximo Torero

Maximo Torero, Chief Economist, FAO

Dr Maximo Torero Cullen is the Chief Economist of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). He joined the Organization in January 2019 as Assistant Director-General for the Economic and Social Development Department. Prior to that, he was the World Bank Group Executive Director for Argentina, Bolivia, Chile Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay since November 2016. Before, Dr. Torero led the Division of the Markets, Trade, and Institutions at the International Food Policy Research Institute. 

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Natasha Hayward

Natasha Hayward, Program Head, GAFSP

Natasha Hayward joined the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP) as Deputy Program Manager in 2015, after four years in the World Bank’s Indonesia office, where she co-managed a multi-donor financed, Government-led facility to support implementation and innovation around Indonesia's nation-wide rural poverty reduction program. As of April 2019, she assumed the role of Program Head for GAFSP and now leads the Coordination Unit’s work, including GAFSP’s forward-looking strategy for 2030. 

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Noel Bataka

Noël Koutera Bataka, former Minister of Agriculture, Togo

Mr. Noël Koutera Bataka served as the Minister of Agriculture, Animal Production and Fisheries of Togo. From 2014-2016 Mr. Bataka served as the Chairman of the Technical Steering Committee, Togo’s focal point for the food crisis prevention network and the global alliance for resilience initiative – Sahel and West Africa. Additionally, Mr. Bataka was a strategic coordinator of the National Agricultural Investment and Food Security Program.

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