Former Tanzanian president Dr. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete has been appointed the new Chair of the Africa Food Prize.
Dr. Kikwete will succeed former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo who has been serving as the Chair since 2016.
The outgoing chairperson thanked Dr. Kikwete, describing him as someone who has genuine passion and dedication towards transforming Africa’s agriculture.
“I congratulate Dr. Kikwete on his appointment as Chair of the Africa Food Prize. I am confident that the continent will continue to explore and implement food systems strategies that lift people from poverty through inclusive growth and sustainable development,” Obasanjo said according to a press statement emailed to Eye Radio from the Addis Ababa Friday.
Former president, Obasanjo said that Dr. Kikwete has a remarkable track record as a leading contributor to the transformation of Africa’s food systems.
During his time as president of Tanzania, he implemented ‘Kilimo Kwanza’ which is a Swahili for Agriculture First, an initiative that unlocked productivity and profitability for the country’s smallholder farmers.
He reportedly spearheaded the implementation of the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania, a public-private partnership aimed at unlocking more private-sector investment in the country’s agricultural sector.
Upon his retirement, Dr. Kikwete through his Foundation, has been collaborating with farmers and researchers to develop initiatives and strategic interventions to increase yield and productivity in smallholder farming and agribusiness.
His appointment coincides with the 2023 call for nominations for the US$100,000 Africa Food Prize.
The Africa Food Prize is an award recognizing the extraordinary women, men, and institutions whose contributions to African agriculture are forging a new era of sustainable food security and economic opportunity that elevates all Africans.
This year, Nestlé partnered with the Africa Food Prize, contributing US$ 108,400) which will go to the main award, and a special category focusing on innovations that advance regenerative food systems.
The $100,000 Africa Food Prize celebrates Africans who are taking control of Africa’s agricultural agenda.
The winners are selected by an independent panel of distinguished experts in African agriculture.
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