The Chancellor of the University of Dar es Salaam and former President of the United Republic of Tanzania, H.E. Dr. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete has been announced as the new Chair of the Africa Food Prize (AFP) recently.
According to the information released by the Africa Food Prize, Dr. Kikwete would oversee the US$100,000 Africa Food Prize, which began as the Yara Prize, established by Yara in 2005 and moved to Africa and rechristened the Africa Food Prize in 2016. It celebrates Africans who are taking control of Africa’s agricultural agenda.
Dr. Kikwete succeeds the former Nigerian President, H.E. Olusegun Obasanjo, who has served as the AFP Chair since 2016. H.E. Obasanjo welcomed the appointee and expressed enthusiasm that, through his work, H.E. Kikwete had shown a genuine passion and dedication towards transforming Africa’s agriculture.
“I congratulate Dr. Kikwete on his appointment as Chair of the Africa Food Prize. Through his leadership, 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,” said H.E. Obasanjo.
Meanwhile, the UDSM Vice Chancellor, Prof. William Anangisye congratulated H.E. Dr. Kikwete on this well-deserved appointment noting that under his leadership, the Africa Food Prize would indeed benefit in various ways and reach its objectives through his distinguished wisdom and unwavering guidance.
Africa Food Prize puts a bright spotlight on bold initiatives and technical innovations that can be replicated across the continent to create a new era of food security and economic opportunity for all Africans. The winners are selected by an independent panel of distinguished experts in African agriculture.
A commendable track record
Dr. Kikwete has a commendable track record as a leading contributor to the transformation of Africa’s food systems. As President of Tanzania, H.E. Kikwete led the implementation of ‘Kilimo Kwanza’ (Swahili for Agriculture First), an initiative that unlocked productivity and profitability for the country’s smallholder farmers.
He also spearheaded the implementation of the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT), a public-private partnership aimed at unlocking more private sector investment in the country’s agricultural sector.
Upon his retirement, and through the Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete Foundation, H.E. Kikwete has been collaborating with farmers and researchers to develop initiatives and strategic interventions to increase yield and productivity in smallholder farming and agribusiness.
2023 call for nominations for the US$100,000 Africa Food Prize
Dr. Kikwete’s appointment coincides with the 2023 call for nominations for the US$100,000 Africa Food Prize. The Africa Food Prize is the preeminent award recognizing the extraordinary women, men, and institutions whose contributions to African agriculture are forging a new era of sustainable food security and economic opportunity that elevates all Africans.
This year, Nestlé partnered with the Africa Food Prize, contributing CHF 100,000 (equivalent to US$ 108,400) which will go to the main award, and a special category focusing on innovations that advance regenerative food systems.
“We are excited to see how this year’s applicants for the Africa Food Prize are making a difference. Their research and innovation efforts will help drive the transformation of agriculture on the African continent, and we are proud to support this,” said Remy Ejel, Chief Executive Officer of Zone Asia, Oceania and Africa, Nestlé S.A.
In 2022, Eric Yirenkyi Danquah, a Ghanaian plant geneticist, won the award for his outstanding expertise, leadership and grantsmanship skills that led to the establishment and development of West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI).
“WACCI is a world class centre for training plant breeders in Africa for Africa that has led to the creation of more than sixty improved seed varieties, including superior maize hybrid varieties, which continue to boost yield for farmers and contribute towards food and nutritional security in Ghana”, stated Africa Food Prize.
Organisations, institutions, businesses, and individuals who have created opportunities for Africa’s farmers to gain viable livelihoods from their trade can submit their nominations at www.africafoodprize.org/nominate before Monday, 16 May 2023. Winners will be selected by the Africa Food Prize committee and will be announced at the AGRF, Africa’s Food Systems Forum 2023 to be held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in September.