Two African female leaders awarded the Yara Prize

Dr. Eleni Gabre-Madhin

Two of Africa’s female leaders, Dr. Agnes Kalibata, Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources in Rwanda, and Dr. Eleni Gabre-Madhin, outgoing CEO of the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange (ECX) in Ethiopia, have been awarded the Yara Prize for an African Green Revolution.

The prize seeks to contribute to the transformation of African agriculture and food availability, within a sustainable context, thereby helping to reduce hunger and poverty and the two leaders were selected by the Yara Prize Committee yesterday, September 5, 2012, for their work on groundbreaking areas for the African Green Revolution: effective public policies in support of agricultural growth and profound innovation in agricultural markets.

The award consists of US$ 60,000, which will be split between the laureates, a crystal trophy and a diploma and was handed out in Oslo from 2005 to 2009 but moves to Tanzania, Africa, this year .

Selecting the winners, the committee said “both leaders have demonstrated how transformative change can be achieved in a complex and challenging environment. They have applied innovative approaches, collaborating with partners in new ways,” adding, “Their achievements are fit to inspire other countries to transform the productivity and sustainability of their agricultural sectors.”

Commenting after the selection, Jørgen Ole Haslestad, President and CEO of Yara and Chairman of the Yara Prize Committee, said; “Yara creates impact by addressing global challenges. By awarding the Yara Prize, we salute the champions of sustainable agricultural development. I wish to extend my personal congratulations to the laureates.”

“The impressive transformational work the laureates are doing provides great inspiration, and this is exactly the kind of development we want to promote in the Grow Africa Initiative, co-chaired by Yara alongside NEPAD and the African Union,” he added.

According to a statement announcing the winners, the two laureates will be celebrated at the State Banquet / Gala night on September 27 during the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) 2012 in Arusha, Tanzania.

The citation accompanying the award reads: “Dr. Agnes Kalibata is being awarded the prize for her great leadership in the transformation of food security and agricultural development in Rwanda in a relatively short period of time.

“For six years, Minister Kalibata has been the architect of the remarkable transformation of Rwandan agriculture. Rwanda has moved from having a food deficit to being a country that is largely food self-sufficient. Over 1 million Rwandans have moved out of poverty between 2005 and 2011. Dr. Kalibata has been able to align national agricultural policies with the NEPAD/CAADP frameworks, i.e. the commitment to increase government budget share for agriculture to 10 percent, and Rwanda was the first country to adopt a Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) compact.

“Internationally, the country has in many ways become a success story that has inspired other African countries. By sustaining the gains in food security and the future of agriculture in Rwanda, Dr. Kalibata has been a driving force behind the Grow Africa Initiative, a partnership platform to accelerate investments for sustainable and inclusive growth in African agriculture.”

For Dr. Eleni Gabre-Madhin’s the citation reads: “Dr. Eleni Gabre-Madhin … is being awarded the prize for showing visionary and remarkable leadership in managing the transformation process toward an efficiently functioning market, especially for smallholder coffee producers in Ethiopia.

“The ECX has had a far-reaching impact in Ethiopia in several areas of agriculture and in the lives of small farmers since its inauguration in 2008. Under her leadership, ECX’s growth has seen a strong increase in volumes every year, from trading 138,000 tons in the starting year 2008/2009 to 601,000 tons in 2011/2012.

“The value of ECX trades reached USD 1.2 billion in 2011/2012, representing up to US$ 20 million per day. With a transparent and efficient market, the share of the final export price for coffee has risen from 38 percent to 65 percent, having a positive impact for 15 million coffee farmers in Ethiopia.

At present, 12 percent of ECX membership is made up of farmer cooperatives, representing 2.4 million smallholder farmers. Dr. Gabre-Madhin was among The Africa Report’s “50 Women Shaping Africa” 2011, was named Ethiopian Person of the Year 2010 and was nominated for Outstanding Businesswoman of the Year 2010 by African Business. She received the African Banker Icon Award for 2012.”

By Edmund Smith-Asante

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