Celebrating Agricultural Excellence in Addis Ababa: CALA Graduates Emerge as Leaders of Change

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – The Centre for African Leaders in Agriculture (CALA) marked a significant milestone in the continent’s agricultural journey. In a prestigious ceremony in Ethiopia’s capital, the second cohort of CALA’s Advanced Leadership Programme celebrated their graduation. This initiative, spearheaded by AGRA and co-implemented with the African Management Institute (AMI) and Policy Link, is a testament to the growing leadership in African agriculture.

The ceremony was a vibrant showcase of Africa’s potential, with 76 delegates from diverse backgrounds receiving their graduation certificates. These individuals, hailing from the public and private sectors as well as civil society, completed a rigorous 16-month programme designed to cultivate leadership in Africa’s Food Security and Sustainability. This programme is not merely academic; it is a collaborative and hands-on approach to nurturing senior and emerging leaders in African agriculture.

Dr. Agnes Kalibata, President of AGRA, emphasized the importance of collaborative leadership in her address, noting, “Together we can go far. We must develop integrated policies that address the multifaceted challenges of Africa’s food system.” The programme focuses on equipping leaders with practical skills for the effective implementation of flagship agricultural initiatives and fosters cross-sector collaboration.

The graduates, a diverse group selected from over 1,000 applicants, represent the future of African agriculture. Their backgrounds are varied, with 45% from government agencies, 26% from private entities, and 29% from civil society organizations, spanning eight countries. Prof. Jean Jacques Muhinda, AGRA’s Regional Head for East and Southern Africa, highlighted the critical role these leaders will play in aligning national and regional priorities, ensuring that food system transformations resonate with the realities of local communities.

Joining an esteemed network of 80 alumni from the inaugural cohort, these graduates are now part of a prestigious CALA alumni community, fostering ongoing learning and collaboration.

The support from the German Development Cooperation through the KfW Development Bank has been pivotal in the success of CALA, a collaboration between AGRA, AMI, and USAID’s Policy LINK. AGRA’s commitment since 2006 to transform African agriculture by focusing on smallholder farmers is evident in initiatives like CALA. Similarly, AMI and Policy LINK continue to play significant roles in cultivating leadership and collaborative action in the continent.

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