Seventy-Eight (78) Food Systems Leaders graduate from AGRA’s Center for African Leaders in Agriculture (CALA) Programme

  • This is the second graduation; the first graduation was held virtually in 2022 and 68 food systems leaders graduated

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 7th December 2023: Today, 78 emerging leaders in food systems graduated from the Centre for African Leaders in Agriculture (CALA) programme hosted by AGRA. The centre is an AGRA-led initiative, co-implemented by African Management Institute (AMI) and Policy Link.

The 78 leaders drawn from the public, private sector and civil society were awarded with certificates, marking their status as leaders in Africa’s Food Security and Sustainability after completing the 16-month collaborative, hands-on, and tailored experience for senior and rising leaders in Africa’s agriculture sector.

Speaking at the graduation ceremony, AGRA President, Dr. Agnes Kalibata underscored the critical importance of addressing post-harvest losses in agriculture. She emphasized the need for innovative solutions and strategic interventions to minimize post-harvest losses, a challenge that continues to impede the agricultural sector’s growth and resilience across the African continent.

“Fifty percent of CALA graduates are looking to solve post-harvest losses. Some of the food that we lose in the farms, if we save them, we won’t be saying that Africa have 300 million people who are hungry. If we work to solve post-harvest losses by 40%, we will be saving a lot on production side and shift the narrative,” Dr. Kalibata, said.

Her address resonated with the graduates, who have spent the duration of the program honing their leadership skills and acquiring knowledge to tackle pressing issues facing the agricultural landscape. The CALA program, designed to empower and nurture the next generation of agricultural leaders, focuses on equipping participants with the skills and insights needed to drive positive change in the sector.

The programme is designed for leaders spearheading and directly implementing country-level agriculture initiatives, has equipped the delegates with the practical leadership skills for effective implementation of national flagship programmes while enhancing cross collaborative leadership across the public, private sector and civil society.

Selected from over 1,000 applicants, the 76 individuals represent the continent’s most dynamic leaders in agriculture, with 45% of the leaders drawn from government agencies across the 8 countries, 26% from the private sector and 29% from civil society.

“As leaders in your respective organisations and fields, you have the opportunity to play a pivotal role in aligning your country’s national priorities to the regional priorities in order to ensure that the transformation of food systems is grounded in the realities of local communities.” Prof. Jean Jacques Muhinda, Regional Head for East and Southern Africa, AGRA.

The graduating delegates now join the inaugural cohort of 80 delegates in the prestigious CALA alumni community, continuing their learning and collaboration.

CALA is an AGRA-led initiative and is delivered in collaboration with implementing partners including the African Management Institute (AMI), CALA’s lead implementation and learning partner, and USAID’s Policy LINK. Policy LINK has led the design and rollout of the leadership programme’s coaching component.

To learn more about the Centre for African Leaders in Agriculture, visit


About CALA

The Centre for African Leaders in Agriculture (CALA), an AGRA-led initiative, supports sector leaders to deliver on top national priorities in African agriculture and nutrition security. These leaders represent a wide range of key actors from across government, private sector and civil society. CALA was conceptualised by AGRA and is implemented in collaboration with the African Management Institute (AMI) and USAID’s Policy LINK, with funding from the German Development Cooperation through the KfW Development Bank.

For more information visit:

About AGRA

Founded in 2006, AGRA, is an African-led African-based organization that seeks to catalyze agriculture transformation in Africa. AGRA is focused on putting smallholder farmers at the center of the continent’s growing economy by transforming agriculture from a solitary struggle to survive into farming as a business that thrives. As the sector that employs the majority of Africa’s people, nearly all of them small-scale farmers, AGRA recognizes that developing smallholder agriculture into a productive, efficient, and sustainable system is essential to ensuring food security, lifting millions out of poverty, and driving equitable growth across the continent.

For more information visit:

About the African Management Institute (AMI)

AMI enables ambitious businesses and leaders across Africa to thrive, through practical tools and training. We equip leaders with tools to build their business, help companies train their teams and run work readiness programmes for young people starting their careers. AMI’s programmes combine online and mobile tools with in-person workshops and on-the-job practice and support. AMI has directly trained over 35,000 people in over 39 countries. AMI has offices in Nairobi, Kenya, Kigali, Rwanda, and Johannesburg, South Africa.

For more information on AMI visit:

About Policy LINK

Policy LINK is a global Feed the Future program that strengthens the leadership capacity of public, private, and civil society actors and fosters collective action among them for better policy systems. Feed the Future is America’s global hunger and food security initiative, led by USAID.

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