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Dr. McLean Sibanda

Chairman

Dr. McLean Sibanda, an admitted attorney of the High Court of South Africa, as well as a registered South African patent attorney, holds a Doctorate of Laws (PhD) from the University of South Africa (UNISA), a Masters in Engineering from University of the Witwatersrand (Johannesburg), and a Masters of Laws (LLM) (Commercial Law) (UNISA). He has wide experience in innovation, IP policy and management, technology transfer, working with startups and IP commercialisation. McLean is an Executive for Investments & Concessions with the Bigen Africa Group (South Africa).  In 2007 he co-founded boutique intellectual property (IP) and commercial law firm Sibanda & Zantwijk Attorneys and its consulting company Ideanav, where he serves as a Partner and Director, respectively. McLean serves as a resource person to the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) on a number of IP and innovation related matters. has served as an expert to both the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the African Union (AU).

Until June 2018, McLean was the Chief Executive Officer of The Innovation Hub, the innovation agency of Gauteng Province, South Africa. Previously he was Intellectual Property Team Leader and Principal Research Officer at Element Six (formerly De Beers Industrial Diamonds), Associate at Adams & Adams Attorneys, Senior Patent Attorney and Acting Executive Director at the Innovation Fund, and Group Executive for Commercialisation at the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA). McLean has served as an expert to the Department of Science and Technology (DST) on the review of Tanzania National System of Innovation and was the lead drafter of the Intellectual Property Rights from Publicly Financed Research and Development Act and its Regulations, on behalf of the DST.

A past Board member of the CSIR, and a number of private companies, McLean chairs the Advisory Board of the National IP Management Office (NIPMO) and is Deputy Chair of the Hydrogen South Africa (HySA) Advisory Board. He serves on the Board of Trustees of the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF). McLean is immediate past Treasurer of the International Association of Science Parks (IASP), and immediate past President of the IASP African Division. Since September 2017 he serves as the President of the IASP Advisory Council and serves on the Council of the University of KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa). He is a visiting lecturer at the Africa University (Mutare, Zimbabwe), where he lectures on Innovation and Entrepreneurship to Masters in Intellectual Property students.

He is passionate about the role of technology, innovation, infrastructure and agriculture for fostering development.

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Donald Mavindidze

Vice Chairman

Donald Mavindidze holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with honors in Crop Science from the University of Zimbabwe. He also holds an ACCA diploma in financial management and a Master’s degree in Business Leadership degree obtained from the School of Business Leadership, University of South Africa. Donald, a Zimbabwe national has more than 20 years’ experience in the agriculture sector in Africa. He started his career in Zimbabwe and has worked for Monsanto for more than 16 years. At Monsanto, Donald held various positions in different locations.  He started working for Monsanto in Zimbabwe as a field manager, then worked in Malawi as Plant Manager and was subsequently appointed as operations lead for the Central Eastern and Southern Africa region, where he was responsible for supply chain operations covering Malawi, Zambia, Tanzania and Kenya.  Donald relocated to Zambia in 2013 as Monsanto’s Zambia Country Lead.  Donald transitioned into agriculture development in 2016 when he took up the role Director of Commercialisation at the African Agriculture technology Foundation before joining HarvestPlus in 2018 as the Regional Director for Africa.

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Dr. Mick Sikaenyi Mwala

Board Member

Mick Mwala, an agricultural scientist, educator and businessman, holds a PhD and MSc in Agronomy and a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Sciences. He is currently the CEO of the Agricultural Technology Demonstration Centre, in Lusaka, part of the University of Zambia (UNZA) where he is responsible for the overall oversight of the centre to plan, coordinate and exercise general superintendence over the academic, research, business and administrative functions. In the past he has been Dean of the School of Agricultural Sciences, Acting Deputy Vice Chancellor and the head of the Crop Sciences at UNZA. As chairperson of Professional Boards hosted by the School of Agricultural Sciences (NRDC and ZCA), Mick was responsible for overseeing quality assurance in the academic programmes at the affiliated institutions. At the start of his career in the 1980s he was a principal research officer and a sunflower breeder. Mick has published over 30 papers in scientific and refereed journals as well as many conference proceedings. He has over four decades contributed significantly to the development of agricultural sciences in Africa through his work at the University of Zambia, in various regional technical teams and projects as well as serving on several commercial and not-for-profit boards. Mick is a family man he enjoys swimming, playing golf and reading.

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Dr. Prasanna Maruthi Boddupalli

Board Member

Dr Prasanna Boddupalli is the Director of CIMMYT’s Global Maize Program and CGIAR Research Program on Maize (MAIZE). Based in Nairobi, Kenya, Prasanna has been leading CIMMYT’s Global Maize Program since 2010, and CRP MAIZE since 2015. Prasanna provides scientific oversight and leadership to a strong multidisciplinary team of maize breeders, phenotyping specialists, and seed systems teams, focused on developing and deploying high-yielding, stress resilient and nutritionally enriched maize varieties in sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and Asia. He has been at the forefront in effectively tackling the maize lethal necrosis (MLN) disease in eastern Africa. He is also technically coordinating CIMMYT-led multi-institutional and multi-disciplinary efforts in fighting the challenge of Fall Armyworm outbreak across Africa and Asia. With over three decades of experience in maize R&D, Prasanna has published so far more than 140 rersearch articles in international journals of repute, and over 50 book chapters/books. He has received several awards/honors for his contributions to maize research, excellence in post-graduate teaching, and human resource development.

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Sofia Tesfazion

Board Member

Sofia Tesfazion holds a Master’s degree in International Business Administration and Economics from Uppsala University, Sweden and a Certificate in Change Leadership from Cornell University, USA. She has over 20 years of diverse experience in the private and development sectors from three continents – Europe, USA and Africa. Sofia started her career in SCA (Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget) a multinational company headquartered in Sweden that produces and sells absorbent hygiene products, packaging solutions and publication papers. She then moved to New York working for Towers Perrin, a global professional services firm that helps organizations around the world optimize performance through effective people, risk and financial management – servicing clients that include three-quarters of the world’s 500 largest companies and three quarters of the Fortune 1000 U.S. companies. Clients included Astra Zeneca, Adidas, Coca-Cola, Citigroup, General Electric, Microsoft and Syngenta. Sofia has been based in Nairobi over the last 10 years in regional/Africa management roles in resource mobilization, program development and grant management for the organizations Save the Children and Plan International. Currently Sofia is employed by AATF (African Agricultural Technology Foundation) as the Director for Resource Mobilization and also acting as the Director for Commercialization.

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Susan Kasinga

Board Member

Susan kasinga is the Chair of Audit Committee at QBS.

She holds Master’s degree in Strategic Management from the University of Nairobi, A Bachelor’s of commerce, a CPA (K), a Coaching Diploma and is about to qualify as a Company Secretary. (CS).

She has a wealth of experience in Investment banking, Fund management, Accounting and Audit, stemming from years of working in the banking and insurance industry in East Africa as well as an external auditor at Deloittes.

She seats in various boards including Bank of Africa, UAP General Insurance, and Greenlandfedha (a subsidiary of Kenya Tea Development).

Currently, Susan consults in Finance, Pensions and personal coaching at Goldanchor Ltd.

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Tim Johnson

Board Member

Tim Johnson serves as the President of Field Crops Division/Illinois Foundation Seeds, Inc. and as an officer of IFSI. Prior to IFSI he served as President and Chairman of the Board of Directors for Seed Genetics, Inc. which was acquired by Illinois Foundation Seeds, Inc. in 2003.  From 1976-1993, he was employed at AgriPro where he held various positions from hourly employee to Business Manager for corn and soybeans. Johnson has been, and continues to be, involved with several seed organizations including International Seed Federation, American Seed Trade Association, CropLife International, Indiana Crop Improvement Association, Indiana Seed Trade Association, American Seed Research Foundation and the US Grains Council. Tim enjoys family, working and having fun.

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Andy Watt

Managing Director

Andy Watt is an agriculturalist with over 38 years of commercial experience in sales, marketing, business management, strategy development and implementation, corporate governance, driving change, and business restructuring and development. He has deep knowledge of both large-scale commercial and small-scale farming across Africa, with specialist knowledge of both crop protection and seeds. He was the Manage Diretor of Syngenta East and Southern Africa and Head of Large Scale Farming for Syngenta in Africa. Andy sits on the board of Karen Country Club as Director of Golf and has recently been appointed to the board of Coopers Kenya to help them further develop their crop inputs portfolio. He sits on the Advisory Panel of the Biosciences eastern and central Africa (BecA) – ILRI Hub. Andy is married to a Kenyan and has three children.

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Lauren Good

Board Observer

Lauren Good is a Senior Program Officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. As a member of the Global Growth & Opportunity/ Agricultural team, Lauren develops and manages grants in collaboration with governments and partners to address systemic agricultural challenges that are faced by small holder farmers. Lauren’s particular areas of focus is with seed systems for staple crops that have not historically received the attention from private sector, seeking to strengthen public-private partnerships to ensure farmer access to improved and quality assured seed. Prior to joining the Foundation, Lauren had extensive experience in the private sector as a business owner and consultant, advising growing businesses and non-profit organizations in areas of market development, branding, and organizational development. As an agribusiness advisor, he consulted on, designed, and managed projects aimed at increasing smallholder farm productivity, market access, and value addition, and advised companies in management, business planning, finance, and governance issues. Lauren holds a BS in Business Administration, and an MBA from the Robert H Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland in the USA.

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Jane Achando

Board Secretary

Jane, an Advocate of the High Court of Kenya has 10 years experience ranging from legal advice, compliance, contract Management, Intellectual Property Management and Board Secretarial functions. As the Legal Counsel and Board secretary, she works with the Managing Director to ensure the company and the Board are run in compliance with the Company’s Policies.

Jane, a Kenyan National is pursuing her Masters of Law Degree and is a holder of Masters of Business Administration (Strategic Management) from the Kenya Methodist University, a Post Graduate Diploma from the Kenya School of Law and a Bachelors of Law from the University of South Africa.