AUTHOR’S PERSONAL STORY I started off my career training as an electrical engineer, built an engineering company, and soon moved to telecommunications just as the mobile wireless revolution was taking off in Africa in the mid-1990s. My journey into agriculture only really began when I joined the board of the Rockefeller Foundation in 2002. Gordon Conway, then president of the foundation, impressed upon me that what we were doing in Africa’s telecommunications sector, taking technologies to scale, could also be done in agriculture. I was intrigued that the mobile revolution I was part of might help power a green revolution.
When the Rockefeller Foundation and Gates Foundation partnered to launch the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), I joined its inaugural board, with Kofi Annan serving as our founding chair. Four years ago it was a great honour to succeed Annan as AGRA’s chair and to continue to work to change the narrative of African agriculture from one of subsistence to one of economic prosperity. The inspiring grantees, partners, and young entrepreneurs I’ve met during my time at AGRA have reaffirmed my belief that we can leap-frog technologically—just like we did in the telecoms sector—to transform the lives of Africa’s smallholder farmers.
Strive Masiyiwa is the Founder and Executive Chairman of Econet Wireless and the Chairman of AGRA