A Devex event in partnership with WITH AGRA

Building sustainable, nature-positive systems for smallholder farming

NOVEMBER 19, 2021 - 8 a.m. ET | 2 p.m. CET


About the Event

The world has reached a critical moment where sustainable production in agriculture — and all systems — is a must. COP 26 in Glasgow has seen world leaders and professionals converge to discuss much-needed actions to reduce emissions and ensure sustainable production as part of a just transition to a carbon neutral world. Nature capital solutions is one critical area that requires investment, since there cannot be a net zero world without taking into account nature.

In food systems, there is an urgent need to produce more nutritious food per unit of land if we are to sustainably nourish the world’s population, while also addressing a looming climate crisis. This is critical not only in light of more than 100 million people pushed into chronic hunger during the COVID-19 pandemic amid already stalling progress on food security, but also if we are to slash the considerable carbon emissions from agricultural production.

With a significant proportion of global greenhouse gas emissions coming from agriculture, the situation calls for new smallholder farming methods aided by technologies to boost sustainable production. Enhanced efficiency through technology and improved soil management can help enable nature-positive solutions, meaning more can be harvested from the existing land rather than exploiting ecosystems crucial to fighting climate change. At the same time, sustainable farming practices based on regenerative agriculture can aid adaptation and develop resilience both for farmers and the land they till.

This event, hosted by Devex in partnership with AGRA - Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, will explore how nature-based solutions can support more sustainable farming systems and their transition to a net-zero future. The discussion will take stock of agreements reached at COP 26 and highlight how these directly impact food and agriculture systems in Africa. Together, we’ll explore how to build sustainable farming systems as a key component of resilience and climate change adaptation.


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8:00 a.m. ET (2 p.m. CET)

Opening Remarks
• Teresa Welsh, Senior Reporter, Devex

8:05 a.m. ET (2:05 p.m. CET)

Fireside chat with AGRA


• Fadel Ndiame, Deputy President, AGRA

8:20 a.m. ET (2:20 p.m. CET)

Panel Discussion


• Nura Aman, Programme Manager for REDD+ II at Farm Africa
• Sara Farley, Managing Director, Food Initiative, The Rockefeller Foundation
• RNdidi Nunweli, Managing Partner, Sahel Consulting: Agriculture & Nutrition

9:00 a.m. ET (3:00 p.m. CET)

Closing Remarks
• Teresa Welsh, Senior Reporter, Devex


Fadel Ndiame

Fadel Ndiame

Deputy President, AGRA

Fadel Ndiame has been keen to provide leadership in the context of AGRA mandate to contribute to agricultural transformation on the African continent by matching economic opportunities available to smallholder farmers, rural entrepreneurs, and agribusinesses with policies and agricultural investment programs that have impact. Before his appointment in AGRA, he was a program director at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation in southern Africa. In this capacity he led the conceptualization and content design of the Foundation’s Investment program in southern Africa, with a particular focus on economic opportunities and agricultural investment programs. Prior to that, he served as executive regional director of the West Africa Rural Foundation, program coordinator at the Local Organization Support Program, and a program coordinator at the Senegalese Institute of Agricultural Research.

Sara Farley

Sara Farley

Managing Director, Food Initiative, The Rockefeller Foundation

Sara leads the global portfolio and spearheads integrated operations for The Rockefeller Foundation’s food team, leading such signature initiatives as the Food Systems Vision Prize and the Food Systems Game Changers Lab. Previously, she co-founded the Global Knowledge Initiative, which she led for a decade, nurturing it from a concept to an organization designated as one of the "Top 100 Social Innovations for the next century.” Prior to founding GKI, Sara spent a decade as an innovation strategist for the World Bank. She has been commissioned by national governments, and international development organizations (AFDB, UNIDO, etc.) to lead thinking, develop and facilitate networks, and devise policies to strengthen developing countries’ science and innovation capacity. Equal parts facilitator, systems thinker, collaboration-maker, and strategist, Sara graduated with honors in Science, Technology, and Society from Stanford University’s School of Engineering where she also earned a Masters degree in International Policy Studies. Following her time at Stanford, Sara did post-graduate study in Technology Policy and Management at the Universidad de Buenos Aires on a Rotary International Ambassadorial Fellowship. Sara’s list of publications includes more than 70 monographs, studies, and papers.

Ndidi Nwuneli

Ndidi Nwuneli

Managing Partner, Sahel Consulting: Agriculture & Nutrition

Ndidi Nwuneli is an expert on African agriculture and nutrition, philanthropy, and social innovation. She has over 25 years of experience in international development. A seasoned entrepreneur, she has focused exclusively on transforming the African agriculture and nutrition landscape, partnering with a range of private and public sector organizations. Her most recent startup, Changing Narratives Africa, is committed to changing global mindsets about Africa by helping more people experience the diversity and richness of the continent's gastronomic past, present and future. As the founder of Nourishing Africa, a digital home for food and agriculture entrepreneurs operating on the African continent, she is accelerating the growth of the ecosystem and supporting entrepreneurs in 35 African countries. Okonkwo Nwuneli holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and an undergraduate degree with honors from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. She was a senior fellow at the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government at the Harvard Kennedy School and an Aspen Institute New Voices fellow. She is the author of “Social Innovation in Africa: A Practical Guide for Scaling Impact” and “Food Entrepreneurs in Africa: Scaling Resilient Agriculture Businesses.”

Teresa Welsh

Nura Aman

Programme Manager for REDD+ II at Farm Africa

Nura Aman is program manager for REDD+ and the Forest for Sustainable Development Program at the Farm Africa Country Office in Ethiopia. He holds a postgraduate qualification in business administration (MBA) and a BSc in Natural Resources Management. Nura has more than 18 years of professional experience in the areas of forestry, natural resources management, environment and climate change.

Teresa Welsh

Teresa Welsh

Senior Reporter, Devex

Teresa Welsh is a Senior Reporter at Devex. She has reported from more than 10 countries and is currently based in Washington, D.C. Her coverage focuses on Latin America; U.S. foreign assistance policy; fragile states; food systems and nutrition; and refugees and migration. Prior to joining Devex, Teresa worked at McClatchy's Washington Bureau and covered foreign affairs for U.S. News and World Report. She was a reporter in Colombia, where she previously lived teaching English. Teresa earned her Bachelor of Arts degrees in Journalism and Latin American studies from the University of Wisconsin. She writes Devex’s weekly newsletter on the food systems, Devex Dish.