Feed the Future
This project is part of the U.S. Government's global hunger and food security initiative.

What Will It Take To Transform African Agriculture 2013-2030?

Jun 20, 2013
institutional sponsor: 
United Agency for International Development


This seminar will feature Thomas Jayne of Michigan State University, David Atwood of USAID’s Bureau for Food Security, and Jerome Wolgin of USAID’s Bureau for Africa in a discussion moderated by Jeanne Downing of USAID’s Office of Microenterprise and Private Enterprise Promotion. The panelists will address the big question: what will it take to transform African agriculture?

Reviewing current evidence, the panelists will discuss:

  • How and why Africa has not followed in the footsteps of Asia.
  • What short- and long-term investments are needed for African agriculture to become more productive, market-oriented and profitable?
  • How donors can facilitate increased nonfarm jobs and enterprise opportunities?
The dialogue will then be opened for audience participation, where the moderator will draw from participant questions to help guide the discussion. Eric Postel, Assistant Administrator of USAID's Bureau of Economic Growth, Education and Environment, will provide closing remarks.


Thomas Jayne
Thomas Jayne
Michigan State University

Thomas JayneThomas Jayne'

Thomas JayneThomas Jayne's career has been devoted to working with African colleagues to promote effective policy responses to poverty in Africa. Jayne is Professor of International Development in the Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics and is a member of the Core Faculty of the African Studies Center at Michigan State University (MSU). His research focuses mainly on how agricultural policies and public investments can contribute to sustainable and equitable development. Jayne currently resides in Lusaka, Zambia, and has been involved in the transition of MSU’s Food Security project there into the Zambian-managed Indaba Agricultural Policy Research Institute. Jayne sits on the editorial boards of two development journals, received a top paper award in 2004 by the International Association of Agricultural Economists, co-authored a paper awarded the T.W. Schultz Award at the 2009 International Association of Agricultural Economists Triennial Meetings, received the 2009 Best Article Award in Agricultural Economics, and co-authored a paper awarded First Prize at the 2010 tri-annual meetings of the Association of African Agricultural Economists. Jayne’s work has also been recognized at the 1996 World Food Summit in Rome and by the Secretariat of Global Agricultural Science Policy for the Twenty-First Century.

David Atwood
David Atwood
United States Agency for International Development

David AtwoodDavid Atwood

serves as Food Security Policy Advisor in USAID’s Bureau of Food Security. He retired from the Senior Foreign Service with USAID in 2011, having served in a variety of roles managing expert development teams, including Director of Africa Bureau’s Sustainable Development Office (2008-11), short-term Deputy Director in Haiti of the USG Office of Earthquake Response Coordination (2010), acting Deputy Assistant Administrator of the Europe and Eurasia Bureau (E&E) (2007-8),and Director of the E&E Office of Democracy, Governance and Social Transition. Earlier positions include long-term assignments in Mali , Bangladesh, and Egypt focused on agricultural development, private sector development and economic policy, as well as earlier AID/Washington assignments in the Africa Bureau and the Global Bureau. Prior to his USAID experience, Atwood served as an employment counselor in Providence, RI and Peace Corps volunteer in the Central African Republic. He holds an MS in National Resource Strategy from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, an MS in Agricultural Economics from Michigan State University, and a BA in Anthropology from Brown University. He has written and/or published in the areas of land tenure reform, food security, famine, coalition building to reduce hunger and poverty, and engaging Muslim organizations in development.

Jerome Wolgin
Jerome Wolgin
United States Agency for International Development

Jerome WolginJerome Wolgin

is an international economist working in the Office of Sustainable Development (AFR/SD) in the Africa Bureau of USAID. In his current position, he advises the Africa Bureau on cost-benefit analysis, growth diagnostics, growth and poverty and economic trends and emerging issues in Africa. He is currently responsible for managing the process for developing a five year strategy for the Office.

This is his second time working in USAID. In the ten years between his first and second stints with USAID, he was a Lead Economist for the World Bank, working on Nigeria and donor partnerships. In his first twenty years at USAID, Wolgin worked on economic issues, especially economic policy across Sub-Saharan Africa. He helped manage the African Economic Policy Reform Program in the 1980s, a program which supported policy reform in over 15 African countries from Cameroon to Zambia. He later was appointed Director of AFR/SD, the Office that supported technical expertise in Africa, including economic growth, agriculture, the environment, health, education and democracy and governance. In that capacity he managed 70 technical experts, a budget of $100 million per year, and several initiatives.

Wolgin has a B.A. in political science from the University of Pennsylvania and an M.Ph. and Ph.D. in economics from Yale University. He served in Malawi for the Peace Corps and worked for several years in Kenya and Nigeria.

Jeanne Downing
Jeanne Downing (moderator)
United States Agency for International Development

Jeanne DowningJeanne Downing is t

Jeanne DowningJeanne Downing is the Senior Enterprise Development Advisor in E3’s Office of Microenterprise and Private Enterprise Promotion (MPEP). Downing was in charge of the AMAP research effort focused on fostering opportunities for micro and small firms within global, regional, and domestic value chains. She has worked on small and microenterprise development over the last 25 years, concentrating primarily on value chains, business development services, and subsector analysis/development in over 15 countries in Africa, much of the Caribbean, and a handful of countries in Latin America and Asia. This work has included value chain and business service market development within USAID’s MPEP (formerly MD) Office, urban-rural linkage analysis as part of a cooperative agreement with Clark University, agribusiness initiatives promoted by USAID’s former Office of Market Development, research on microenterprise development under the former GEMINI Project and with a World-Bank, and project design and implementation with Appropriate Technology International. Downing has taught value chain development at The Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies.