She may not know of my existence, but I have been a great admirer of her work long before she ever become AGRA’s President, and the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy. “The Work of Her Hands” praise her in the gates of Africa. That is why, she is a perfect emblem of the Proverbs 31 virtuous woman. History will forever praise and remember her for the great work she has done for Africa. I got a chance to see and experience the results of her work and service to the Rwandan farmers when she was the Minister for Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI), under the leadership of H.E. President Paul Kagame. I was not only left speechless by the sea of maize plants for miles and miles, but her work created a deep desire and longing to one day use my skills to bring such hope to my people.
H.E. Dr. Agnes Kalibata is an advocate of farm mechanization. I saw farmers use low-level mechanization tools and certified seed that come from Kenya. Such services, I am yet to see in other Ministers of Agriculture, one where it is not about the position and title, but commitment to using the resources that come with the position and title in transforming the lives of farmers. The sense of achievement and fulfilment I saw in the eyes of those Rwandan farmers completely transformed my life, and to date, am still hunted by the sense of hope and expectation in their eyes as they asked me to help them find markets. Today, Rwandan farmers are not just feeding themselves, but exporting to other countries like Kenya, Uganda, and last time I checked other parts of the whole.
H.E. Dr. Agnes Kalibata has done well for Africa, she helped her country move from food insecure to food secure. She excelled in her skills and today she rightfully stands before Kings not ordinary men. Africa needs to celebrate this African Queen, but before you raise a single eyebrow on me, am fully aware of the alliance of sixteen African and German organizations opposed to her because of large-scale commercial farming and use of certified seed over native seeds. Their concerns are valid; however, it seemed odd to me that they would specifically target Dr. Kalibata, out of a board of thirteen then fourteen members.
Dr. Kalibata is an employee of AGRA, just like her opponents are employees of the various organizations they work for. Her employer and boss is the AGRA board that constitutes of representatives from major industrial seed producers, agro chemical companies, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Unilever, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition GAIN, United States Agency for International Development USAID, World Economic Forum WEF, a former African President and a former Prime Minister. With such a large surrounding of power and financial muscle, the arrow could only be directed at Dr. Kalibata. I call it the “Crab Mentality” mindset, a common African problem, and a leading cause of why many African professionals would rather work away from Africa. The same way any employee must submit and adhere to their employer’s mandate at their place of employment is the same way she does.
A great African transformational leader, I truly respect and admire says it is important to honour and respect, the work great men and women have done, regardless of what you think of them. He says examine yourself to see if you have achieved what they have, then in much humility find a way to bring change as you learn from them. Be careful not to attack that leader, because you are still being developed as a leader, the same measure of attack you dish out, will certainly come back to you multiplied in your own pursuit of leadership. I certainly expected the churches represented in the alliance to have prayed for her. The bible says, all authority comes from God, and we must pray for those in leadership. History is full of stories of God mightily using both good and bad leaders. I cannot help but wonder how much more she can accomplish if all those institutions prayed for her success.
Bishop Dr. T.D. Jakes advice is, when women come together to share their stories and to encourage each other, instead of working against each other. Like Mary and Elizabeth, the things each of them had stopped believing God for, will start leaping in their spirit again, and like their unborn babies the power of the Lord Jesus Christ will do a new thing in their lives. Agenda 2063 – “The Africa We Want” is exactly that for all of us. It is the platform Africans must speak up and say exactly want we want. If we want to influence Dr. Kalibata’s work, then we must stand up and speak, not against her, but clearly, respectfully, and in honour raise up the valid issues to the AGRA board. What she needs now are armor bearers, who will raise up and hold her hands and positively affect the agenda she is implementing. The donors and funders are fully aware of the many failures and are losing much sleep about the money they have put it. If Africa will raise up and speak, am certain they will listen, especially if done respectfully and in honour without tearing each other.
I am not a seed breeder nor an agrochemical expert, my knowledge and expertise lie in Africa’s Agricultural mass markets especially the bottom of the pyramid. I am getting increasingly concerned about our farmers being advised to grow seed varieties that the market is consistently rejecting. That is why I created a platform, I will use to champion for an Agricultural Markets revolution that favours Africa. H.E. Dr. Agnes Kalibata is my inspiration of what an Africa Woman can do for her people. So, in Honour of this Mighty African Queen of Valor, H.E. Dr. Agnes Kalibata and by God’s grace am humbled to launch Legacy2063 by Fostina Mani, to serve and contribution to the great work Dr. Kalibata is doing. I will support her by speaking up where she cannot, because her success is my success and eventually Africa’s success. This African SheHero is simply serving Africa to the best of her ability, and like all of us, she wants nothing but the very best Africa, for our children and great grandchildren.