BecA Hub Advisory Panel

The BecA-ILRI Hub Advisory Panel comprises leaders and experts in biosciences in Africa and beyond, policy experts and representatives of key stakeholders’ organizations and has been constituted to provide strategic advice to AU/NEPAD, the ILRI Board, and the BecA–ILRI Hub management on future research directions, new technology developments, potential science and development partners and resource mobilization opportunities. The panel also provides a forum for deeper interaction amongst African stakeholders, international science and development partners and investors to seek their views of BecA’s continuing contributions towards biosciences applications in Africa. The management of the BecA-ILRI Hub provides input to the Advisory Panel with the Director of BecA serving as the secretary to the panel.


Abdou Tenkouano

c11ea.jpgDr Abdou Tenkouano is the Executive director for the West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development (CORAF/WECARD), a regional organization composed with the National Agricultural Systems (NARS) of 22 West and Central Africa. 

r Tenkouano has a long and solid experience of agricultural research and management. He is a man who has dedicated his entire professional life to the development of Africa through agricultural research and development having seen close up the difference it can make. He understands the broader physical and social challenges of the region and the role agriculture can and must play.

Dr Tenkouano obtained his PhD in genetics at Texas A&M University in the US, and since then he has acquired a vast experience of leading multidisciplinary teams in complex set-ups across Africa for international research centers. He has successively worked at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) as Regional Coordinator for the West and Central Africa Sorghum Research Network, at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) as Leader – Banana & Plantain Systems, Leader – Diversified Agricultural Systems and Member – Research for Development Council, and at AVRDC – The World Vegetable Center (AVRDC) as Regional Director for Africa and Member of Institutional Committees for Management, Research & Development, and Risk Management. He is a guest lecturer at the University of Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso and at the University of Ghana (West African Center for Crop Improvement) at Legon.


Dr Tenkouano has also served on many international committees and is often consulted in the development of regional research frameworks or national governmental initiatives. He has an impressive track record in conceptualizing programs and securing funds as well as negotiating across governments, international and regional organizations, partners and donors.


Andy Watt


Andy Watt is the Managing Director of QualiBasic Seed Company Ltd. (QBS). An agriculturalist with over 37 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. He was the managing director of Syngenta East and Southern Africa and Head of Large Scale farming for Syngenta in Africa. He had recently spent time in the world of Private Equity as CEO of the African Agricultural Fund’s (AAF) Inputs platform and in October last year, set-up Kibeni Agriculture Ltd., an Agribusiness consultancy specialising in strategy and business development, due diligence for investment as well as organisational development.

Andy has his own farm, producing vegetables for the Kenyan market and is expanding into fruit production, he sits on the board of Karen Country Club as Director of Golf and is a Non-Executive Director on the board of Coopers Kenya Ltd. 


Married to a Kenyan, he has three children, two living and working in the UK and one embarking on her A levels at Brookhouse school, Nairobi.


Aggrey Ambali

Aggrey%20Ambali.jpgProfessor Aggrey Ambali is the Advisor and Head of Science, Technology and Innovation Hub (NSTIH) at the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Agency, where he oversees development and implementation of programmes in education, health, and science and technology. He has also served in other positions at the NEPAD Agency, including Director of Policy Alignment and Programme Development Directorate, Coordinator of the African Biosciences Initiative, and Coordinator of Science and Technology for the Southern Africa region.
Prof. Ambali has wide experience in the operations of the African Union (AU) and its economic development programme, NEPAD as well as collaborating organisations like the UN agencies, foundations, development banks and CGIAR. He recently coordinated the work of the African Union High Level Panel on Science, Technology and Innovation which was appointed in July 2012 and mandated to prepare a ten year Science, Technology and Innovation strategy for Africa (STISA 2024).

Outside the NEPAD Agency, Prof Ambali serves as an external member of Governing Council of the University of Namibia, member of the Innovation Council of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), appointed by the Heads of State and Government. He serves on several committees either as Chair or member including the Technical Advisory Committee of the Biosafety Programme of ICGEB, Chair of the Management Committee of the African Biosafety Network of Expertise (ABNE), member of the Advisory Panel of the Biosciences eastern and central Africa (BecA), etc.

Prof. Ambali holds a PhD in Population Genetics from Dalhousie University (Canada), Masters of Science in Fish Breeding from Asian Institute of Technology (Thailand) and Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from the University of Malawi (Malawi). He worked for the University of Malawi where he taught courses in Fisheries and Aquatic Biology and Genetics from 1991 to 2004; he rose to the rank of full Professor of Biology in 2003.  He Chaired the University of Malawi Research and Publications Committee for four years and served as Head of the Department of Biological Sciences. Prof. Ambali was actively involved in research in fisheries biology and ecology and attracted research grants through which he developed research facilities for molecular biology and ecology. These continue to play an important role for postgraduate research at the University of Malawi. He was awarded the TWAS Young Scientist Award in Biological Science in 2003 based on his contribution to research and development in Malawi. Prof. Ambali has served as reviewer of several scientific journals as well as of grant proposals for major funding agencies. He was elected a Fellow of the African Academy of Sciences in 2013.


Dieter Schillinger

13068.jpgDr Dieter Schillinger is assistant director general responsible for ILRI’s biosciences research. He previously worked as an independent animal health consultant (from 2012). Before that, he worked for more than 25 years in the animal health industry. His last position was with Merial, where he was head of public affairs for Europe, Middle East and Africa. He has a doctorate in veterinary medicine from the University of Munich. He has managerial and leadership experience, particularly in business management and policy settings for veterinary public health.





Edwin Southern

Edwin%20Southern.jpgProfessor Sir Edwin Southern, a molecular biologist with a PhD from Glasgow University, is known for the development of two methods for analyzing complex DNAs.

The ‘Southern Blot’, developed in Edinburgh, led to DNA fingerprinting in forensics and to the first molecular maps of the human genome; the oligonucleotide microarray developed in Oxford is widely used in research and diagnostics. 

Following his retirement from the Chair of Biochemistry in the University of Oxford, he is now Chief Scientific Advisor of Oxford Gene Technology and a trustee of the Edina and Kirkhouse Trusts, which he set up using income from the invention of microarrays.



 Eugene Terry (Advisory Panel Chair)

Eugene%20Terry.jpgEugene Terry is currently Senior Technical Adviser of TransFarm Africa devoted primarily to removing systemic barriers to investing in African agricultural enterprises. Eugene has held leadership positions in international institutions including that of first Director General of the West Africa Rice Development Association. He has held the position of Plant Pathologist at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA, Ibadan), Land and Crops Advisor in the Agriculture and Rural Development (ARD) Department, of The World Bank, and Founding Director, The African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF), Nairobi, Kenya.

 Eugene Terry was born in Sierra Leone, and holds a BSc in agriculture, an MSc in plant pathology from McGill University, Montreal, Canada, and a PhD in plant pathology from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, USA,
Eugene currently serves as a Trustee on the boards of several organizations including   the World Vegetable Centre (the Asian Vegetable Research Centre (AVRDC) Taiwan, Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Development (SFSA), in Basel, Switzerland. He chairs the Advisory Board of the West African Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI), University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana.

Dr. Terry was awarded the 2010 Presidential (Republic of Mali President) Award for Outstanding Contributions to Rice Research and Development in Africa, and the Medal Officier de L’Ordre, Du Merit, Ivoirien, Cote d’ Ivoire, 1993. Dr Terry was also the recipient of the McGill University, Macdonald 2012 Distinguished Alumni Award.


Theresa Sengooba

Theresa%20Sengooba.jpgDr Theresa Sengooba is the senior advisor to the Program for Biosafety system (PBS), a program hosted by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and implemented in Uganda by the National Council for Science and Technology. This job involves policy reviews and capacity building for biosafety; facilitating the development of a functional biotech regulatory system; and communication and outreach for improved understanding of the technology and its regulation. Dr Sengooba is also involved in a Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) program designed to promote regional harmonization of biosafety regulatory systems. She chairs the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) for the Bio-Innovate program hosted by the International Livestock Research Institute and is a member of the Uganda National Agricultural Research Organization Governing Council. 

Before joining PBS, Dr Sengooba worked for the National Agricultural Research system (NARO) from a research scientist grade to the level of Deputy Director General. She has contributed to agricultural institutional management at various levels including serving on several steering committees of regional crop based commodity programs and on boards of International Agricultural Research Centres: the International Plant Genetic Research Institute and the International Potato Centre. She chaired the Millennium Science Initiative Technical Advisory Committee between 2007and 2013 and served on a PanAfrican program, the African Biosafety Network (ANBE) as a member of TAC from 2010 to 2013.

Dr Sengooba holds a PhD in plant virology from Sokoine University of Agriculture, Tanzania. She has an MSc in plant mycology and BSc in botany and zoology from Makerere University, Uganda.


Jacob Mignouna (Advisory Panel Secretary)



Dr Jacob Mignouna is the Director of the BecA-ILRI Hub. A plant molecular breeder and geneticist by training, Mignouna brings to the BecA-ILRI Hub a wealth of experience in leading research and managing donors’ investments in agricultural research for development spanning Africa, Europe and USA.

He has previously served as the director for technical operations at the African Agricultural Technology Foundation, and most recently as a senior program officer and senior regional advisor for West Africa at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle, USA.





Margaret Munene

6526c.jpgMargaret Munene is an entrepreneur, business leader and philanthropist with over 25 years of experience in Kenya’s Dairy industry. Margaret is the co-founder of Palmhouse Dairies, a milk processing plant based in Githunguri Kenya. She is an Ambassador of the Dairy Global Platform and has addressed various international forums. She is the founding trustee of the Palmhouse Foundation, an education trust whose mission is to finance the secondary education of needy and deserving students. Margaret is the Chair of the Board of Trustees of HEART Africa - a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to empowering the people of Kenya to survive the HIV/AIDS pandemic. She is an active Rotarian, has served as a president of the Rotary Club of Karura and is an incoming Assistant Governor for Rotary District 9212, which comprises Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea and South Sudan. In 2011, Margaret received a presidential award ‘Moran of the Order of the Burning Spear (MBS)’ for distinguished service to the republic of Kenya. Margaret holds a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from the University of Nairobi and a Masters Degree in Crop Protection from Bath University. Margaret worked as Research Scientist for the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (now Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization) for 10 years before going into business in 1997. She is an active member of Ridgeways Baptist Church and a past chair of the deacon ministry. Margaret lives in Nairobi with her husband and has three grown up children.


Yemi Akinbamijo

Picture%20of%20Yemi%20Akinbamijo.jpgDr. Yemi Akinbamijo is the Executive Director of Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA ). FARA is an apex organization bringing together and forming coalitions of major stakeholders in agricultural research and development in Africa.

Dr. Akinbamijo, a Nigerian national, has spent the past 28 years of his career in Africa and Europe working in the International Agriculture, Food Security and Rural Development domain. He was Head of Division of the Agriculture and Food Security Division at the African Union Commission Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Director of the AU Inter-African Phytosanitary Council based in Yaoundé Cameroon; and served on the Africa-Arab Joint Action on Food Security and Agriculture, among others.

He has a Ph.D. in Agriculture and Environmental Sciences (in Tropical Animal Production) from Wageningen University Research Centre, The Netherlands. Dr. Akinbamijo has published extensively and served on several international research panels.


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