Dr Ahmed Alhassan Yakubu
Deputy Minister of Agriculture (Crops), the Government of Ghana
Dr Ahmed Alhassan Yakubu is Deputy Minister of Agriculture (Crops) for the Government of Ghana. The honourable minister holds a PhD in Agronomy from Imperial College, University of London, UK, and his professional background is in agriculture and agricultural research. Before becoming a member of parliament in 2005, Dr Yakubu worked for the Savanna Agricultural Research Institute (SARI), one of the 13 research institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). As a member of parliament, Dr Yakubu represents the Mion Constituency in the Northern Region of Ghana.
Africa Regional Director, Proforest
Abraham has been working in the field of natural resource management for over two decades, specializing in the development and implementation of sustainability standards in forestry and agricultural commodities production. During this time, he has combined support for the development of international policies and sustainability certification systems defining good management and supporting their implementation in practice. He is currently the Africa Regional Director at Proforest. Prior to joining Proforest, he worked as the Forestry and Biodiversity Coordinator at Friends of the Earth in the 1990s and later became the Forest Programme Leader at the WWF West Africa Regional Office in 2006. He holds a BSc in natural resources management, a Postgraduate Certificate in Natural Resources Management Economics and an MSc in Forestry and Environmental Policy.
Clement Kojo Akapame
Partner, TaylorCrabbe Initiative
Clement Kojo Akapame is a partner at TaylorCrabbe Initiative. After completing a degree in business administration and a bachelor of laws at the University of Ghana, Clement was awarded a master of laws degree in global constitutionalism and international finance from the University of Michigan Law School. Clement has worked in commercial law, international finance, constitutional law, human rights and natural resources law specialising in forest and wildlife legislation. He was one of the five counsel-researchers engaged to review the 1992 Constitution of Ghana focusing on decentralization, local government and national security. Clement also teaches commercial law at the law school of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration.
Senior Manager for Central Africa, TFT
Based in Yaoundé, Erith Ngatchou is TFT’s Senior Manager for Central Africa, helping companies in the agriculture and forestry sectors to implement No Deforestation and No Exploitation policies. He also runs TFT’s Centre of Social Excellence in Cameroon, a practice-based training programme which equips forestry and natural resource management professionals with the skills to develop constructive dialogue between environment-dependent communities and companies looking to develop land. TFT is a founding member of the High Carbon Stock (HCS) Approach Steering Group. The HCS Approach is an innovative, practical tool to differentiate forests which need to be protected from land suitable for development. The HCS Approach Steering Group is a multi-stakeholder body governing the methodology, which is used by companies in several commodities to implement their No Deforestation commitments. Prior to joining TFT, Erith spent several years with Bureau Veritas as a forestry and ISO9001/14001 Lead Auditor and Quality Manager.
Hermann Assoua Brou
Mill Manager, AGRIVAR
Hermann Assoua Brou holds a higher diploma in environmental management and water quality and a masters in genetics and plant breeding from the University of Abobo Adjame. He has 10 years’ experience in environmental assessment and in the implementation of quality standards leading to sustainable production programmes in agriculture such BIO EU, BIO NOP, and RSPO. Hermann joined AGRIVAR in Cote d’Ivoire in 2011. He is currently the Mill Manager, as well as the Quality, Health, Safety and Environment Manager in the company.
Smallholders Program Manager, Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil
Julia is the Smallholder Program Manager in Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) Secretariat. She joined the RSPO Secretariat Office in July 2011. Based in RSPO Secretariat Office in Kuala Lumpur, she is also responsible for managing the RSPO Smallholder Support Fund (RSSF). Julia has a bachelor’s degree in social science majoring in mass communication and political science, and a master’s degree in education management.
Kelvin N. Doesieh
Senior Intervention Manager, Oil Palm Sector, GROW Programme, Liberia
Kelvin N. Doesieh is currently the Senior Intervention Manager responsible for the oil palm sector at the GROW Programme in Liberia. GROW is a Sida-funded market development initiative, which aims to contribute to sustainable peace and poverty reduction through inclusive and integrated economic development in Liberia. Since 2013, Kelvin has been coordinating the activities of various stakeholders in the oil palm sector, including the Government of Liberia, concession-holders, communities and civil society organizations, in order to develop a workable oil palm Outgrower Model(s) for Liberia. In June 2014, GROW in collaboration with SHARP, held a stakeholder workshop to agree on workable Outgrower Scheme parameters. GROW has now contracted an international team to develop a workable oil palm Outgrower Scheme operational model and financial plan, based on discussion with communities and concessions. Prior to working for GROW, Kelvin N. Doesieh worked for both public and private institutions in Liberia, including the USAID-GEMS Project, USAID GROWTH CORRIDOR Project, the International Finance Corporation (IFC)/World Bank Group Member and the Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs.
Human Rights Lawyer, Forest Peoples Programme
Lassana Koné LLM is a human rights lawyer and land rights defender working with Forest Peoples Programme (FPP), an international NGO working to protect the rights of those who live in the world’s forests. FPP uses a rights-based approach to combat injustice and discrimination against traditionally forest-dwelling indigenous and tribal peoples around the world, and seeks to support forest dependent communities in the protection of their natural resources and put human rights issues at the heart of forest debates. He has been assisting CSOs, local NGOs and communities in DRC, Cameroon and RoC to engage with legal frameworks to secure their rights, ensure environmental and social justice, and understand and use the law to exercise their self-determination. Lassana’s efforts in the DRC are focused currently on pushing for policy change regarding land reform and forest governance, and also seeking to secure community land titles through community forestry. Lassana Koné holds a master’s degree in human rights and democratisation in Africa (LLM) from the Centre for Human Rights at the University of Pretoria. Prior to joining FPP, Lassana worked as a lawyer for Natural Justice (a collective of legal practitioners based in Cape Town, South Africa) and served as a legal officer at the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, in Banjul, the Gambia.
Nana Tawiah Okyir
Partner, TaylorCrabbe Initiative
Nana Tawiah Okyir is a Partner at TaylorCrabbe Initiative, Ghana. Nana Tawiah holds a Master of Laws Degree from the Harvard Law School. He was called to the Ghanaian Bar in 2009 after completing his professional law programme at the Ghana School of Law.
Nana Tawiah has worked in law and policy consulting for almost a decade and was part of the team engaged by the Constitution Review Commission to assist it in the consultations, analyses of submissions and eventual writing of the Final Report of the Commission. He has also had legislative drafting and parliamentary experience and holds a postgraduate certificate in legislative drafting. Nana Tawiah is a certified mediator and currently teaches constitutional law at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration. He is a certified Mediator and currently teaches Constitutional Law at the GIMPA, Faculty of Law.
Nana Darko Cobbina
Director of Africa Regional Programmes, Proforest
Nana has eight years’ experience in the natural resources management sector, and currently coordinates our programme work in Africa. He previously worked with Care International, Christian Aid and Friends of the Earth, leading a number of forestry projects. An FSC, RSPO and HCV Lead Assessor, he has carried out forest management, chain of custody and HCV assessments in several countries in the region and coordinates the provision of technical support to forestry and oil palm companies seeking to achieve and maintain RSPO and FSC certification. Nana has broad experience in forest governance processes as well as in coordinating practical capacity support to natural resource management practitioners including government, company and civil society actors through the Africa Practitioners’ Network.
Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability, Olam Gabon
Quentin Meunier has a master’s degree in tropical forest management and specialized in botany and agroforestry. He joined SOTRADER (Olam Gabon) in August 2015 within the Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Department (CRS). Quentin has been working in Africa for 12 years, on topics related to the sustainable use of natural resources and rural development. In Gabon since 2010, he was particularly involved in social forestry and community forests. He wrote several books dedicated to the socio-economic and environmental values of African trees, especially the guidebook entitled Les Arbres Utiles du Gabon (Useful Trees of Gabon) in 2015, which has become a reference in the country.
Programme Manager, Oil Palm Ghana, Solidaridad
Rosemary Addico works for Solidaridad West Africa as the Oil Palm Program Manager for Ghana.
She is a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) Ghana National Interpretation Task Force and RSPO Smallholder Working Group.
She has a wide range of experience working with smallholder farmers.
Samuel Avaala Awonnea
General Manager, Benso Oil Palm Plantation Ltd
Samuel Avaala Awonnea is the General Manager of Benso Oil Palm Plantation (BOPP) Ltd, previously a subsidiary of Unilever Ghana Limited but now a subsidiary of Wilmar Africa Limited. His previous roles with BOPP include: Maintenance Engineer, Divisional Manager (Estate), Factory Manager, Estate Manager, and General Manager. As the team leader, he led his company to successfully achieve RSPO certification thus becoming the first to achieve this certification and Ghana and the second in Africa. He is a former member of the Unilever Sustainable Agriculture Community of Practice and is currently the chairman of the Ghana National Interpretation Working Group (GNIWG) taskforce of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and currently, the incumbent president of the Oil Palm Development Association of Ghana (OPDAG). He holds BSc in Mechanical Engineering, a Diploma in Financial Management (ACCA, UK) and an Executive MBA.
Consultant, Renewable Energies
Steffen Preusser merges a commitment to responsible environmental stewardship with innovative sector analyses to identify profitable and sustainable markets. He obtained his PhD in chemistry at the University of Guelph in Canada and spent eight years with the Canadian Embassy in Berlin, Germany, where he developed business links based on renewable energies and environmental technologies. In 2007, Dr. Preusser moved to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to develop markets based on certified sustainable palm oil. During this time, he successfully collaborated with a multi-national palm oil company (Sime Darby), a biodiesel start-up, and RSPO. In this respect, Steffen landed key palm-biofuel contracts based on sustainability, developed internal tracing techniques for a biodiesel company and researched and published a study demonstrating that certification of palm plantations according to RSPO principles is very profitable. Recently, Steffen Preusser returned to his native Canada to continue his consulting work in developing sustainable corporate strategies.
Tony is Director of SHARP – Smallholder Acceleration through Responsible Sourcing & Production – a multi-stakeholder partnership working with the private sector to support sustainable smallholder development, while improving livelihoods and minimising negative environmental impacts. Tony is based at the Oxford office of Proforest, which hosts the SHARP secretariat. Over the past 2-3 years’ SHARP partners, Rainforest Alliance and Proforest Ghana, have been working with companies to develop, test, refine and raise awareness of SHARP tools, approaches and models in West and Central Africa. Tony has a background in forestry, with diverse experience spanning 30 years in rural livelihoods, small business development and social mobilisation. He has worked for international NGOs, bilateral aid agencies and host government institutions across Africa, South Asia and small island territories.
Yankam Njonou Rebelais
Inspector General for Agricultural Development, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Cameroon
Dr Yankam Njonou Rebelais is an agro-economist engineer by profession. He currently serves as the Inspector General for Agricultural Development in the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in Cameroon. He has been at the forefront of the elaboration of a durable national development plan for the palm oil sector. He is very passionate about issues centred on sustainable development in the domain of agriculture in general, and the palm oil sector in particular. He recently led a Cameroonian delegation to Malaysia for a working visit, on behalf of his country. He is currently spearheading groundwork for second generation agriculture in Cameroon, which will cover all the agricultural sectors, especially the palm sector.
Yohanes Izmi Ryan
Strategic Project Director, Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil
Yohanes Izmi Ryan is the Strategic Project Director at Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), a not-for-profit organization which united palm oil stakeholder from seven sectors to develop and implement global standards for sustainable palm oil. His role and responsibilities in RSPO include developing the Jurisdiction Approach Standard, Smallholder Strategy and Sustainability College and implementing RSPO NEXT. Yohanes studied forestry at the Bogor Institute of Agriculture and Management of Bioresources and Tropical Environment at the Institute of Technology Bandung, Indonesia. He has 23 years’ experience in forestry and palm oil sector, before joining the RSPO.
YoQuai V. Lavala
Team Leader, GROW programme, Liberia
YoQuai V. Lavala is the Team Leader of the GROW programme in Liberia. He supervises activities across all sectors and portfolios of the programme. Currently working in the oil palm, rubber, vegetable, cocoa and aquaculture sectors, the objective of GROW is to increase substantially incomes and employment opportunities for a large number of poor women, men, and youth, created through agricultural market system change. Since 2013, YoQuai has been providing support to Kelvin and the rest of the team in coordinating activities with various stakeholders to develop a workable Oil Palm Outgrower Model(s) for Liberia as stipulated in the concession agreements signed with the four oil palm companies in Liberia. Before joining GROW, YoQuai ran his family-owned business, NAYA Incorporated, and was the Investment Officer for International Finance Corporation (IFC)/World Bank Group covering Liberia and Sierra Leone. Prior to his return to Liberia, YoQuai worked with the General Electric in various capacities, including Global Finance Manager for GE’s Healthcare Division and Global Corporate Audit Manager for the GE Company.