West Africa has an enormous opportunity to achieve food security, food sovereignty and economic growth due to availability of natural resources for manufacturing fertilizers and arable land for agriculture. The West African Fertilizer Association (WAFA) continues to work with partners in the public and private sectors to push for investments and policies that support the growth of the fertilizer industry. While minimally represented, the contributions by women who are playing key roles in the advancement of the sector have not gone unnoticed.
As we celebrate International Women's Day, WAFA is proud to release the Women in Fertilizer list, which showcases some of the phenomenal women in the industry, as part of its efforts towards fostering and promoting gender diversity and inclusion. This list highlights the contributions of these women who are making an impact in the fertilizer industry in West Africa. By shining a spotlight on the achievements of these women, we hope to inspire others and to show that the fertilizer industry is a place where women can thrive and make a difference.
From manufacturing to distribution, development to government, these are the women driving innovation and growth in West Africa's fertilizer sector.
Honourable Minister Dr. Theresa Tenneh Dick is the current Deputy Minister I for the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security in Sierra Leone, she is a strong advocate for women and youth empowerment in Sierra Leone, and a well-recognized and charismatic politician. She has been instrumental in putting women at the forefront of the government’s agenda to achieve Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in agriculture. She has ensured government legislation, policies, and instruments mainstream gender in the sector. Her work at the Ministry covers supervision of the new National Fertilizer Regulatory Agency, where she has been successful in creating an operational and functioning fertilizer agency nationwide.
Dr. Dick was previously appointed as Project Manager at the Ministry of Youth Affairs managing the Chiefdom Youth farms to meet the government mandate of cultivating 100-Acre rice farms in each of the 143 Chiefdoms. Prior to this, she was Research Officer at the Sierra Leone Agricultural Research Institute, where she also acted as Gender and Training Officer. She has merited the Women’s Forum Award for Leadership and the Kailahun Leadership Award. She has a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture General, Njala University, Sierra Leone (2008); a Master of Science in Management Science, Northwest Agriculture and Forestry University, China (2013), and Doctor of Philosophy in Agricultural Extension and Rural Development, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Nigeria (2018).
Ms. Nana- Aisha Mohammed is a 34-year-old with over thirteen years professional experience working in various sectors. She is currently the West Africa Program Lead and Ghana Country Director for the African Fertilizer and Agribusiness Partnership (AFAP) and seconded to the Sustain Africa Initiative as the Regional Director for West and Central Africa.
Over the years she worked in agriculture, education, health, and other social development sectors with a focus on national budget and policy analysis, project implementation, monitoring and evaluation, research, advocacy, and SMEs capacity building.
In these different roles, Nana-Aisha works with various actors with a special focus on last-mile agri-SMEs, providing technical support to governments in West Africa.
With passion, diligence and commitment she is able to influence actors, bringing focus on youth and vulnerable groups in society. She brings to bear both theoretical and practical knowledge with a multi-discipline approach to results-based programming, and campaigns in her organization to successfully achieve the desired development impact.
Sinkarie Sesay is the Managing Director and Founder of Mangara Agribusiness, which operates in Sierra Leone and Liberia, and is focused on providing customised inputs for the agriculture sector.
As the head of Mangara, she works closely with participants in the agriculture sector to understand their input requirements and provide fit-for-purpose solutions, which are cost-effective and timely. In Sierra Leone, her company has established nationwide footprints and serves all players in the agriculture sector and is working on replicating the same in Liberia. Educating farming communities on the correct application of inputs to sustainably increase productivity yields is a key differentiator in her operating strategy and her company has effectively used demonstration farms for promoting prescriptive fertilizer blends, quality seeds, soil health and good agronomic practices.
Sinkarie is a multi-faceted entrepreneur with experience across various industries, who has managed technical and commercial projects at the national and international levels, and has started several successful local businesses. She is the WAFA Board Director for Women and Youth Integration and a Director of Susu Women’s Financing which provides loans to women entrepreneurs. Mangara Agribusiness has been nominated by the Government of Sierra Leone to sit on the ECOWAS Business Council. She has a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering (1996) and a Master of Science in Civil Engineering (Geotechnical) (1998), both from Clarkson University, New York, USA.
Olive M'Bahia, a passionate agronomist, has dedicated her career to Agricultural development in West Africa by improving agricultural productivity and food security.
Motivated by the belief that resilient farming systems utilizing high-quality inputs can transform lives, Olive has spent ten (10) years working in fertilizers and has supported research to develop balanced fertilization strategies.
Since 2019, Olive has worked at the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC). As the Feed a Future EnGRAISproject sub-regional coordinator, Olive has supported private and public organizations to ensure farmers have access to affordable, and high-quality fertilizers. She has also facilitated the dissemination of appropriate agricultural input packages including suitable seeds, appropriate fertilizer recommendations, and good agricultural practices under different agroecological zones. Olive supported implementing ECOWAS fertilizer quality control regulations across the region to promote quality fertilizers. Her work has helped farmers to improve their productivity.
In 2022, Olive was appointed IFDC Country Director in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. She aims to continue supporting fertilizer stakeholders to enhance farmers’ productivity and food security in Africa. Olive M’Bahia dedicates her work to a future where African farmers including women have the knowledge, tools, and resources to thrive.
Umu Hawa Kalokoh is an experienced farmer, agro dealer, and community leader who has been instrumental in promoting sustainable agriculture and improving the livelihoods of farmers in the Masongbo community in Northern Sierra Leone. She has worked with various farmer associations and has headed farmer groups, where she has shared her knowledge and encouraged farmers to work together to improve their yields and incomes. She is a key player in mobilizing farmers for government-supported programs and has been instrumental in advocating for policies that promote the growth of the agricultural sector in her community.
Umu Hawa enjoys mentoring young women in her community and encourages them to pursue degrees and careers in agriculture. She is also a reliable source of up-to-date information on the trends and developments in the agricultural industry in Sierra Leone for her community.
Umu Hawa's exceptional knowledge of the local agricultural industry has earned her recognition from various organizations, including the award for Processing and Packaging of parboiled rice from the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security.
Myriam Ben Saiad has more than twelve years of experience at OCP and has developed deep knowledge of the fertilizer sector. She studied Finance at the Paris Dauphine University - PSL, and started her career in a trading room at Exane-BNP Paribas in Paris. Myriam also holds an executive MBA from Africa Business School in partnership with Columbia Business School.
Myriam started developing the African business at OCP as the first woman in charge of sales for Africa. Since her debut in 2011, sales have multiplied by more than five times. Besides her commercial role, she has worked on many subjects such as the introduction of OCP products in several countries, the launch of the OCP Caravan in Mali, the research of smallholder farmer-centric solutions which looked at developing new logistics paths to deal with one of the main issues in Africa. She has been representing OCP Africa on various occasions, such as the Africa Agri Forum in Libreville in 2018. She’s now heads Sales in West Africa at OCP AFRICA.
Myriam remains one of the few female leaders in the global fertilizer industry, although not in OCP, where the conviction is that diversity inside the company is creating value.
Fatoumata Binta Doucoure is a businesswoman who is the Financial and Administrative Director of the DOUCOURE PARTENAIRE AGO INDUSTRIES (DPA), which owns a Fertilizer Blending Plant in Mali. She also doubles as the General Administrator of FASO DJIGUI.
She started her career with the corporate finance department of Banque Nationale de Development Agricole (BNDA) as an intern, and later joined her father’s company in 2013, as Treasury and Accounting Assistant for Faso Djigui, an entity specializing in the import and distribution of food, agricultural products and fertilizers. In 2014, she played a leading role in the creation of DPA Industries, which was the second fertilizer blending plant established in Mali, and the first with an annual production capacity of 360,000T, and considered one of the most efficient companies in the region. In 2015, she was appointed head of the group's financial and administrative department and covered public relations as well. Apart from leading all the financial aspects of the group, she has developed and maintained a network of key suppliers, customers, and service providers, both locally and internationally. DPA now has two subsidiaries in Burkina Faso and Côte d'Ivoire, and collaborates with more than 200 cooperatives and farmers' organizations at the local level. Today, with more than 11 years of experience in trading, asset management, financial strategy and management, her main objective is to make the DPA Group an international benchmark in agro-industry and agri-food.
Fatoumata has a Bachelor in Business Administration from HEC and a Master’s Degree in Financial Engineering from l’Institut Superieur de Commerce (ISC BS).
Ada Nsitem is a marketing communication strategist with seven years experience in the manufacturing and nonprofit sector. Her forte is developing creative ways to spur interest and engagement from any target audience. She studied Psychology at the University of Ghana and went on to attain a Masters in Marketing from Oxford Brookes University. She is also an associate of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR).
Ada brings her wealth of knowledge and skills to the fertilizer sector. She was the second person to join the marketing unit of Dangote Fertilizer, providing support as senior marketing executive in branding and developing strategies to satisfy agro-dealers and farmers at each point of their purchase journey. Since 2019, she has been the communication officer for West African Fertilizer Association (WAFA). Communicating the association’s vision and increasing its visibility to relevant stakeholders is how she contributes to the growth of the fertilizer industry.
WAFA is proud to celebrate the achievements of the women on this list and to recognize the important role that women play in the fertilizer industry in West Africa. The association will continue to work with members and partners to create an enabling environment that supports the participation and leadership of women in the sector.
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