A Centre for African Leaders in Agriculture

The Centre for African Leaders in Agriculture (CALA) supports sector leaders to deliver on top national priorities in African agriculture and nutrition security. These leaders represent the wide range of key actors from across government, private sector and civil society.

Leadership for Inclusive Agriculture Transformation


The Centre supports countries and sector leaders working towards inclusive agriculture transformation across Africa. This is in line with collectively contributing to the African Union’s Malabo Declaration and Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP) goals. As a result of CALA’s programmes, we believe leaders will be better equipped to mobilize modern agriculture for increased production, productivity, and value addition that contributes to farmer and national prosperity, food security, and jobs.

CALA’s practical leadership programmes focus on delivering results in the following areas:

  1. Enabling leaders to better drive and deliver on national agricultural transformation initiatives, through increased collaboration and leadership capacity
  2. Preparing a next generation of public and private sector leaders to meet the succession challenge in Africa’s agriculture sector
  3. Increasing agriculture leadership and sector prioritization capabilities for improved implementation

Founding Support & Governance


CALA is an initiative led by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and launched in collaboration with implementing partners including the African Management Institute (AMI) and USAID’s Policy LINK. AMI is CALA’s lead implementation and learning partner. Policy LINK is engaged to support key elements of agriculture sector capacity building and programme implementation. The Centre is part of AGRA’s Policy, State Capability and Regional Food Trade division and includes representatives and staff from all partners.

The establishment of the Centre is made possible through a scale-up of investment to AGRA by the German Development Cooperation through KfW Development Bank and represents a deepening of AGRA’s strategic support to state capability across Africa. The Centre is complementary to the support AGRA provides to enhance the implementation of national and regional agriculture priorities alongside government, public and private sector partners.

CALA’s Approach to Learning & Programmes


CALA’s leadership journey is shaped by the deep experience of AGRA and partners in supporting African leaders and agriculture transformation.

AGRA has a strong legacy of strengthening leadership in various agriculture systems and across the private sector, government and civil society. From this experience AGRA is shaping the Centre’s learning designs, which are anchored in an extensive understanding of the implementation and institutional capacity challenges facing sector leaders. As CALA seeks to further AGRA’s goal of realising an inclusive agriculture transformation, the Centre will support leaders to design and implement flagship or priority programmes based on country vision, strategies and priorities through various case studies, networking, and coaching opportunities

The Centre’s learning approach is rooted in AMI’s practical leadership and management learning methodology. As one of Africa’s leading learning institutes for ambitious leaders, managers and entrepreneurs across the continent, AMI’s programmes combine online and mobile tools with experiential workshops and opportunities for on-the-job practice. The collaboration between AMI’s methodology and AGRA and Policy LINK’s agriculture sector expertise offers participants a unique and unparalleled leadership learning experience.

USAID’s Policy LINK’s contribution of staff and knowledge leverages more than a decade of programme delivery experience in capacity building to support CAADP priorities. Policy LINK is a key agriculture capacity building partner with deep experience as the successor to USAID and Feed the Future’s Africa Lead program. Africa Lead was previously one of the continent’s longer running food security capacity building programmes. In addition to delivering hundreds of hours in capacity building support, the program delivered the Executive Leadership Course for Africa’s Food Security in 2019, with a successful pilot cohort for leaders across East and Southern Africa.

Why a Centre for African Leadership in Agriculture?

Africa’s transformation is rooted in agriculture

Agriculture employs more than 65% of populations in many African countries (UN demographics, 2019 & Mo Ibrahim Foundation), however the sector has yet to realize its full potential to be the engine for improving nutrition and food security across the continent.

Agriculture transformation requires leaders who can mobilize local systems

The Africa Agriculture Status Report (2018:51) outlined that to secure a strong country vision for agriculture transformation, “The emergence of strategic and flexible support to political champions and leadership is essential because transformation is not automatic. Proponents of agricultural transformation must build an ecosystem of support to leaders of the local system.”

A Centre to cultivate Africa’s agriculture leaders

A survey on Global Agenda 2015, showed that education and skills development and the lack of sustainable governance systems were two of the main challenges facing the implementation of the AU’s Agenda 2063 (African Union Leadership Academy website). CALA aims to address these gaps in the agriculture sector and cultivate a multi-generational cadre of leaders that can deliver on inclusive agriculture transformation.

CALA’s Inaugural Programme

CALA’s first leadership programme is the highly-selective Advanced Leadership programme focused on advancing collaborative leadership for capacity to drive Africa’s food security and sustainability efforts.

Initially enrolling up to 160 leaders in eight targeted countries (two cohorts over three years), the prestigious 16-month leadership programme’s supports delivery-focused leaders in government, the private sector, and civil society with the practical skills to navigate, coordinate and better implement solutions to national agriculture challenges.

Participants will engage in virtual and in-person (when possible) learning experiences as well as peer learning and hands-on knowledge exchange, to strengthen their problem-solving, planning, strategy and execution skills. Through Action Learning Projects, derived from their ongoing work priorities, participants will apply learning in real-time to on-the-job challenges within country-level agricultural programmes.

Learn More & Apply for the Programme


More About CALA’s Partners



Founded in 2006, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), is an African-led African-based organization that seeks to catalyze Agriculture Transformation in Africa. AGRA is focused on putting smallholder farmers at the center of the continent’s growing economy by transforming agriculture from a solitary struggle to survive into farming as a business that thrives. As the sector that employs the majority of Africa’s people, nearly all of them small-scale farmers, AGRA recognizes that developing smallholder agriculture into a productive, efficient, and sustainable system is essential to ensuring food security, lifting millions out of poverty, and driving equitable growth across the continent.


African Management Institute

AMI enables ambitious businesses and leaders across Africa to thrive, through practical tools and training. We equip leaders with tools to build their business, help companies train their teams and run work readiness programmes for young people starting their careers. AMI’s programmes combine online and mobile tools with in-person workshops and on-the-job practice and support. During the COVID period AMI is delivering fully virtual programming across the continent.

AMI has worked with a range of businesses and organisations to support entrepreneurs and managers build and grow their businesses across Africa including Uber, Nestle, Radisson Blu, Mastercard Foundation, USAID, Shell Foundation and Equity Bank. AMI has directly trained over 30,000 people in over 35 countries.

AMI has offices in Nairobi, Kenya, Kigali, Rwanda, and Johannesburg, South Africa.

Policy Link

Policy LINK

Policy LINK is a global Feed the Future program that strengthens the leadership capacity of public, private, and civil society actors and fosters collective action among them for better policy systems. Feed the Future is America’s global hunger and food security initiative, led by USAID.

Latest Updates from CALA

The Centre for African Leaders in Agriculture (CALA) is made possible with the friendly support of:

German Cooperation