Speakers and facilitators


The following speakers and facilitators confirmed their participation in this event:




Mr. Charles Michel

Belgian Minister for Development Co-operation

Mr. Michel was nominated Belgian Minister for Development Co-operation in December 2007. Within the framework of his ministerial functions, he aims to modernize development co-operation to improve the quality-cost ratio, better integrate the environmental and climatic dimensions and adapt it to the ever-changing international context.


Mr. François-Xavier de Donnea

SWAC/OECD President, Belgium Minister of State and member of the Belgian House of Representatives

Mr. de Donnea took up his functions as SWAC President in January 2009. He represents the Sahel and West Africa Club's members in international fora and ensures that the Secretariat implements the policies and other decisions adopted by the SWAC's Strategy and Policy Group (SPG) members. During his three-year mandate, Mr. de Donnea places particular emphasis on the SWAC's forum function. He aims to strengthen the involvement of parliamentarians from OECD member countries and West Africa as well as other new development actors (South-South co-operation) in the SWAC's work.



Prof. Olivier de Schutter

United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food

Mr. de Schutter was appointed the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food in 2008 by the UN Human Rights Council. He is independent from any government or organisation. He teaches International Human Rights Law at the Catholic University of Louvain (Belgium). At the SWAC meeting he will present principles and measures to discipline "land grabbing".


Mr. Laurent Bossard

SWAC Director a. i.

In his new capacity as Director a. i since September 2009, Mr. Bossard is responsible for developing a reform process aiming at reinforcing the SWAC based on the recommendations of its governing board. He has extensive knowledge of the West African region and has worked particularly on regional integration issues at the Sahel and West Africa Club for the past 20 years. 



Mr. Michael Taylor

International Land Coalition 

Programme Manager, Global policy and Africa

Mr. Taylor joined the Secretariat of the International Land Coalition in 2006, before which he worked for UNDP in his home country, Botswana. He is responsible for programmes in Africa and also for global policy, which includes work in over 20 countries on commercial pressures on land. ILC is a global alliance of multilateral and civil society organisations working to promote equitable and secure access to land and natural resources.


Mr. Mike Pfister

Investment Policy Officer, OECD-NEPAD Africa Investment Initative

Mike Pfister currently works as an Investment Policy Officer at the OECD’s Directorate for Financial and Enterprise Affairs. As an economist specialized in investment policies, value chains and enterprise development, Mike has worked for the German Government, consulting groups and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in the areas of investment promotion and business linkages. His current portfolio includes the investment reviews within the NEPAD-OECD Africa Investment Initiative.





Mr. Moussa Djiré

Legal expert, Faculty of politics and law at the University of Bamako

Mr. Djiré holds a PhD in international relations and the history of foreign policy and is specialised in land tenure and local governance issues. He works as a professor at the University of Bamako and as guest professor at the International University of Turin. Mr. Djiré is also an associated researcher of various international research programmes and an independent consultant. He is the author of several publications on land tenure, decentralisation and the management of natural resources.


Mr. Mahamoudou Kiemtoré

Member of the Inter-ministerial Commission in charge of proofreading legal texts of the agrian and land reform (RAF) in Burkina Faso

As a sociologue specialised in rural development, Mr. Kiemtoré has worked since 2001 at the Institute for the Agricultural and Environmental Research (INERA) on “Farmers’ viewpoints and participation in sustainable management of natural resources in the Sahel”. Since 2005, he has joined the General Department of Human Rights Promotion within the Burkinan Ministry of Human Rights. He participated in particular in the drafting of the legal text on rural land reform.

Mr. Steinar Kolnes

CEO and Director, Biofuel Africa ltd, Ghana

Mr. Kolnes, a Norwegian national, is a co-founder of Solar Harvest AS, BioFuel Africa AS and BioFuel Africa Ltd. As an automation engineer, he has over 20 years experience in IS / IT as well as with project management and complex sales to Asia, Latin America and third world countries. He previously worked as CEO of Comuniq (co-founder) from 1987 to 1999. While having acquired farming experience from his family farm, he has extensive knowledge of automation engineering for the oil and gas industry and in the field of telecommunications where he holds several patents. He recently patented a method of reducing CO2 emissions from the transport sector.

Dr. Ing. Godihald Mushinzimana

Head of division “Natural Resource Management”

Support Programme for Territorial Collectivities (PACT), GTZ Office/Mali
Mr. Mushinzimana joined the Mali office of the German Development Co-operation (GTZ) in 2008 as Head of the Natural Resources Management Division within the “Support Programme for Territorial Collectivities” (PACT). Created in 2002, the PACT aims to support Malian collectivities in the implementation of decentralisation processes. Mr. Mushinzimana is an agro-economist, trained at the Faculty of Agronomy at the University of Bonn (Germany). He worked as assistant-professor at the Institute of Economic and Social Sciences at the University of Bonn.


M. Hugo Verkuijl

CEO Mali Biocarburant

Chief Executive Officer of Mali Biocarburant since April 2007, Mr. Verkuijl has built a pilot company producing and selling biodiesel for the local market. As an economist with expertise in institutional analysis, privatization of agricultural services and regional planning, he has more than 15 years work-experience, notably in Ethiopia and Mali as well as through numerous short-term assignments in the Caribbean, Central America, Eastern and Southern Africa and India.