Board of Directors

Dr. Amit Roy, Chair

Dr. Amit Roy became a member of the SAA Board of Directors since 2016 and served as the Vice-Chair from November 2019 to June 2023. He became the Board Chair in July 2023. Dr. Roy played a central role in developing SAA’s strategy 2021-2025 with regenerative agriculture as its central pillar, redefining the role of SAA in agricultural development in Africa in the face of complex challenges such as climate change and soil degradation.
He is a former IFDC’s president and chief executive officer, and has more than 40 years of experience in international agricultural development in more than 100 countries.
Under his leadership, IFDC’s programs broadened to help create sustainable agricultural productivity around the world. From bringing farmers from poverty to prosperity to ensuring global food and nutrition security to environmental protection and economic growth, IFDC has helped farmers thrive.
Among other honors, Dr. Roy was instrumental in organizing the Africa Fertilizer Summit in Abuja, Nigeria, in June 2006; in 2008 he spoke before the Hunger Caucus of the U.S. House of Representatives and in 2012 was appointed to the Steering Committee of the Global Nutrient Management Project of the United Nations Environment Program.

Dr. Makoto Kitanaka, President

Dr. Kitanaka was appointed as President of the SAA on November 5, 2019. He has worked for JICA for more than 30 years and served as the Director General of the Department of Rural Development.
Some of his achievements are: 1) expansion of the CARD (Coalition for African Rice Development) with the aim of doubling rice production in Africa in 10 years, 2) expansion of SHEP (Smallholder Horticulture Empowerment & Promotion in Africa) , and 3) launch of IFNA (Initiative for Food and Nutrition Security in Africa).

Prof. Keiichi Shirato, Director

Professor Keiichi Shirato is a Professor of International Relations at Ritsumeikan University. For almost two decades, Professor Shirato worked for Mainichi Newspapers as a correspondent based in Johannesburg and Washington DC.
His commendable experience includes his previous role as General Manager of EMEA and Russia Department of the Mitsui & Co. Global Strategic Studies Institute in Tokyo. In addition to his current position as a Professor of International Relations, Professor Shirato is also a Specially Appointed Professor at the Center for African Area Studies at Kyoto University.
His research focuses on Japan’s African Diplomacy and the role of business in Africa’s development. Among Professor Shirato’s publications is The Great Resource Continent Africa, which was awarded the Japan Congress of Journalists Award in 2010.

Dr. Oumou Camara, Director

Dr. Oumou M. Camara, currently serving as the Vice President of Programs at the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC), is an accomplished agricultural economist with over 17 years of experience across over 15 African countries. Fluent in both English and French, she specializes in strategic planning, resource mobilization, and partnership development, focusing on poverty reduction, food security, and climate-smart agriculture.
Her career is highlighted by her contributions to several key international organizations, including the African Union Commission, the International Crop Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), Michigan State University (MSU), United Nations’ Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), Washington State University (WSU), and Virginia Techs.

Dr. Kristin Davis, Director

Dr. Kristin Davis serves as a senior research fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), leading key initiatives such as the socioeconomics, capacity, and policy work package of the Nature-positive Solutions under One CGIAR. Her role in promoting gender equality and youth inclusion in One CGIAR's Eastern and Southern Africa initiative reflects her commitment to inclusive agricultural development. Dr. Davis has also provided valuable policy guidance to research teams in Asia and Africa, contributing to the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Food Security Policy Research, Capacity, & Influence (PRCI).
Her tenure at IFPRI has been marked by significant achievements, including leading a major agricultural extension project and foundational work in setting up the Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services (GFRAS) as executive secretary. These roles highlight Dr. Davis's dedication to enhancing agricultural development, policy research, and innovation.

Honorary Advisors

Yohei Sasakawa

Yohei Sasakawa has been active in a wide range of activities since his appointment to The Nippon Foundation Board of Directors in 1981, promoting public interest and welfare efforts in Japan and abroad, including ocean issues, disaster recovery, health and sanitation, education, and support for people with disability. In 1984, he joined Ryoichi Sasakawa, then-Chairman of The Nippon Foundation, Dr. Norman Borlaug, and former President Jimmy Carter to help Ethiopia cope with famine. In 1986, he aided in the establishment of the Sasakawa Africa Association to drive agricultural development in Africa by improving the agricultural productivity of smallholder farmers. He is also working for a leprosy free world, as the WHO Goodwill Ambassador for Leprosy Elimination and the Japanese Government’s Goodwill Ambassador for the Human Rights of People Affected by Leprosy.
Since becoming the Chairman of The Nippon Foundation in 2005, he has been active both in Japan and abroad on humanitarian missions that transcend politics, religion, ideology, race, and national borders. He was awarded the Gandhi Peace Prize by the Indian government in 2018 and awarded the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun and the Order of Cultural Merit by the Government of Japan in 2019.
He was appointed Honorary Advisor of the Sasakawa Africa Association in July 2023.

Hon. Professor Ruth Khasaya Oniang’o

Hon. Professor Ruth Oniang'o is the founder and editor-in-chief of the African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition, and Development. Additionally, she leads the Rural Outreach Program, an NGO based in Kenya whose main objective is to help farm families get out of poverty and enhance family food and nutrition. With extensive international experience, she has served on boards such as the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC), the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), and the Australian Centre of International Agricultural Research (ACIAR). She has also served as a member of the Kenyan parliament and as the chair of the Kenyan government's thematic group for food security and nutrition policy.
She won the Africa Food Prize in 2017. In 2018 she was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science degree from the University of Aberdeen in recognition of her contributions to her field. She was cited as one of the Top 100 most influential Africans by New African magazine in 2017. In 2022, she received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Union of Food Science & Technology (IUFoST).
Since September 2010, she has provided exceptional leadership and mentorship as the Chair of the Board for SAA, expanding partnerships and driving progress. In recognition of her invaluable contributions, she was appointed as an Honorary Advisor in July 2023.

Board of Councillors

Dr. Jiro Aikawa

Senior Advisor for Agriculture and Rural Development, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)

Prof. Hiroshi Ehara

Professor, Nagoya University

Takeju Ogata

President, The Nippon Foundation

Mitsuru Suemori

CEO, International Development Journal Co., Ltd

Prof. Fumio Watanabe

Professor, Tokyo University of Agriculture


Akinori Sugai

Executive Director, The Nippon Foundation Parasports Support Center

SAA Publications

"Walking with the Farmer"

SAA publishes a bimonthly e-newsletter reporting on SAA activities.

SAA Mail News

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SAA history book
"Walking with the Farmer: The journey of the Sasakawa Africa Assoication since 1986"

This book chronicles the history of SAA from its inception to the present.

Success stories
Voices from the Field Special Edition 2022

This is a special edition of the "Voices from the Field" articles.