Professor Richard Mkandawire is a Socio-economist and a rural development expert. He is a graduate of the University of Malawi (Bachelor of Social Science), University of Missouri, Columbia USA (MA and Msc.), and the University of East Anglia, UK (PhD). Prof. Mkandawire has previously taught in the Universities of Malawi, Zambia, and in South Africa.
He is currently the Vice President of the African Fertilizer and Agribusiness Partnership (AFAP) and he is the former Director of Resource Mobilisation and Partnerships for the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency. Before taking on that position, he was the Head of the NEPAD Agriculture Programme and the principal architect of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) which is an African conceived, owned and driven agriculture development initiative endorsed by the African Heads of State and Government in 2003.
Professor Mkandawire has received the following awards for his work in spearheading the CAADP agenda: awarded an ‘Honorary Doctorate’ in 2009 (DSc Honoris Causa University of KwaZulu-Natal) for spearheading the CAADP agenda and rallying continental and global support towards agriculture in Africa and the ‘Drivers of Change’ award in 2008 for leadership in advocating and convincing African leaders and the international community that Africa can muster the ability and political will to overcome hunger and poverty through CAADP .
Between 1992 and 1999 Professor Mkandawire worked with the Commonwealth Secretariat as the Commonwealth Youth Programme Regional Director for Africa. He has extensive experience in development initiatives in Southern Africa spanning a period of over two decades. He has researched and published extensively in the following areas: Agriculture and Food Policies in Southern Africa, Artisanal Fisheries Development, Land Tenure Systems and Agrarian Development, Gender and Development and the Youth and Reproductive Health among other areas.