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Heather Akanni

Technical Adviser to Hon. Minister of Agriculture FMARD (Quality control & standards) at FMARD


With the experiences acquired over time from the Nigerian Permanent Delegation to UNESCO, Paris, international exposure and personal interest in agricultural value chain development, Heather took it upon herself to create the project concept for the development of Africa’s Indigenous Stimulants Industry, with special emphasis on crops as Kolanuts, Bitterkola, Alligator Peppers, Moringa Oleifera, amongst others for trade-promotion, standards and international best practices, and which led to the organization of the first ever International Conference on Africa’s Indigenous Stimulants Industry at the ECOWAS Auditorium, Abuja in 2011 and subsequently in four states of the federation in collaboration with relevant stakeholders/Federal Ministries within the context of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) / Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).   

She started off her career affiliation in the Africa Hall of the UNECA, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where she was “Secretary to the Centre” --ACMP with the main objective of overseeing the Production, Documentation and Distribution of African Magazines in liaison with the (then) OAU, now African Union and United Nations Agencies, High Commissions and Embassies in Ethiopia. While in Ethiopia, she also participated actively in International Conferences, amongst which were those of Ministers of African Countries, Heads of State and Women Empowerment.

In the course of her responsibilities as Senior Secretary / Executive Assistant to the Ambassador and Permanent Delegate of Nigeria to UNESCO for ten years, she was recommended to UNICEF, UN Headquarters in New York, USA where she was attached to the United Nations Girls Education Initiative (UNGEI) section to research on the progress of the empowerment of girls through education in the Africa Region. In the process, she participated in the organization of and attended the 5th High-Level Group Meeting on Education in Beijing, China (Beijing +10 International Conference), in November 2005.

In February 2016, she was appointed Technical Adviser on Quality Control and Standardization, to the Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Chief Audu Ogbeh. She pulls the strings of key players and regulatory agencies in inculcating the culture of quality in the agro-sector and  coordinates the Zero Reject Initiative of the Ministry, under the co-chairmanship of the Federal Minister of Agriculture & Rural Development  and Minister of Industry, Trade & Investment.

She is actively involved in the activities of NGOs.  A Foundation Member & Secretary-General of Nigerians in Diaspora Organization--Nidoe-France between 2008-2013 during which she liaised effectively and communicated with Nigerian Government in various areas of brain-gain.  She has strong will for effective communication and negotiation skills.

Heather, a Franco/Nigerian, is happily married with children and completely bilingual (English/French) with notions of German, Italian and Amharic (Ethiopian dialect). A product of University of Westminster with Master’s Degree on Diplomatic Studies/Strategic Planning and Agricultural and Rural Management Training Institute, Ilorin, Kwara State .

Agenda Sessions