Posted with permission from allAfrica.com

State Vice President Saulos Chilima has reacted with delight to his appointment as as co-chair of on the Malabo Montpellier Forum which c onsists of 17 leading African and European experts in agriculture, ecology, nutrition, public policy and global development.

The forum provides a platform for decision makers at the highest level of government to review the evidence on progress that is being achieved on the ground towards meeting key agriculture and food security goals and exchange on lessons and strategies to foster positive change across all African countries.

Chilima has been named co-chair together with Abdoulaye Bio Tchané, Minister of State for Planning and Development of the Republic of Benin.

"I am delighted to be co-chairing this Forum to support the members of the Malabo Montpellier Panel and invited experts to make a real difference to the lives of people across Africa," said Chilima in a statement issued by the panel.

"We have an opportunity here to help realise the potential of the agriculture sector and learn lessons from the success we see all around us for a more prosperous future" added Chilima.

Meetings of the Forum are guided by the technical reports prepared by the members of the Malabo Montpellier Panel

Its works focuses on facilitating access to high quality technical evidence to inform policy choices that accelerate progress towards the goals set out in the African Union's Agenda 2063, the Malabo Declaration, and the Sustainable Development Goals.

The Malabo Declaration, adopted by 54 African governments in 2014, commits signatory countries to halve the number of people in poverty by 2025 through inclusive agricultural growth that creates job opportunities for young people and women.

The Panel and Forum support the realization of the above goals by facilitating dialogue at the highest level around latest research findings and technical evidence to advance agricultural and growth strategies in Africa.

Ousmane Badiane, co-chair of the Malabo Montpellier Panel says they have been "very fortunate" to receive the backing of Chilima and Bio-Tchané.

"With their leadership, I am confident that the Forum will make significant contribution to the African agenda as set out by the Heads of State in the Malabo declaration and AU Agenda 2063," he said.

The two champions will chair the inaugural Forum's meeting this November in Cotonou, Benin.

Chilima is a trained economist and politician who has been Vice President of Malawi since June 2014. Before joining politics, he held key leadership positions in various multi-national companies including Unilever, Coca-Cola and Airtel Malawi.

He holds a Bachelor of Social Sciences (Economics) degree and a Master of Science (Economics) degree, both from Chancellor College of the University of Malawi and a PhD from the University of Bolton in the United Kingdom.