24th – 28th June 2024   •   Durban, South Africa

SAI Platform Annual Event 2023

Transforming the Food System: A Deep Dive into the Practicalities of Regenerative Agriculture

SAI Platform Members Only   •   #SAIPlatform2023

Bongiwe Njobe

In June 2022, Bongiwe Njobe retired as Head: Social Investing at FirstRand Bank in South Africa after over 40 years of work and leadership experience in the public, non-governmental and corporate sectors in South Africa, on the African continent and beyond. She is currently the Chair of the NALA Sustainable Agriculture Fund, a Fellow of the Inaugural Class of the Africa Leadership Initiative-South Africa and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.

As a qualified Agricultural Engineer (MSc Agric Ing) from Plovdiv, Bulgaria,1983 she spent her first decade of work at farm level – as an assistant manager on mixed farms in Morogoro, Tanzania, and north of Lusaka, Zambia. She subsequently worked in several roles firstly as an expert and coordinator in land and agricultural policy development at the Agrarian Project in Johannesburg setting the basis for land policy in a post-apartheid South Africa. Subsequently Bongiwe was appointed Programme Manager: Institutional Development at the Foundation for Research Development (now National Research Foundation) focussed on capacity development at historically black universities across South Africa. She was subsequently appointed Assistant Director for the School of Agriculture and Rural Development at the University of Pretoria and in 1995 from where she was recruited to serve as a senior manager in the first democratic South African government.

Her public sector experience was as Chief Director: Natural Resources Management and Quality Control, then Deputy Director General: Programmes and Planning and in 1997 became Director General of the National Department of Agriculture, in South Africa, a post she held until 2004. In that role she led the development and implementation of agricultural policy and programmes in South Africa, agricultural trade negotiations and agricultural projects within South African bilateral agreements.

Between 2005 and 2024 she held several private sector leadership roles including at two food manufacturing consumer goods companies (The South African Breweries Limited (a subsidiary of SABMiller) and Tiger Brands Limited; as an independent agricultural consultant on strategy development, agricultural policy practice and institutional reform. In 2018 she joined the FirstRand Bank, as Head Social Investing and was responsible for the three FirstRand Foundations and inputs to the evolution of strategic social investing approaches aimed at addressing poverty and inequality.

She has previously served on several advisory panels and as an independent non-executive member on the boards of various companies and several NGOs in South Africa, on the continent, and internationally. Currently she sits on the board of the Old Mutual Foundation, and the Rhodes Food Group – where she chairs the Social and Ethics Committee. In June 2023 she was elected Chairperson of the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA).

Bongiwe Njobe also holds a postgraduate -diploma in Strategic Project Management from Liverpool University, Certificates in Agribusiness Finance for Non-Financial Managers from the Centre for Food and Agriculture Business – Purdue University, Monitoring and Evaluation in Programme Management from the University of Cape Town.