Director, Department of Agriculture and Agro-Industry of AFDB
Dr. Martin Fregene is Director of Agriculture and Agro-Industry at the African Development Bank. He is a plant geneticist and molecular breeder with 25 years of experience in genetics and breeding of cassava. Dr. Fregene developed the first molecular genetic map of cassava and started the first cassava molecular breeding program to accelerate development of improved cassava varieties for various agro-ecologies of Africa, Asia, and Latin America. He began his career at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan, Nigeria, in 1991 as a cassava breeder. While at IITA, he was a recipient of a Rockefeller Foundation post-doctoral fellowship on genetic mapping (1993 – 1996) that took him to the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) in Cali, Colombia. After CIAT he joined the BioCassava Plus project at the Danforth Center, a multi-national development program funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, where he rose to the position of Director of the project. Dr. Fregene received his B.S. and M.S. degrees from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, graduating at the top of his class. His Ph.D. in plant genetics and breeding, also from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, was in collaboration with IITA, the John Innes Center, Norwich UK, and CIAT.