Belay Ejigu Begashaw is the current Director General, SDG Center for Africa. Prior to this appointment, he was the Director of the Columbia Global Centers for Africa as part of the Earth Institute (EI). He joined the Earth Institute of Columbia University in January 2009 as Senior Agriculture Policy Specialist for Eastern and Southern Africa and in August 2009, Begashaw became director of The MDG Centre in Nairobi, Kenya.
Begashaw has over 20 years of experience in agriculture extension and rural development, ranging from a grass-roots development agent to the Minister of Agriculture for Ethiopia. During his tenure as Minister of Agriculture, Ethiopia established the coalition for food security strategy, the National Extension and Transformation Program, the safety net program which support millions of farmers living in chronic to transitory food deficit situation, the Technical Vocational Education and Training Program, a strategy for commercializing smallholders agriculture and institutional reform of the agriculture knowledge system. In the past three years, Begashaw has done extensive consulting work for several international organizations in the area of food security, poverty reduction and investment.
He earned his MPA degree from Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, M.Sc. from University of Reading and a B.Sc. from Addis Ababa University, Almay College of Agriculture. He also holds a Ph.D. in agricultural policy from Texas A&M University where he was a Borlaug Fellow.