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  • Department of Global Development

Perspectives in Global Development Seminar Series: Spring 2022

Everyone deserves the opportunity to prosper, free from poverty, and ensuing violence. Yet in West Africa, a downward spiral of increased violence is destabilizing local economies, increasing migration, and threatening the stability of the broader region and potentially Europe. At the heart of it all are unemployed youth at the risk of being recruited to conduct violent acts. At Babban Gona we believe that the best way to disrupt this downward spiral of poverty and violence is to create opportunities for dignified and fulfilling work for the very demographic at the risk of being led astray: The Rural Youth. To address this challenge, we make farming much more profitable for these rural youth. Located at the epicenter of this crisis in Northern Nigeria, Babban Gona’s innovative technology platform and program makes farming much more profitable for smallholder farmers, turning at-risk youth into successful entrepreneurs. This, in turn, stimulate local economies, disrupting the cycle of poverty and violence. To date Babban Gona has cumulatively supported over 200,000 smallholders and created over 350,000 jobs.

The Babban Gona solution begins with enabling our smallholder members to achieve double the profitability of the average farmer in Nigeria, by improving crop yields per hectare, reducing cost of production, and increasing unit price at market. This in turn halts the cycle of poverty and violence, by turning unemployed youth at risk of conducting violent acts into successful agricultural entrepreneurs. Finally, we create prosperous communities as life improves once violence is reduced enabling individuals, families and economies prosper.

About the Speaker

Prior to co-founding Babban Gona, Kola was a Managing Director and CEO of a subsidiary in the Notore Group, one of Nigeria’s leading agricultural conglomerates, where he led the development and execution of Notore’s commercial strategy across West and Central Africa, preparing the company to sell one million tons of fertilizer and establish a modern seed business. In addition, he led the effort to raise $130 million in equity. Kola brings significant leadership experience in corporate finance, business development, sales and marketing, product development and operations, across four continents with multiple global companies, including GE, Notore and Abiomed (listed as one of the top 10 stocks of the decade by Kiplinger). In addition, Kola brings extensive public sector experience as Senior Advisor to the Nigerian Minister of Agriculture. Kola has received numerous awards including being the first leader in history of a for profit social enterprise to win the prestigious Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship.

About the seminar series

The Perspectives in Global Development seminars are held Wednesdays from 12:25 – 1:15 p.m. eastern time during the semester. The series will be presented in a hybrid format with some speakers on campus and others appearing via Zoom. Students, faculty and the general public are welcome to attend. The series is co-sponsored by the Department of Global Development, the Department of Natural Resources and the Environment, the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, and the School of Integrative Plant Science as part of courses IARD 6960NTRES 6960PLSCS 6960 and AEM 6960. 

Date & Time

February 9, 2022
12:25 pm - 1:15 pm

Kola Masha

More information about this event.

Contact Information

Amy Woodin

  • akw2 [at]


Kola Masha


Department of Global Development

School of Integrative Plant Science

Natural Resources and the Environment

Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management

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