Khalid Bomba is the CEO of the Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA), which he has helmed since its establishment in December 2010. In that time, his name has become synonymous with the revitalization process in Ethiopian agriculture.
His road towards agriculture was not a direct one. A graduate of Swarthmore College in the United States, he also holds a Master’s degree from the London School of Economics. He also spent over ten years working in corporate finance, and on sovereign debt issues at JP Morgan, and at other private sector institutions. He was regional director for African countries at the Global e-Schools and Communities’ Initiative, a UN-ICT Task Force, and finally, senior agricultural development program officer at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, after which he was tasked with establishing and leading the ATA, which was financed by the Ethiopian government as well as institutions like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
The Agency is tasked with crafting policy instruments to forward agricultural development in the country, based on research analysis, as well as helping to provide support and education for those in the sector, operating as something between a public institution and a private business.
Even though Khalid believes that science should be the ultimate decider of the country’s policy direction, the agriculture sector in Ethiopia still relies on tradition wisdom and methods. However, Khalid argues, with the finalization of the soil map, one of the ATA’s grand projects, agriculture will come around in the next few years. EBR’s Ashenafi Endale sat down with him to find out more.