Mr Odoemena has over 20 years of experience in agriculture and rural development, working with to improve the livelihood of rural poor people, especially women and youth. Until recently, he was the interim country programme manager in Ethiopia in 2015, where he handled the largest IFAD portfolio in Africa.
Presently, he is the Country Programme Officer for IFAD in Nigeria, leading in management and coordination of complex projects and providing policy guidance to the Government of Nigeria to improve on agriculture and rural sector in Nigeria. He also leads in building partnerships with the other development and private on behalf of IFAD. He has led in several projects implementation and design of several country strategies, mainly in Nigeria, Gambia, Ghana and Ethiopia.
Before joining IFAD in 2009, he worked with the USAID project as a Business Promotion Manager. During this time, he leveraged USD 10 million, the singled largest financial credit for farmers in Nigeria from financial institutions. Mr Odoemena has also worked with the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), a member of cigiar, as a Manager of the Rural Sector Enhancement Programme. He had done several short-term assignments as an evaluation experts with the EU, AfDB and World Bank Development projects.
Dr Odoemena started his rural development career as a planning officer with the Federal Government of Nigeria in 1991 after his university graduation in 1990. Since his engagement with IFAD, Dr Odoemena has brought several innovative approaches that have improve the landscape of the agricultural sector in Nigeria, namely: (i) introduced the concept and practice of agriculture as a business (agribusiness) in the national agricultural systems – process that has generated increased youth participation in agriculture, (ii) developed a rural youth agribusiness incubation system that as provoked a revolution of enterprise development among youth in rural areas of Nigeria, and (iii) introduced the ice breaking commodity alliance forum (CAF), which is a public-private-producer-partnership (4Ps) and a business transaction, policy dialogue, conflict resolution and knowledge sharing platform amongst stakeholders in commodity value chain.
Mr. Ben is a value chain and agribusiness development expert. Academically, he holds a Ph.D and MSc in Agricultural Economics, as well as B.Sc. in Crop Production from the . prestigious University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He is married with 4 children.