9:00 am
10:15 am

COVID-19: Emerging problems and potential country-level responses

Johan Swinnen, Clemens Breisinger, Derek Headey, Bart Minten, Danielle Resnick, Shalini Roy, Rajul Pandya-Lorch (moderator)
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Hosted by:
International Food Policy Research Institute
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About the Webinar
Policy seminar will cover the pandemic's effects on economy, food security and nutrition, agricultural value chains and food trade.

COVID-19 is creating a range of new challenges for economic growth and social well being. In this live talk IFPRI’s experts will look at what to expect, and how developing countries can respond in ways that promote food security, nutrition, and greater equity.

Below is the list of panellists and topics covered:


Rapid Fire Presentations

  • COVID-19 and the economic impact on Egypt: Clemens Breisinger, Senior Research Fellow, IFPRI
  • COVID-19 and food security and nutrition in Myanmar: Derek Headey, Senior Research Fellow, IFPRI
  • COVID-19 and agricultural value chains in Ethiopia: Bart Minten, Senior Research Fellow, IFPRI
  • COVID-19 and informal food traders in Africa — government responses and citizen compliance: Danielle Resnick, Senior Research Fellow, IFPRI
  • COVID-19 and gender-sensitive social protection: Shalini Roy, Research Fellow, IFPRI


  • Rajul Pandya-Lorch, Director, Communications and Public Affairs & Chief of Staff, Director General’s Office, IFPRI

See the event’s page here.

See speakers’ bios below.

Focus Region:
Focus Topic:
Nutrition / Food Systems
Agricultural Value Chains / Agri-Businesses
About the Speakers

Johan Swinnen

Director General, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

Johan Swinnen became director general of IFPRI in January 2020. Prior to joining IFPRI, Dr. Swinnen was professor of economics and director of the LICOS Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance at KU Leuven (Belgium) and senior research fellow at the Centre for European Policy Studies in Brussels.

Dr. Swinnen was a lead economist at the World Bank from 2003 to 2004 and economic adviser to the European Commission from 1998 to 2001. Over the course of his career, Dr. Swinnen has been a visiting professor at various universities, including at Stanford University’s Center on Food Security and the Environment, and a frequent adviser to institutions such as the World Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

Dr. Swinnen earned his PhD from Cornell University (USA) and holds honorary doctorates from the University of Göttingen (Germany) and the Slovak University of Agriculture in Nitra (Slovakia). He is a fellow of the Agricultural & Applied Economics Association and the European Association of Agricultural Economists, and he served as president of the International Association of Agricultural Economists from 2012 to 2015.

Dr. Swinnen has published extensively on agricultural and food policies, international development, political economy, institutional reforms, trade, and global value chains, and his body of work has been widely cited. His books include The Political Economy of Agricultural and Food Policies (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018); Quality Standards, Value Chains and International Development (Cambridge University Press, 2015); Political Power and Economic Policy: Theory and Empirical Applications (Cambridge University Press, 2011); and From Marx and Mao to the Market: The Economics and Politics of Agricultural Transition (Oxford University Press, 2006).

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Clemens Breisinger

Clemens Breisinger is a Senior Research Fellow at IFPRI, which he joined in 2006. His research, capacity building and policy advisory work in Africa, Asia and the Middle East covers a broad range of issues related to economic transformation and poverty reduction, food and nutrition security, climate change, conflict, and social protection. Together with his colleagues, Clemens produced more than 100 publications that are widely read and quoted by local and international media. Since 2011, Clemens has been leading IFPRI’s Middle East and North Africa team and is based in Cairo since 2016, from where he also leads IFPRI’s country strategy support program for Egypt. Both programs provide context specific policy solutions, innovative analytical tools and research-based public information and work closely with local institutions, such as the ministries of planning, social solidarity, agriculture; statistical agencies and universities; as well as with international organizations such as IFAD, FAO, USAID, and the World Bank. Clemens received his PhD in agricultural economics from the University of Hohenheim, Germany in 2006.

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Derek Headey

Derek Headey is a Senior Research Fellow in the Poverty, Health and Nutrition Division at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), where he has worked since 2008. A development economist, his research chiefly focuses on agricultural development and nutrition, though he has also works on economic growth, food security and poverty reduction issues. He is the principal investigator for the Advancing Research on Nutrition and Agriculture (ARENA, 2013-2021), funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He has published in a variety of journals in economics, agriculture and public health. He also coauthored a widely cited book on the global food crisis with Shenggen Fan in 2010, and a number of journal articles on the cause and consequences of higher food prices. He has lived and worked in India and Ethiopia, and joined the Myanmar Agricultural Policy Support Activity (MAPSA) in Yangon in October 2019.  He received his PhD in Economics from the University of Queensland, Australia, in 2008.

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Bart Minten

Bart Minten, a Belgian citizen, joined IFPRI as a senior research fellow in December 2006 and works with the Development Strategy and Governance Division. He is out-posted in Addis Ababa since June 2011 and is the program leader of the Ethiopia Strategy Support Program, a multi-donor financed five-year program that focuses on research, capacity building, and outreach and communication of research related to food and agricultural issues in Ethiopia. Before moving to Addis Ababa, he worked in the New Delhi Office where his work focused on the effects of changes in agricultural value chains on the structure of food systems in South Asia. Prior to joining IFPRI, he was a senior research associate for the Cornell Food and Nutrition Policy Program in Madagascar.

He also has held the position of assistant professor at the Department of Agricultural and Environmental Economics, KU Leuven, as well as teaching positions at Cornell University and the University of Antananarivo, Madagascar. Bart received his Ph.D. in Agricultural and Resource Economics from Cornell University.

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Danielle Resnick

Danielle Resnick is currently a Senior Research Fellow in IFPRI’s Development Strategies and Governance Division (DSGD). She is a political scientist who focuses on the political economy of development. Key research areas include the impacts of public sector reforms on accountability and efficiency, drivers of agricultural policy volatility and reform, urban governance structures and their influence on service delivery, democratization and political participation, and foreign aid effectiveness.

She is the author of Urban poverty and party populism in African democracies (Cambridge University Press), co-editor of Democratic trajectories in Africa: Unravelling the impact of foreign aid (Oxford University Press), and co-editor of African youth and the persistence of marginalization: Employment, politics, and prospects for change (Routledge).

She has conducted fieldwork in Botswana, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Malawi, Nepal, Senegal, and Zambia. She currently co-leads IFPRI’s strategic research on Strengthening Institutions and Governance (SIG) and is IFPRI’s theme leader for Governance. Danielle received her Ph.D. in Government from Cornell University in 2010.

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Shalini Roy

Shalini Roy is a Research Fellow in the Poverty, Health, and Nutrition Division (PHND) of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). Her research focuses on households’ economic behavior related to social protection, nutrition, agriculture, gender, and early childhood development. Much of her work is based on impact evaluations of development programming in these areas, with a particular interest in how programs both affect and are affected by intrahousehold dynamics. Her work spans South Asia (with a regional focus in Bangladesh), Africa, and Latin America.

Recent research includes comparing impacts of food and cash transfers on food security, nutrition, gender dynamics, and early childhood development in Bangladesh and Uganda; evaluating impacts of large-scale cash transfer projects in Mali, Brazil, and Mexico; and assessing gender- and nutrition-related impacts of agricultural projects in Bangladesh. Shalini has been at IFPRI since 2009 and holds a Ph.D in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania.

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Rajul Pandya-Lorch (moderator)

Director, Communications and Public Affairs & Chief of Staff, Director General’s Office, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) 

Rajul Pandya-Lorch, a Kenyan citizen of Indian origin, was appointed Director of Communications and Public Affairs in September 2017.  She concurrently serves as Chief of Staff in the Director General’s Office since 2005.

From 1998 to 2017, Rajul served as head of IFPRI’s 2020 Vision for Food, Agriculture, and the Environment Initiative, a global initiative that seeks to identify solutions for meeting world food needs while reducing poverty and protecting the environment. She has facilitated five major international conferences on (1) “Building Resilience for Food and Nutrition Security,” in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on May 15-17, 2014; (2) “Leveraging Agriculture for Improving Nutrition and Health,” in New Delhi, India, on February 10-12, 2011; (3)“Taking Action for the World’s Poor and Hungry People,” in Beijing, China, on October 17-19, 2007; (4) “Assuring Food and Nutrition Security in Africa by 2020”, in Kampala, Uganda on April 1-3, 2004; and (5) “Sustainable Food Security for All by 2020,” in Bonn, Germany on September 4-6, 2001. Other major projects she has led include “Millions Fed: Proven Successes in Agricultural Development” that documents evidence on policies, programs, and investments in agricultural development that have significantly reduced hunger.

In recognition of her achievements, the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association (AAEA) presented Rajul and David Spielman with its 2010 Quality of Communication Award for their work on Millions Fed: Proven Successes in Agricultural Development. She has also received the American Agricultural Economics Association’s 2002 award for Distinguished Policy Contribution, along with Per Pinstrup-Andersen and Mark Rosegrant. Rajul earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Wellesley College and a master’s degree in public and international affairs from Princeton University.

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