Dr. Eleni Gabre-Madhin is founder and chief executive of blueMoon, Ethiopia’s first youth agribusiness/agritech incubator and seed investor. Prior to this, she founded eleni LLC, Africa’s leader in designing, building, and supporting the operations of commodity exchange eco-systems in frontier markets. Dr. Gabre-Madhin is also founder and former CEO of the highly acclaimed Ethiopia Commodity Exchange (ECX) from 2008 to late 2012, successfully trading $1.2 billion annually after 3 years of operation.
A globally recognized thought leader on agricultural commodity markets and African development, she has held prior roles at the World Bank, the International Food Policy Research Institute in Washington, and UNCTAD in Geneva. Eleni Gabre-Madhin has a PhD in applied economics from Stanford University, an MSc in Agricultural Economics from Michigan State University, and BA in economics from Cornell University, and received the Outstanding Dissertation award by the American Agricultural Economics Association in 1999 for her research on Ethiopian grain markets.
Eleni Gabre-Madhin was recognized as Devex’ Top 5 Women Global Women of Impact on Development in April 2016 and Africa’s Top Woman Pioneer, Innovator & Entrepreneur of 2015 by the Wharton Business School Africa Club. She was named among the 125 Global Women of Impact by Newsweek in April 2013, among 100 Most Influential Africans by New African in 2012, and received the prestigious Yara Prize for Agricultural Transformation in Africa and the African Banker Icon Award, both in 2012. She was named among 50 Women Shaping Africa by The Africa Report in 2011, nominated Outstanding African Businesswoman in 2010, and selected as Ethiopian Person of the Year in 2009. ECX is the first company in Africa to receive the prestigious global CIO100 Award for IT excellence applied to business in 2011 and named Agricultural Initiative of the Year by Africa Investor in 2011.
Eleni Gabre-Madhin was featured in the PBS/Wide Angle television documentary The Market Maker, which aired nationwide in the US in July 2009, and has been covered extensively by the international media, including the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Financial Times, The Guardian (UK), The Economist, Der Spiegel, Japan Times, Christian Science Monitor, Bloomberg, Reuters, CNN, BBC, RAI Italia, France Arte, African Business, The African Report, among others.
A sought after public speaker, she has participated in the World Economic Forum, Time/CNN Global CEO Forum, World Export Development Forum, Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Clinton Global Initiative, Mo Ibrahim Forum, TED, among others, and was invited to address G8 Leaders at Camp David in May 2012 during the joint session with African heads of state.
She is a founding member and Board director of the Ethiopian Academy of Sciences, board member of the ONE Africa Policy Advisory Board, member of the Africa 2.0 Advisory Group, and previously member of the Stiglitz Task Force on Africa and the Government of Sweden’s Expert Group on Development, and a director of Syngenta Corporation from 2013 to 2017.