ELENI GEBRE-MADHIN (ETHIOPIA)
Eleni Gabre-Madhin left her job as a World Bank senior economist in Washington, DC, in part because she was deeply troubled by the 2002 famine in Ethiopia . A year earlier, the country had experienced a bumper crop of maize. With prices depressed because of oversupply, many farmers simply abandoned their grain in the field. But when the rains failed in 2002, the country was threatened by a famine of 1984 proportions. Her dream is to build a market that protects the African farmer, who is often lives at the mercy of forces beyond his or her control. She is now the CEO of the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange, the first commodities exchange in the country. ECX allows small scale farmers to readily access markets for their produce as well as store surpluses. Gabre-Madhin’s vision is that the exchange, which opened in April 2008, will help Ethiopia feed itself.