Sander Muilerman

As a rural development and agricultural innovations expert, Dr Sander Muilerman has well over a dozen years of field experience in the Sub-Saharan tropical forest zone. Sander speaks Dutch, English, French, German and basic Portuguese. He currently lives in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, with his family. Sander has recently started an appointment for the GIZ’s Green Innovation Centre Programme, focused on supporting innovation in the cocoa value chain in Côte d’Ivoire, working with several ministries and the cocoa marketing board.

Until the summer of 2019, Sander served as the Senior Regional Manager for the World Cocoa Foundation’s Climate Smart Cocoa Program (CSC) and the Cocoa & Forests Initiative (CFI) in West Africa, with the aim to increase private sector engagement and investments in strategies for more socio-economic and environmental sustainability in the cocoa sector, and to eliminate deforestation in the cocoa value chain, respectively. 

Previously, Sander performed international social science research and climate change project coordination in cocoa-based farming systems for the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), of the CGIAR. Until 2010, he worked for the Belgian NGO Broederlijk Delen as a management coach for the local NGO ‘Alternatives Durables pour le Developpement’ in Cameroon, and until 2008 as a press and communications coordinator for European cultural institute ‘’ in Brussels. Earlier positions were held with the international tour operator TUI, at a ministerial development research council in The Hague (RAWOO/Nuffic), and with Dutch ICT provider royal KPN. During his studies he volunteered with a gorilla conservation project in Congo Brazzaville (Aspinall Foundation), worked at the Dutch import promotion council (CBI), and performed an in-depth study of local natural resource management practices in rural Senegal.

Sander has a Doctorandus degree (equivalent to BA+MA) in Rural Sociology and Cultural Anthropology from Leiden University and an additional Bachelor’s in Marketing and Management for Tourism from Hogeschool HBO Nederland in Arnhem. He defended his PhD thesis at Wageningen University in The Netherlands in 2019 on 'Innovating Service Delivery and Aligning with the State - The co-creation of scaling mechanisms for cocoa extension in Africa'.

Key words: Agriculture, rural development, cocoa, anthropology, sociology, R4D, ICT4Ag, tree crops, food security, markets, gender, adoption, scaling, institutional development, sustainable intensification.

Affiliate member
GIZ Green Innovation Centre Programme