CGIAR’s Africa-based leaders conduct a series of high-level meetings in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire
Updated: Jan 31
January 25, 2024 - The Africa Regional Directors and Center DGs paid a courtesy visit to AfDB President Dr Akinwumi Adesina, followed by a second courtesy visit to the Ivorian State Minister of Agriculture, Rural Development and Food Crops.
The delegation of leaders included Dr Simeon Ehui, Director General IITA and Regional Director Continental Africa CGIAR; Dr Baboucarr Manneh, Director General of AfricaRice and CGIAR Regional Director, West and Central Africa; Dr Éliane Ubalijoro, CEO of Center for International Forestry Research – World Agroforestry Center (CIFOR – ICRAF); Dr. Siboniso Moyo, Deputy Director General Biosciences, International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI); Dr Aly Abousabaa, Director General, International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA)–Lebanon and Regional Director, Central and West Asia and North Africa (CWANA); and Dr Kwesi Atta-Krah, Consultant / Advisor to RD-CA on Country and Regional Engagement.
The meeting with President Adesina was the first of its kind, coordinated and led together by the five centers, and it had three main objectives:
1. To collectively express appreciation from One CGIAR Regional Directors/DGs of Africa-based centers.
2. To provide an update on the progress made in One CGIAR Africa since Abidjan I and II consultations.
3. To seek advice, support, and direction from AfDB President, Dr Adesina, on potential avenues for collaboration and support.
Welcoming the delegation, President Adesina was with his Vice-president, the Director for Agriculture, the program manager and few other AfDB key members. He expressed his appreciation in having African leaders at the forefront of CGIAR initiatives on the continent: "CGIAR leaders have local knowledge, experience and networks and are better placed to work with national institutions to find local solution to combat climate change, increase productivity and contribute to achieve food security.”
President Adesina continued by lauding the work of the centers: ‘‘The interest in agriculture is growing as a critical issue for the planet and the climate smart technologies and other innovations developed by the centers are a pride for the continent. I command CGIAR for those results, it is a sign of credibility.’’
The mission also served as a partnership re-enforcement opportunity. AfDB is a long-term partner of CGIAR and each of the leaders was able to voice out the effective collaboration with AfDB through programs such as TAAT 1 and TAAT2, CARISA and many others. On behalf of CGIAR, the leaders expressed their gratitude to President Adesina for his leadership and dedication to agriculture and food security, as well as his contributions to CGIAR reforms.
The leaders emphasized the need for an effective and strong integration among the centers through programs that provide holistic and sustainable solutions and that accurately address nutrition, food security, climate change, soil health, animal health, breeding and feeding, regenerative agriculture, biodiversity, agroforestry, water scarcity issues among others.
They also highlighted the need to prioritize capacity building for youth thus bringing them at the forefront, capacity building for country-based national agricultural research services partners, young scientists and extension workers, and private-sector seed growers.
View the summary video of the leaders' message here https://vimeo.com/907937309
Despite some laudable achievements on the continent, it is worth noting that around 283 million Africans are still going hungry living under dire conditions. CGIAR's role in providing the right technologies, innovative and scalable solutions to transform the lives of the affected population is pivotal. It is time to go from just good science and translate it into good technologies that reach the scale of the farmers.
The meeting between One CGIAR for Africa and President Adesina marked a significant step towards a long-term collaboration and support for agriculture and food security initiatives in Africa. It ended with some promising next steps action points which include an engagement to prepare a high-level convening at the World Bank/IMF Annual meeting; CGIAR participation at AfDB annual meeting; and preparation of TAATS 3 and CARISA.
Following this first meeting, the delegation headed to Côte d’Ivoire State Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Food Crops. Meeting with Minister Kobenan Kouassi Adjoumani, the delegation re-affirmed its goal to continue partnering with the country government and, together, address the major agricultural challenges. The warm welcome offered by the minister and his cabinet reconfirmed the appreciation of the country central government towards the work and achievements of CGIAR centers.
The minister appreciated the visit and commended the work of the centers: ‘‘it is crucial that research centers support farmers to adapt to climate change with smart technologies that enable Africa to modernize its agriculture and increase its productivity. Without research work, we won’t be able to feed our population.’’
The delegation presented the various centers’ fields of expertise and their services. A focus was put of the specific technical support to provide to national agriculture research systems, the training of youth and their involvement in agriculture, the mechanization of agriculture, the technologies and skills to ensure quality processing and conservation of agriculture products, and the funding for jointly led programs.
The next step of this meeting will include a working session between the center’s team and the minister office technical team to establish an effective collaboration path with an action plan to provide full support to the Ivorian agriculture.
CGIAR’s Africa-based leaders came together as one team reinforcing the position of CGIAR on the continent. This historic coordinated group visit to a financing partner will help forge new opportunities that will certainly benefit numerous NARS and millions of African farmers.
View AfDB visit pictures: https://flic.kr/s/aHBqjBbLGk