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U.S Secretary of State and African Development Bank President visit AfricaRice

January 23, 2024, Abidjan – AfricaRice was honored to host U.S Secretary of State Antony Blinken during his tour in Africa. Mister Blinken and Dr. Akinwumi Adesina President, African Development Bank Group (AfDB), paid a visit to AfricaRice, a longtime partner of the bank.


The Secretary of State and President Adesina had the opportunity to engage with AfricaRice Director General Baboucarr Manneh on key challenges that the continent is facing to achieve food security and on innovative and promising technologies that show progress in the attainment of this goal.


The collaboration with AfricaRice was highlighted, acknowledging the organization’s longstanding commitment to maximizing crop yields and developing resilient crops capable of withstanding climate change and extreme weather events.


AfricaRice has been partnering with the bank and benefiting for decades-long support to rice research and development in Africa provided by the United States of America. Programs such as the AfDB’s Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation program (TAAT) rice compact implemented in 16 countries by AfricaRice and other partners has increased incomes of households of project beneficiaries by 32% (from US$459 to US$604) and increased rice production by more than 1 million tons through the adoption of climate-resilient and nutritious varieties, the use of quality seeds and training of beneficiaries in good agricultural practices.


According to Dr Manneh: ‘‘It is important to build on TAAT’s successes to help African countries achieve rice self-sufficiency with initiatives such as AfDB’s REWARD program which aims to produce 53 million tons of paddy, in the next 5 years leading to rice self-sufficiency in 15 African countries.’’


The pledge of U.S Secretary of State for $45 mln to boost coastal West Africa security will therefore not only help fight conflict and bring stability to coastal West Africa but it will help to create an enabling environment for agricultural transformation.


Following a tour on the exhibition stands that AfricaRice prepared in its premises with its partners, mister Blinken commanded both the bank and AfricaRice: “The African Development Bank is doing an extraordinary work in making the necessary investments in sustainable production and doing it in a smart, effective way.’’

He added: “And then the work that AfricaRice has been doing for so much time to maximize the crops and to do things that are, as we know from recent years, vitally important: producing resilient crops that can stand up to climate change and other weather-related events. The focus as well on nutrition, as we’ve just heard going through the different stands here.’’


On behalf of AfricaRice 28 member countries and partners, Dr Manneh commented on the partnership: “The US government and the African Development Bank collaboration is key to agricultural development in Africa. This partnership is helping AfricaRice, member of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), provide innovative research products and smart technologies which increase the productivity and resilience of rice-based food systems and the revenue of millions of smallholder farmers including women and youths.”


Media links:

View U.S Secretary of State’s remarks:

View President Adesina’s remarks:

View Dr Manneh’s remarks:

AfDB flickr (photos):



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