Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Congress of the Southern African Research and Innovation Management Association

30 May - 2 June 2023
. (Durban, South Africa) INORMS Congress - Theme: Towards a Utopia in Research and Innovation Management

The Southern African Research and Innovation Management Association (SARIMA) hosts the 2023 INORMS Congress. SARIMA is a membership organization for research and innovation professionals and managers. Its purpose is to strengthen research and innovation (R&I) in Southern Africa and ensure that there is social and economic development of the region. 

SARIMA provides a platform for engagement between R&I managers coming from a variety of organisations that are involved in the R&I in the region. It operates at an institutional, national and international level, as well as across the value chain, from research through to successful innovation. SARIMAs key focus areas include research management, innovation and technology transfer and Africa engagement. 

SARIMA’s mandate stretches from management of research through the continuum to innovation, and its presence in the fast developing African continent, makes it and it’s sister African organisations like EARIMA, WARIMA, etc. fairly unique. 

30/05 Exploring the Scenario Thinking Platform for the European Commission’s next Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (FP10)

The EU’s Research and Innovation (R&I) Funding Programme Horizon Europe, as one of the largest such programmes in the world, is a steppingstone into tackling the sustainability challenges globally and the strategic planning of the next Framework Programme (FP10) is about to start. 
  • If it is to tackle both known and, as yet, unknown global challenges, what should it look like and what relevance and importance might this have for other national or international R&I funding programmes?
  • This workshop, used four possible scenarios of the world in 2028 defined by representatives of the League of European Research Universities in their preparation for the strategic planning of the European Commission (EC).
Four international delegates were invited as “Agents of Change” to develop and discuss with the participants four different potential structures of FP10. Each “Change Agent” represents a different global region offering their specific lens on the upcoming programme.  They were supported by four facilitators, experienced in scenario thinking.
  • Ms Annika Glauner, ETH Zurich & University of Zurich (Switzerland) 
  • Mr Daan du Toit, South African Department of Science and Innovation (South Africa
  • Ms Angela Noble, Leiden University (Netherlands) 
  • Ms Jennifer Ponting, University of Chicago (United States)
  • Mr Bruno Wöran, Paracelsus Private Medical University (Austria) 
  • Ms Doris Alexander, Trinity College (Ireland) 
  • Ms Kimberly Cornfield, University College London (United Kingdom) 
  • Ms Tania Tambiah Swinburne University of Technology, Australia
LERU (2023) LERU key messages for the current and future European R&I Framework Programmes # 9 p.
In its contribution to the European Commission (EC)’s consultation on “past, current and future R&I Framework Programmes”, the League of European Research Universities (LERU) presents recommendations aiming at improving the functioning and impact of Horizon Europe and launches some ideas for the future.

CULT (2023) The European Universities Initiative (EUI): first lessons, main challenges
and perspectives.
 Policy Department for Structural and Cohesion Policies Directorate-General for Internal Policies # 106 p.

To assess the future development of the EUI, EUI created three scenarios that reflect the main driving forces behind the shaping of higher education in Europe: the Bologna Process, the development of the EEA, and innovations in learning and teaching. For each driving force, EUI developed a scenario of the future development of the EUI. Scenarios were assessed by an expert panel.

30/05 Horizon Europe: Spotlight on opportunities and partnerships for research funding

Dr Vincenzo Lorusso, European Commission, DG Research & Innovation (DG RTD) :
  • The AU-EU cooperation in Research & Innovation 
  • The AU-EU Innovation Agenda and the AU-EU Innovation Festival (15 June, Cape Town) 
  • Horizon Europe and its ‘Africa Initiative II’ 
  • Opportunities for researchers’ mobility and training: Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions, Erasmus+ and EURAXESS Africa  

30/05 Best practice and knowledge exchange on embedding equitable partnerships in collaborative research

Equitable research partnerships between institutions in the Global North and South are crucial to improving the quality and uptake of evidence addressing global challenges. However, power dynamics create challenges in achieving equity within partnerships, often impacting the extent to which Southern partners can shape research priorities and how research evidence is used. Recognising the crucial role for the research management function in supporting equitable partnerships, this collaborative learning session explored how research managers can drive equity when facilitating multi-partner collaborations in different contexts.

  • UK Collaborative on Development Research (UKCDR) and ESSENCE on Health Research published a Good Practice Document. 
  • The guidance was developed in consultation with a taskforce of international research funders and draws on the experiences of funders, research organisations and researchers in low-, middle-and high-income countries. 
  • It aims to support equity in research partnerships by assisting funders, research organizations and researchers to improve their ways of working in multi-country research partnerships, particularly in relation to low- and middle-income country (LMIC) contexts.
  • UKCDR & ESSENCE hosted a virtual session ‘The role of funders in enabling equitable research partnerships for development’ as part of the Science Summit at United Nations General Assembly 77 (UNGA77) on the 26th September 2022.
These recommendations are grounded in lessons learned in a series of case studies and pertain to one of four interconnected approaches:
  • Support the research partnership ecosystem
  • Strengthen research relationships and research systems
  • Budget for partnership building
  • Implement processes and procedures that sustain partnerships

01/06 Equity and sustainability in international partnerships: experiences and perspectives from FSNet-Africa

This panel session used the case of the Food Systems Research Network for Africa (FSNet-Africa) to consider a diversity of perspectives on how to establish and sustain truly equitable boundary-spanning partnerships that can contribute to developmental impact through research.  
  • Prof Claire Quinn, University of Leeds (United Kingdom) 
  • Dr Melody Mentz-Coetzee, University of Pretoria (South Africa) 
  • Ms Louise Heery, University of Leeds (United Kingdom) 
  • Dr Petronella Chaminuka, Agricultural Research Council of South Africa (South Africa) Petronella is the Acting Head of Impact and Partnerships and the Economic Analysis Unit of the Agricultural Research Council of South Africa. She is currently serving as a Global South Scaling Advisor for Science on the Canadian International Development Research Centre (IDRC) scalingXchange project. 
  • Dr Tshilidzi Madzivhandila, FANRPAN (South Africa)  

31/05 Partnerships supporting open research - How funders and publishers can help researchers choose open throughout research lifecycle

This session focused on the partnership between the Science for Africa Foundation (SFA) and F1000 to develop an open research publishing platform, Open Research Africa. Our speakers will discuss how the Open Research Africa Platform is working in partnership to support the reach, sharing, and potential impact of African research to the world, and examine the considerations, challenges,  opportunities, and learnings in applying open research methodologies. The Science for Africa Foundation (Kenya) (SFA Foundation), is a pan-African, non-profit and public charity organisation, is catalysing and strengthening Africa's science and innovation ecosystems to respond to Africa's sustainable development challenges and to positively impact lives.

31/05 How Can International Funding Agencies Best Support African Research Management?  

Funding bodies from the UK, Europe and North America have supported several initiatives to help develop African research management in recent years. This sessions addressed 3 questions: (a) Impact – Is there evidence to suggest that such projects have changed the development of African research management? (b) Objectives – Have the aims of donor funding changed over time? (c) Future Priorities – What objectives should donors prioritise in any future support for African research management.

01/06 Professionalisation of Research Management in Africa

Implementing its vision to contribute to the professionalisation of research management in Africa, the Southern African Research and Innovation Management Association (SARIMA) developed a Professional Competency Framework, identifying key competency areas for research managers and administrators, and then facilitated the establishment of the International Professional Recognition Council (IPRC) through leveraging strategic partnerships and funding opportunities.

01/06 Prospects for Transformative Innovation Policy in Africa 

There is an urgent need for countries in sub-Saharan Africa to develop new systems that will effectively mobilise the power of innovation for addressing a wide range of societal challenges including poverty, climate change and inequality. To this end, there is an ongoing need to experiment, research, evaluate, disseminate and communicate new science, technology and innovation practices that support development of sustainable solutions. 

Transformative Innovation Policy (TIP) proposes a new approach to support innovation that addresses societal and environmental challenges. It builds on the possibility of alternative futures, the potential of citizen movements, firms, governments, and knowledge organisations, and the co-creation of solutions through participatory approaches. 

Resource: Transformative Innovation Policy in the South African context
This panel shared useful lessons on the prospects for transformative innovation and possible pathways to the formulation, implementation, evaluation and governance of transformative innovation policies across four countries in Africa, namely Ghana, Kenya, Senegal and South Africa. 
  • Dr Priscilla Mensah, Nelson Mandela University (South Africa) 

  • Dr Chux Daniels, University of Sussex (United Kingdom) 
  • Dr Sepo Hachigonta, National Research Foundation (South Africa) Prior to joining the NRF, he was a programme manager at FANRPAN, 
  • Dr Glenda Kruss, Human Sciences Research Council (South Africa) 
  • Prof Rebecca Hanlin (picture), University of Johannesburg (South Africa). Her latest book looks at building science systems in Africa and technological capabilities in renewable electrification. 

R. Lema, M. Holm Andersen, R. Hanlin and C. Nzila, et all (2022) Building Innovation Capabilities for Sustainable Industrialisation. Renewable Electrificatioin in Developing Economies  # 303 p

This book offers a novel input into the debate on development of capabilities for sustainable industrialisation and delivers key insights for both researchers and policy makers when it comes to the question of how to increase the economic co-benefits of renewables expansion. 
  • The chapters in the book use a tailored analytical framework in their studies of renewable electrification efforts in Kenya and other countries in sub-Saharan Africa. 
  • They draw on a mix of project, sector and country level case studies to address questions such as: What capabilities are developed through on-going renewable electrification projects in developing economies? How can the expansion of renewable electrification be supported in a way that also encourages sustainable economic development? What role do international linkages (South-South and North-South) play and what role should they play in the greening of energy systems in developing economies? 
  • The authors provide a new understanding of how green transformation and sustainable industrialisation can be combined, highlighting the opportunities and constraints for local capability building and the scope for local policy action.

01/06 The international impact of an INORMS project

INORMS endorses and supports a range of projects that advance the profession of research management and administration and generate an impact internationally.
  • Incl: Mr Vincent Nkundimana, Science for Africa Foundation (Kenya)
    The SFA Foundation takes a holistic approach to science. Its programmatic initiatives are crafted to cater to the entire science ecosystem and span across the value chain from early discovery sciences to translation sciences and targeted cross-cutting gaps.

01/06 Leadership in Research Management Associations  

  • The West African Research and Innovation Management Association (WARIMA) Mr Dembo Kanteh (The Gambia) 
  • Eastern African Research and Innovations Management Association (EARIMA) Dr Edwinus Lyaya (Tanzania) 
  • Northern African Research and Innovation Management Association (NARIMA) Prof Amal Amin (Egypt)

23/05 Data Ethics Policy in Higher Education

The Association of African Universities (AAU), the University of Nottingham and the Ethical Data Initiative (EDI) are joining forces to campaign for the inclusion of data ethics in data science education on a global scale. The campaign begins with a series of informative webinars on ethical data that explore the pressing ethical questions inherent in digital technology, data collection and data-driven research.

This webinar looked into key research questions on:Who owns the data?
  • Who benefits from my data?
  • With data capitalism becoming an increasingly recognised concept, how do we avoid the pitfalls of feudalism and colonialism in this new landscape?
  • With the increase in data intensive research, and focus on data law and ethics in general, do you think it is time that data ethics should become an integral part of the education curriculum in schools and universities? Why?
  • How can we build capacity for data ethics in universities and industry?


Fourth annual Food Safety Summit of South Africa

30 - 31 May 2023Fourth annual Food Safety Summit of South Africa

Anelich Consulting and Food Focus teamed up in 2020 to present the first Food Safety Summit for South Africa. 2023 is its fourth annual Food Safety Summit, and (due to COVID in the previous editions) the first one in person. 
  • Anelich Consulting was established in January 2011 by Professor Lucia Anelich, one of South Africa’s best-known and experienced food microbiologists and food safety experts. 
  • Food Focus is a digital marketing platform focused on food compliance from farm to fork. The goal has always been to help those in the food industry do the right things. From making food safely, keeping employees safe and building the right culture, to being responsible corporate citizens, and minimising the impact on our natural environment - it's about compliance and conformance to standards.

Extracts of the programme:

Wandile Sihlobo, Agricultural Business Chamber of South Africa (Agbiz) - Policy developments that shape agriculture and food sector in SA

30/05 Product testing in South Africa

  • Monique Visser - Mérieux NutriSciences, South Africa
  • Shane Rimmell - Food Consulting Services, South Africa
  • Ilse Liedemann - Microchem Lab Services, South Africa
  • Vinay Moodley - MiChem Dynamics, South Africa
  • Jasomay Pillay - AssureCloud, South Africa
  • Dr. Dharmarai Naicker - SGS, South Africa

30/05 Fixing the Leak in your Food Safety Management System

  • Erica Sheward - GFSI, France
  • Kelly Mulholland - FSSC 22000, South Africa
  • Dr. Elmé Coetzer-Boersma - GLOBALG.A.P, Germany
  • Amanda McCarthy - BRCGS, United Kingdom
  • Anne Gerardi - GFSI, France

31/05 Global challenges in regulating plant-based foods, edible insects, lab-cultured meat

  • Billy Makhafola - DALRRD, South Africa
  • Janusz Luterek - Hahn & Hahn, South Africa
  • Dr Patrick O'Mahony - FSAI, Ireland
  • Penny Campbell - DoH, South Africa
  • Ruth Willis - FSA, United Kingdom

31/05 Maintaining the cold-chain during load shedding - providing good quality and safe food in spite of load shedding. Do we need to think outside the box?

  • Cindy Jenks - Pick n Pay, South Africa
  • Izaak Breitenbach - SAPA, South Africa
  • Johann Kotzé - SAPPO, South Africa
  • Najib Salim - RCL Foods, South Africa1
  • Akhona Qengqe - KFC Africa, South Africa

Related: 15-17 October 2018. Pretoria. 2nd International Conference on Food Safety and Security. Theme: Next Generation Food Safety Technologies addressing Sustainable Development Goals.

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Africa Catalyzing Action for Nutrition (AfriCAN)

25 May 2023
. Africa Catalyzing Action for Nutrition (AfriCAN)

For those of you who could not attend, the recording of the event will be on the AfriCAN website by 02/06.

AfriCAN was launched on Africa Day, May 25th 2022, the same year declared by the African Union as the “Year of Nutrition”. Africa while registering some progress is still not on course to meet the 2025 Malabo goal to end hunger and reduce stunting to 10% or the 2030 goal to end all forms of malnutrition.

AfriCAN’s approach, is to inform, educate, advocate, and inspire action at all levels and the goal is for communities to become “Nutrition Literate”, with the knowledge, skills, and the will to improve their nutrition situation individually and collectively.

AfriCAN’s niche is at the community level with a focus on the youth, and where we aim to bridge the gap between policy and action and between political will and the people’s will, while inspiring the youth to rise to the malnutrition challenge.

Part one : A 2 hour hybrid meeting with virtual and in-person participants 

  1. Welcome remarks
  2. Presentation of AfriCAN Strategic Plan 2023-2025 # 40 p.
  3. Perspectives from in-person and virtual participants on the theme:
  4. The Youth are the Foundation for Nutrition Literate Communities
  5. Interlude: “Artists for a Healthy and Well Nourished Africa “
  6. Message from partners
  7. Wrap up
  8. Launch of AfriCAN Strategic Initiatives
    • Good Nutrition Starts With Me Youth Initiative
    • Nutrition Literate Community Initiative

Part two: Group work with recommendations to support AfriCAN moving forward

Dr. Namanga Ngongi (Cameroon), AfriCAN Board Chair

Dr. Namanga Ngongi, former deputy Executive Director of the World Food Programme, Under Secretary General and Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in DR Congo and Head of the UN Peacekeeping Mission in the country

Professor Francis B. Zotor, (Ghana) , AfriCAN Board Director, Event Moderator

Professor Zotor is a Professor of Public Health Nutrition at the School of Public Health, University of Health and Allied Sciences in Ghana. He is a recognized leader spanning over two decades in nutrition across Africa

Ms. Julia Tagwireyi (Zimbabwe), AfriCAN Board Director

Julia Tagwireyi  has over 45 years experience in public nutrition including  8 years in the Caribbean and over 30 years in Zimbabwe and on the African continent. 

Dr. Josué Dioné (Mali), AfriCAN Board Director

Former Research Specialist, and Associate Professor for International Development at the Michigan State University (MSU) for over 13 years

Mr. Modou Cheyassin Phall (Gambia), AfriCAN Director

Mr Modou Cheyassin Phall served as the  Executive Director of the National Nutrition Agency (NaNA) for 15 years before retiring in 2021 he is part of the pioneering team that led the transformation of the Gambia’s Nutrition Unit under the Ministry of Health,  to the National Nutrition Agency under the Office of the Vice President. 

Ms. Fatou Cham,  (Gambia) Reproductive Health Rights Advocate, Intern, AfriCAN

Fatou Cham  a youth advocate in the area of Sexual and reproductive health and rights, believes that together, we can all play a role in being change agents to make our world a better place. 

Dr. Lawalley Cole (Ethiopia), Executive Director, CAFOR

Dr Cole is the Executive Director of the Coalition on Media and Education for Development Africa Forum (CAFOR) and currently based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia at the African Union Commission Headquarters

Dr. Charity Binka (Ghana), Executive Director, Women, Media and Change

Dr. Charity Binka is the Executive Director of Women, Media and Change (WOMEC) a non-governmental organization (NGO) that is committed to gender equality and the empowerment of women.

Mr. Alasan Senghore, (Gambia), Secretary General, Gambia Red Cross Society

Mr. Senghore is currently seconded by the International Federation of Red Cross (IFRC) to the Gambia Red Cross Society as Secretary General.

Dr. Batamaka Somé  (Burkina Faso), International Consultant 

Dr Somé is an anthropologist, a farm entrepreneur and research consultant based in Burkina Faso. 

Ms. Mariam Mansaray, (Gambia) Digital Specialist and Youth Advocate

As a digital specialist, Mariam develops and executes marketing strategies for  clients, creating engaging content ideas, monitoring social media pages, and developing campaigns to boost visibility and engagement for businesses

Mr. Tandong Calistus Jong (Cameroon), African Agriculture Ambassador

Mr. Jong is a Youth Activist and Advocate – African Agriculture ambassador, AUC-PACA Award Winner and Food Safety Campaigner.

Dr. Amat Bah, Executive Director, National Nutrition Agency (NaNA), The Gambia

Dr Amat Bah is the Executive Director of the National Nutrition Agency [NaNA] and currently the Project Coordinator of the World Bank Gambia Government supported Gambia Social Safety Net Project (GSSNP).

Mr. Baba Jaiteh, (Gambia) Co-Founder and Head of Operations, GISQO – Youth owned and Youth Led Software Development Company

Baba Jaiteh is a computer science and technology professional and co-founder of Gisqo, a software development and digital marketing company based in The Gambia. 

Ms. Binta Khan Badgie, (Gambia) Entrepreneur, CEO and Co-founder Nopal Jegg  

Binta Khan Badjie is a wife, mother, an Entrepreneur, a banker by profession and the CEO of Nopal Jegg Enterprise.

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Fostering the Africa-Europe partnership for a just rural transformation in the Sahel

This high-level conference builds on the international momentum around the GGWI and follows up on the One Planet Summit, the 6th AU-EU Heads of State Summit and international conferences such as the Biodiversity, Desertification and Climate COPs. 

It also complements the launch of the Global Gateway and new EU regulations on deforestation-free products. The conference brought together key stakeholders from Africa and Europe (political leaders, field experts, research organisations, development and financial institutions, and civil society) to discuss how to enhance the African-European partnership, and develop credible mid (2030) and long-term (2050) strategies for investment in the Great Green Wall.


  • Catherine Chabaud, MEP (Renew), Member of the Development (DEVE) Committee, Member of the Intergroup on Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development, Member of the SDG Alliance

  • Ibrahim Mayaki, AU Special Envoy for Food Systems, and Co-chair of the Africa-Europe Foundation Strategy Group on Agriculture and Food Systems; Honorary President of the Sahel and West Africa Club at the OECD; former Prime Minister of Niger and CEO of AUDA-NEPAD

    "We tend to forget that the definition of the Great Green Wall was actually a paradigm shift in our development patterns. We were used to managing macro economic indicators, sectorial indicators, and we used to neglect the spatial dimension of development. And this Great Green Wall aims at discovering this spatial dimension in development."

    "This is a multisectoral project. We deal with climate issues, job creation, agriculture, land management, land planning. And from an institutional point of view, we're not ready to deal with these multi sectoral issues. This weakness is also reflected by the large array of partners.

    "We need to introduce innovation at the institutional level: a model that goes beyond national offices, beyond the agency as such, in order to have a more global architecture."

  • Brahim Said, Executive Secretary of the Pan African Agency of the Great Green Wall (PAAGGW)

  • Ibrahim Thiaw, Executive Secretary at the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)

    "Europe and Africa need to rethink their relationship to land. Africa was always a promised land for Europe. During the slavery time of the triangle trade, the Europeans came to Africa to take slaves and to bring them to America. African farmers have created Europe through the sugar plantations. Colonized Africa created value from the resources and exported the resources. The trade of raw materials exploitation continues today. We have to review the EU-Africa relationship in order to create more jobs in Africa, more African value chains to have at least some level of local processing in Africa. But for that, we we need to keep some minimum level of economic development in Africa. We produce cocoa for example, but we don't have chocolate and we only have 5 or 6% of revenues, staying in Africa. The rest goes for export and this is what we have to review."  
  • S.E Mahamadou Issoufou, former President of Niger, Champion of the Great Green Wall and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), and member of the Africa-Europe Foundation (AEF) High Level Panel of Personalities

    "The Mahamadou Issoufou Foundation will organize with the Niger government a Forum on the commitment of the private sector to the Great Green Wall initiative. This forum will take place on June 5 2023."

    [05/06/2023] The forum was organized by the IMF in partnership with the Ministry of
    Environment and Desertification, Futures Agribusiness (FAGRIB), the Great Green Wall Foundation (GGWoA) and the Pan-African Agency of the Great Green Wall (APGMV). Under the theme of "Creating markets and restoring land for the people and the planet", the forum mobilized the entire private sector of the Sahel to implement this initiative. H.E. CEO Ramatoulaye Diallo N'diaye addressed the Private Sector Engagement in Niger
  • Stéphane Bijoux, MEP, Vice-chair of the Committee on Development (DEVE), Chair of the EU-CARIFORUM Delegation, Member of the Intergroup on Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development

From words to action – implementing the Great Green Wall

As showcased in recent IPCC reports, the drylands of the Sahel are suffering ever-more volatile patterns of rainfall, greater risk of flooding and harsher droughts. Heavy pressure from farming has squeezed grazing lands and led to the degradation of soils and vegetation, and falling crop yields. But pockets of green hope exist where more resilient rural landscapes have been created, and people’s incomes and livelihoods improved. We need to share solutions from existing actions which offer lessons for policy and practice, and demonstrate how to accelerate the Great Green Wall Initiative across the region

The Great Green Wall Initiative was initially created by leaders of the African Union to offer tools to their population to create local prosperity for and by themselves. The initiative is based on people on the frontlines fighting every day to build better livelihoods. These voices from the field provide a better understanding of the challenges but also the opportunities offered by the initiative, and how better to support local efforts which can achieve global impact.

This session aims to demonstrate concrete success stories from the field, offering testimony which illustrates the key ingredients needed to make progress, and presenting practical and replicable measures. Such examples must provide the foundation stones for scaling up the implementation of the Great Green Wall Initiative.

  • Oumar Abdoulaye Bâ, Director of ASERGMV (Senegalese Agency for the Great Green Wall reforestation)

    "A young lady  in the Great Green Wall will probably get married when she is 13 years. When she turns 16 she will have her first born and a second child when 18. While pregnant again, she wakes up at 5am to walk 2, 3, or 5 kilometers to bring water at home and to prepare breakfast. She would have to take the road again at 2pm to bring back water to cook for her children. And you look at her from your cooled car, and you ask her to do something to decarbonize. Maybe it's meaningful for you but not for her because you don't have the same priorities. If you just planted a strip of trees, you missed the point."

    "We need to have a mapping of the collective intelligence as we work at the service of communities. It is important that we listen to them because these people have been living in those areas for hundreds of years. They have a local knowledge that we have to give value. When you go to the Sahel, you see abandoned cars, abandoned houses. This is a picture that you have to keep in mind. Such intelligence starts by understanding what is important. What we know is not important. What they don't know is not important. 3 things happen: (a) What you don't know, you know; (b) What you know, you know; (c) But what you don't know you don't know is more important than anything else. 
     When we don't have this, we don't have it at all. The only solution is collective intelligence.
  • Birguy Lamizana, Sahel Senior Programme Manager, Global Mechanism at the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)
  • Yusuf Maina Bakar, Director of the Great Green Wall for Nigeria
  • Rémi Hémeryck, Executive Director SOS Sahel
  • Patrick Worms, Senior Science Policy Advisor, CIFOR-ICRAF
  • Nabil Ben Khatra, Executive Secretary of the Sahel and Sahara Observatory
  • Andrew Harper, Special Advisor to the High Commissioner for Climate Action at the United Nations Human Right Commission (UNHCR)

    "We have to look at where we've got to move, away from the polemics and the jargon and look at where there is a convergence between the interests of both Africa and Europe? And it comes down to the stabilization of populations. But not just to force the stabilization of populations. It's about the dignity of people. It's about giving people a sense of future. And if you don't do that, you're gonna have what's happening now. There's a lot of bravado, there's a lot of success stories, but I've been to sone of these locations and it's miserable."

    "UNHCR has 60 offices in West Africa in the Sahel for a reason. Because each one of these countries is hosting refugees, or internally displaced persons. Populations are going to double in some countries, including Burkina within the next 20 years. Climate change is real. 
    El Nino is real. You're gonna have crop failures. You're gonna have increasing competition over water. You're gonna have violence. You're gonna have displacement. You're gonna have mega trends which are going to be exacerbated by the inability of richer developed nations (who have benefited from the resources of all of Africa), to own up to the responsibilities and actually support what's required."

    "There's not a lack of data. There's not a lack of analysis. There's not a lack of trends. There's not a lack of projects. There's not a lack of passion, you're hearing the passion all around us now. There's a lack of action."

    "We've got Macron's Summit coming up in June [Sommet pour un « Nouveau pacte financier mondial » 22 - 23 June]. We've got the African Climate Summit [4 - 6 September]. We've got the SG Secretary General's Climate Ambition Summit 2023 [20 September 2023]. We've got the COP 28 presidency coming up [November]. There's enough summit there's enough talk. At what point do we start challenging ourselves to say: okay, what steps are going to be made between now and the Macron Summit?"

    "Let's turn the the approach from one of of promoting dependency to one of promoting empowerment, one of sustainability. One of using African solutions, but with Northern resources. We don't have time to waste. I was talking to the European Parliament a year ago and I don't think much has changed. So each one of us has a responsibility not to accept the status quo. Each one of us has a responsibility to challenge our neighbor to say: Okay, what you're actually saying is true." 
This panel discussion was followed by a short presentation from a delegation of French students to report on their field trip in Senegal, to visit: Tolou Keurs, Senegal’s drought-resistant circular gardens
  • Crop circles of a new kind are sprouting in Senegal. These circular, drought-resistant Tolou Keur gardens are designed to improve food security, slow desertification, and provide livelihoods within communities living just south of the Sahara Desert.
  • In this Reuters video from Boki Diawe, agricultural engineer Aly Ndiaye explains Tolou Keur gardens, a relatively new approach to the Great Green Wall reforestation project. Ndiaye envisions the Tolou Keur gardens linking together across the country.

Unlocking finance & delivering an ambitious Africa-Europe agenda for the Great green wall

Endowed since the One Planet Summit in 2021 with a financial envelope of $19 billion for the period from 2021-2025, the Great Green Wall initiative needs to be further supported in order to deliver and demonstrate the social, economic and environmental benefits it can bring to the Sahel’s development. A clear mapping of the pledges is needed to build strong partnerships, and develop credible mid (2030) and long-term (2050) strategies.
  1. How to unlock the finance pledges, make funding more efficient and agile for projects with demonstrated socio-economic and environmental benefits? What complementary measures to strengthen delivery on the ground?
  2. How to encourage Europe to work with African leaders to develop a long-term approach to support the Great Green Wall, encompassing a sustainable agri-food production plan (e.g. plant-based and animal protein plan) and soil restoration?
  3. Can Europe and Africa co-create a sustainable food-production plan in the Sahel to cope with the rise in famines, food insecurity, and how can the Sahel region benefit most from the Great Green Wall initiative?
  • Myriam Ferran Deputy Director General, DG International Partnership, European Commission

    "We have pledged more than 700 million euros a year during the lifetime of the program. We are in the middle of the process of implementing. We have met this expectation for 2021 and we are in a good way to also meet the financial commitment for 2022 and 2023."

     project in Senegal, has the objective of creating 2000 new green jobs, restoring 30,000 hectare of land and improving land governance."
  • Dorsuma Al-Hamndou, Division Manager, Climate and Green Growth Department at African Development Bank Group (AfDB)
  • Markus Berndt, Director-General and acting Managing Director at the European Investment Bank (EIB)
  • Estherine Fotabong, Director of Programme Implementation and Coordination at the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD)

    "20 billion euros have been made available by the one Planet Summit for the accelerator program. However, the estimated figure to implement the program is about 33 billion. Why do we [only] have 10% or 2.5 billion disbursed. There must be a problem somewhere? Have we identified that? What are the reasons for this?"

    "The member states do not even know where the resources are. We should map where these resources are [...] so that member states can be informed to approach these sources to get these resources."

    "A reason for this low disbursement is the potential to develop bankable programs that can be financed. We support member states by putting in place a project development facility that works with member states to look at developing the multi sector integrated programs."

    "The Great Green Wall is a flagship of the EU. Perhaps we need to interrogate what does that mean? 
    The implementation support, for instance, is 700 million, which is a significant resource. [But] is there a clear action plan on how to disburse these funds to member states or to the institutions that support member states to implement their action plans of the Great Green Wall initiative in their countries?"

    "I don't think we give sufficient importance on how little resources can empower communities and provide alternative livelihoods to these communities. The TerraFund for AFR100 [a fund for locally led land restoration projects operating in Africa] grants small sums of money: $5,000. It turns out that $10,000 or maximum $20,000  is doing a lot in terms of income generating activities."

    "It took us perhaps 10 years to start getting traction for this very important program. Why? Because we get changes in the rules of the multilateral systems. At the time we were designing this program, regional funding of GEF
    [Global Environmental Facility] was a priority. By the time we finished designing it, it wasn't a priority anymore. We moved into supporting national programs and therefore there was no funding coming for such an important initiative. So consistency and long term commitment are essential."

  • Sandra Rullière, Deputy Head of Rural Development and Agriculture Division at the French Development Agency (AFD) (tbc)
  • William Kwende, Founder of Serious Shea, Burkina Faso 

    "Only sustainable value chains are going to make the Great Green Wall project survive beyond us for the next generation. 15 million women are producing 1 million tons of Shea butter. 90% of it goes to chocolate. And without that we wouldn't have chocolate anymore.  If the private sector doesn't take this role, nobody will do it."

    "With the support of the AFDB
    we have developed a technology that can help process Shea in the Sahel without the need of fossil fuel. [...] We are also connecting the community that are processing their goods to the international market. [...] We use the processing opportunity to produce fertilizers because every byproducts of agro-processing has the potential to produce fertilizers."

    "The private sector in Africa has an important role to play because we see it as the only way to make these opportunities sustainable."

  • Ahmed Aziz Diallo, Mayor of Dori & C3Sahel Coordinator

  • Barry Andrews, Member of the European Parliament, President of the SDG Alliance

  • Diane Binder, President of the Alliance of the Private Sector for the Great Green Wall
"Sahel land is actually very rich and very wealthy. We are talking about products like Moringa, Shea, Baobab, Balantes,... I could name probably 60 other species like those ones which have a market potential, which are good for the health and which are good for the planets."  
"I don't believe that the Great Green Wall Initiative in the Sahel actually needs public aid. What I believe is that public aid needs to be there to unlock opportunities that already exist. Capacities exist, the products exist and the markets exist and need to be supported."  

Related: Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR)

Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR) is a low-cost land restoration technique used to combat
poverty and hunger amongst poor subsistence farmers by increasing food and timber production and resilience to climate extremes. 
  • In practice, FMNR involves the systematic regrowth and management of trees and shrubs from felled tree stumps, sprouting root systems or seeds. 
  • The regrown trees and shrubs – integrated into crops and grazing pastures – help restore soil structure and fertility, inhibit erosion and soil moisture evaporation, rehabilitate springs and the water table, and increase biodiversity. 
  • Some tree species also impart nutrients such as nitrogen into the soil
  • As a result, FMNR can double crop yields, provide building timber and firewood, fodder and shade for livestock, wild foods for nutrition and medication, and increase incomes and living standards for farming families and their communities.