CORAF General Assembly Opens Virtually Aiming for Solutions to Food System Challenges

Dakar, April 27, 2021 — A key gathering of critical players of West and Central Africa’s agricultural research players started today, April 27, with the overarching goal of reviewing progress in implementing plans and strategizing further to meet the needs of farmers and producers in both regions.

West and Central African farmers, underprivileged populations, and the people of West and Central Africa have recently been dealing with the impacts of the have COVID-19 pandemic. Besides, both regions face challenges linked to insecurity, negatively impacting the food system on which most of the population depends.

Solving these challenges requires innovative solutions and quality research. This gathering of the most critical constituencies of CORAF allows the partners to assess how far they have performed since adopting new plans in 2018 and looking ahead to identify adequate solutions to emerging and future challenges.

“We conduct research and development across West and Central Africa to develop new products and services designed to improve the quality of life of rural and agricultural families and to satisfy the needs of our customers,” said Dr. Angela Moreno, Chairperson of the Governing Board of CORAF at the opening ceremony.

The General Assembly is CORAF’s highest decision-making body and holds after every three years. The last one was held in Dakar in April 2018. 

Call for Innovation and Anticipation

As a research coordination instrument, CORAF is expected to bring innovative solutions to the food system challenges facing West and Central Africa. Some speakers at the opening ceremony identified innovation, greater scientific collaboration, and anticipating as vital to some of the economic challenges facing the countries. This was particularly the case of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), a key partner of CORAF.

“The challenges of the region remain enormous and compounded by the pandemic, calling for more innovation in approaches, more proactivity, and anticipation to better contribute to the economic recovery of the region,” said Daniel Moore, Director of USAID in West Africa.

USAID currently represents the financial and technical partners of CORAF. Mr. Moore, who spoke on their behalf, argued that building resilient, productive, and competitive food systems was one way of reducing dependency on foreign aid and strengthening food-self sufficiency.

Expected to close on Wednesday, April 28, 2021, this first part of the CORAF GA is expected to yield the following outcomes: 

  1. Approve the implementation status of resolutions and recommendations of the previous GA; 
  2. Align CORAF’s governing tools and adopt a roadmap for implementing the revised texts;
  3. Validate the proposal to support greater integration of CORAF’s activities in Central Africa and within the Economic Commission for Central African States (ECCAS) and plan for consultative meetings;
  4. Review and adopt the status report on the mid-term assessment of CORAF’s Institutional Capacity Performance and roadmap for implementation of recommendations;
  5. Approve and present the new Governing Board.

Following the virtual business meeting, a physical component is planned to hold in the Chadian capital in January 2022, during which updated plans would be adopted to allow the organization to fulfil its mandate of enhancing food and nutrition security and boosting prosperity better.

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