From Kigali to Durban, Capacity Development Experts Converge at the 8th Africa Agribusiness and Science Week (AASW8)

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By: Abdulrazak Ibrahim (PhD), Cluster Leader, Institutional Capacity and Futures, FARA

Two weeks from today, hundreds of agricultural research for development experts, practitioners, leaders of thought, policymakers, entrepreneurs, extension agents, youth and women groups, farmer organizations, scientists, and environmental and health experts, shall converge in Durban, South Africa, to participate in the 8th Africa Agribusiness Science Week (AASW8) hosted by the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), the Centre for Coordination of Agricultural Research and Development for Southern Africa (CCARDESA) in partnership with the Government of South Africa.

The AASW is the largest global gathering of all stakeholders in Africa’s food and agricultural landscape. Bringing together participants from FAO, AU, EC, the Africa Business Council, the City of Durban and global and international institutions, the 8th meeting will also feature FARA and CCARDESA General Assemblies.
For FARA’s Institutional Capacity and Future Scenario (ICF) cluster, the event represents a critical milestone in facilitating the strengthening of capacities in systems thinking (scenario mapping, food system approaches and alternative futures) and driving the Agricultural Research and Innovation (AIS) and Foresight agendas on the continent.

The event is coming at a time when Africa is re-strategizing in response to significant changes such as the One CGIAR strategy, UN Food Systems Summit, and Dakar II for unleashing Africa’s food potential for achieving Global Goals for 2030 in alignment with the African Union (AU) Agenda 2063 and the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programa (CAADP).

To this end, FARA brings together partners from the Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT), Agricultural Research and Innovation Fellowship for Africa (ARIFA), Africa Foresight Academy (AFA), Foresight4Food, African Seed and Biotechnology Partnership Platform (ASBPP) ecosystems and Dakar II; all routes lead to Durban as the countdown begins.

For the ICF cluster, three events shall represent the highlights of the event; i) a parallel session on Repositioning Postgraduate Education of Africa’s Agricultural Research and Development Experts: The FARA-FAUBAI Experience ii) a side event on Tracking the Future of Food and Agriculture in Africa and iii) a seminar on strengthening Innovation Platform (IP) networks and stakeholdersLeveraging its partnership with the Brazilian Association for International Education (FAUBAI), FARA will also launch an open call for Expression of Interest from African Ministries of Education and of Agriculture, Universities, Research Centers and Tertiary Education Trust Funds from Regional Member Countries (RMCs) of the AU, Private Sector on Corporate Social Responsibility drive, Donor Groups and the International Organizations to nominate qualified and eligible candidates for training at MSc, PhD, Postdoc and benchwork levels in Agricultural Research and Innovation.

Drawing lessons from FAO’s recent report on the world’s future of Food and Agriculture, FARA will also harvest insights from food systems and foresight experts drawn from across the globe. Participants will share experiences and learning materials and generate knowledge products to contribute to strengthening Africa’s food systems.
Expectations are high as partners worldwide converge and Dublin in what promises to be the most significant activity in America’s agricultural research for development landscape in recent years.

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