In an effort to bolster cooperation between European and African countries as they face joint challenges in agriculture, food and the environment in a context of climate change, two French science bodies, in cooperation with 20 African universities and institutes along with three sub-regional organisations, have launched a research initiative to improve food security, fight global warming and tackle youth employment, among others.
Professor Adipala Ekwamu, the executive secretary of the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM), based in Uganda, told University World News: “This initiative is important because it is recognition that Africa has a place in the generation of knowledge for Africa and the rest of the world; an opportunity for Africa to play an active role in the global knowledge economy; and an opportunity for integrating and reducing the knowledge and skills gaps between Europe and Africa.”
The initiative, Transforming Food and Agricultural Systems through Research in Partnership with Africa, or TSARA, was launched at the 2022 Paris International Agricultural Show, which concluded early in March.
The 20 African institutions (indicated in brackets) involved in setting up TSARA are located in 14 African countries, namely, South Africa (3), Benin (1), Burkina Faso (1), Cameroon (2), Côte d’Ivoire (1), Egypt (1), Kenya (1), Madagascar (1), Mali (1), Morocco (1), Mozambique (1), Senegal (2), Tunisia (3) and Zimbabwe (1).
The two French research institutes involved are the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development and France’s National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and Environment.
The three subregional organisations involved in developing TSARA are the Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel, or CILSS, the International Centre for Research-Development of Animal Husbandry in Sub-humid Zones, or CIRDES, and CORAF – an international non-profit association of national agricultural research systems in 22 countries in West and Central Africa.
The governance of the TSARA initiative will include a general assembly with two co-chairs, an external advisory board and a Franco-African secretariat.