AU-SAFGRAD is hosting this workshop as part of its programme to support the development of strategic agricultural commodities value chains.

The 3-day workshop is expected to provide the fora to strengthen regional interests and ties while fostering greater engagement with RECs technical experts, development partners involved with commodity value chains development and agricultural trade experts.

The workshop builds on an earlier one organized by AUC and the NEPAD Agency on the margins of the CAADP Partnership Platform in Kampala, Uganda in June 2017.


The workshop is to be attended by RECs focal persons who are experts in agriculture, agribusiness, agro-industrial development, trade and investments. Also, Continental and regional organizations, development partners, experts and stakeholders in agricultural commodity value chains development as well as agricultural trade experts in Africa are expected to attend the workshop slated for 17-19th October, 2017 in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.


The aim of the workshop is to share available knowledge of what has been done on regional value chain development, and chart a road map for further development of same, including fostering stronger partnerships.

 Specifically, during the workshop we will:

1. Receive information on RECs progress from agricultural and trade perspective on value chains development

2. Review criteria for prioritizing regional value chains

3. Agree on strategic interventions for development of regional value chains

4. Chart a common road map to implement supports to RECs in developing regional value chains

5. Harmonize and advance collaboration and networking among commodity value chains development stakeholders

6. Validate the Africa Union draft Framework on Boosting intra-African Trade in agricultural commodities and services



The following outcomes are expected at the end of the workshop:

1. Information on status of regional value chain development at RECs level, including partner support programmes

2. Agreed criteria for prioritizing Regional value chains

3. strategic interventions including  areas for partner support  

4. Action plan (road map) including outline of activities, responsibilities and timeline.

5. Functional support network of partners and stakeholders on regional value chains development towards boosting intra-Africa trade

6. Validated Framework on Boosting intra-African Trade on agricultural commodities and services

IMG 20171017 113724 855


Opening Ceremony of the Workshop chaired by M. TINGA Ramde, representative of M. Jacob OUEDRAOGO, Minister of Agriculture of Burkina Faso. On his right, Dr Vivian IWAR from ECOWAS and on his left Dr Ahmed ELMEKASS, AU SAFGRAD Coordinator




Dr Ahmed ELMEKASS, AU SAFGRAD Coordinator leads the delegation of the Bureau that comprises also senior officers

.The African Union Assembly of Heads of State and Government adopted the configuration of the Specialised Technical Committees and the modalities of their operationalization through Decisions: Assembly/AU/Dec.227 (XII) and Assembly/AU/Dec.365 (XVII) in January 2009 and July 2011, respectively as Organs of the Union in accordance with Article 5 (1) (g) of the Constitutive Act.

Among the Specialized Technical Committees recommended for establishment is the Specialized Technical Committee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Water and Environment (ARDWE). It includes Ministers and/or Senior Officials who cover the following sectors:- Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock, Rural Development, Water, Environment, Climate Change and Meteorology, Disaster Risk Reduction, Forestry and Wildlife. They are responsible for preparing projects and programmes of the Union and submitting them to the Executive Council. They also have the duty to ensure the supervision, follow-up and evaluation of the implementation of decisions taken by the organs of the Union and the coordination and harmonization of projects and programmes of the Union. The STC is also expected to carry out any other functions assigned to it for the purpose of ensuring the implementation of the provisions of relevant AU Acts.

The STCs are expected to meet at least once every two years in order to discharge the responsibilities entrusted with them by the AU Assembly.


Following the inaugural meeting of the Specialized Technical Committee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Water and Environment held from 5-9 October 2015, the Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture has scheduled to convene the second meeting of the Committee from 2-6 October 2017 at the AU Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The meeting will bring together ministers, senior officials and experts from the Agriculture, Rural Development, Water and Environment ministries. They will use the opportunity to deliberate on key documents and issues emerging in Africa pertaining to environmental sustainability and sustainable transformation of agriculture in order to achieve food security, improved nutrition, and rural development.

During the meeting AU SAFGRAD will make two presentations. The first one will be  on Agricultural Value Chains and the second one on Envrionmental issues.



AU SAFGRAD actively contributed to STCs Meeting, 24 July 2017, Nairobi, Kenya

On 24 July 2017 was held in Nairobi, Kenya a meeting of STCs back to back with the preparatory meeting of COP13. The session was opened by AU SAFGRAD with UNCCD Secretariat and the Republic of Kenya as the host country. Dr Ahmed ELMEKASS, Coordinator, and Mamadou KOUTOU, Programme Officer represented the Office. 

The gathering was chaired by Prof. Klaus Kellener from South Africa. Attended the meeting African STCs, NFPs, AUC, NPCA, UNCCD Secretariat, UNDP, FAO, Africa Forest Forum in addition to the national institutions from the the hosting country (Kenya).

During the session, it has been notably hightlighted a poor/weak participation and contribution of African STCs to the CST of the UNCCD unlike representatives from other regions.

Both UNCCD and the host country (Kenya) appreciated the AU SAFGRAD initiative to bring the African STCs together as well as giving them the opportunity to participate in the preparatory meeting of COP13.

The UNCCD Secretariat presentation highlighted the outputs of the SPI work programme 2016/2017 while AU SAFGRAD focused notably on the proposed criteria for the Centers of Excellency, various studies carried out by the office related to combating desertification, etc.

Several recommendations were made during the session. The recommendations concerned both regular STC meetings, LDN and Centres of Excellence.

Group photo STCs





AU SAFGRAD attended the  4th KAFACI General Assembly in Dakar, Senegal

At the invitation of the Korean Embassy in Addis Ababa, through the Partnership Management Division, AU-SAFGRAD represented AUC at the 4th Korea-Africa Food and Agriculture Cooperation Initiative (KAFACI) which was held at the King Fadh Hotel, Dakar, Senegal July 10-13, 2017.  Dr Mure AGBONLAHOR, Production and Marketing Officer &  Mr Mamoudou KOUTOU, Programme Officer represented AU SAFGRAD at this important gathering.


KAFACI is an African-focused food and agriculture development platform under the Rural Development Administration (RDA) of the republic of South Korea. It was officially inaugurated in Seoul, South Korea, in 2010 with government representatives from 17 Africa Member States. As at 2017, the membership has grown to 21 countries with Tanzania as the most recent member. The objective of KAFACI is to promote sustainable agricultural development through technology cooperation in the agro-food sector. KAFACI projects are national projects that cut across the entire commodity (arable and horticultural crops as well as poultry) value chains including breeding, training, mechanization and input support, on-farm technology applications, value addition and post-harvest loss reduction. KAFACI project uses country-level focal persons from the public agricultural sector with national consultants.


The 4th KAFACI Assembly was organized to:

1. Present KAFACI country outstanding projects and relate implementation constraints to success factors in other to promote knowledge sharing.

2. Share agricultural R&D structure and strategies in MS and relate to the Korean structure

3. Report of KAFACI 2016-2025 strategy and presentation of the work plan

4. Interact with Partners’ organizations and suggestions on possible areas of cooperation  


The 4-day meeting was marked with presentations of projects and success stories from the 20 MS, the General Assembly meeting and a ceremony to commemorate the official handing-over of a Rice breeding Laboratory donated by RDA of Korea to AfricaRice Center in St Louis, Senegal.


During the Partners meeting, day-one, AU-SAFGARD made a brief presentation on AU’ continental flagship programmes for agricultural transformation for promoting shared prosperity in the Continent. 



World Day to Combat Desertification (WDCD) 2017 in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso

Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso - 16 June 2017. Every year the World Day to Combat Desertification (WDCD) is observed to promote public awareness of international efforts to combat desertification. This year 2017, Ouagadougou, the Capital city of Burkina Faso hosted the UNCCD celebrations. AU SAFGRAD actively participated in the events to represent African Union Commission.

Group Photo

High level participants at the 2017 WDCD. Head of States, Executive Secretary of UNCCD and AU SAFGRAD Coordinator, among others. 


The WDCD is celebrated each year on 17th June, but the 2017 edition was organized from 14th to 16th of June. Various important activities were scheduled. Very important personalities which include Heads of States from ECOWAS (HE Mr Ibrahim Boubacar Keita of Mali, HE Mr Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger, and and the host HE. Mr Roch March Christian Kabore of Burkina Faso) were present in the event. Mrs Monique Barbut, Executive Secretary of the UNCCD and several leaders of national, regional and international institutions with interest in desertification and related issues also graced the occasion. The 2017 event addressed the 3 S initiative (Stability, Security and Sustainability) and the central theme was “Our land, our home, our future”.

AU SAFGRAD Coordinator at WDCD

AU SAFGRAD Coordinator, delivering AUC message at the opening

AU SAFGRAD, African Union specialized technical office for research and development in semi-arid zones of Africa, actively participated to the event. First of all, during the opening ceremony (15th June), the Coordinator, Dr Ahmed ELMEKASS, while speaking on behalf of HE Mrs Josefa Leonel Correia Sacko, Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture of the African Union Commission, highlighted the role of African Union in combatting desertification notably through resolutions and decisions taken by AU Head of States and Government. Furthermore, the office took the opportunity of this unique event in Ouagadougou to organize a high level meeting of a policy dialogue gathering numerous stakeholders. This conference occurred on the morning of June 15th with a strong participation of national and international organizations. Besides the meeting, an exhibition fair grouping several institutions including AU SAFGRAD, was held at Ouagadougou international conference center, offering a communication platform for participants and guests. Prior to that day, a full-page article written by the AU SAFGRAD head of office was released in l’Observateur Paalga, one of the most important daily newspapers in the country and beyond.


  Stand UAS

 Exhibition center serving as communication platform for participants and guests

The same day, in front of the Heads of states, HE President KABORE and his important guest peers from Niger and Mali, a Declaration was read as the conclusion of the ministerial meeting organized within the framework of the 2017 WDCD. The so-called Ouagadougou Declaration appealed for a better political commitment of international community to address land degradation, desertification, drought, climate change and their consequences such as food insecurity, migration, conflicts, displaced people, etc. This historical Declaration is targeting by 2020, among other, two main objectives namely the rehabilitation of 10 million ha of degraded lands and the creation of two million jobs related to sustainable land use for youth, women and migrants.

With regards to the importance of the Ouagadougou Declaration, AU SAFGRAD, with a dozen of key partners, notably UNCCD, EU, NEPAD, FAO, IRD, SOS SAHEL, OIF, CILSS, CORAF/WECARD and WETLANDS International, organized a technical workshop on the 16th of June. The experts’ gathering aimed at clarifying the way forward to operationalize the declaration adopted by ministers in charge of Environment during the 2017 WDCD edition in Ouagadougou.

Partners Meeting

View of the Conference room during the partners meeting on 16th June following the Ouagadougou declaration.


Mr. KOUTOU, AU SAFGRAD (On the left) and Mr. Tapsoba, FAO, chairing sessions

Undoubtedly, the 2017 WDCD held in African land, in Burkina Faso, is appearing, according to experts, as a historical turning point in the UNCCD celebrations process. The role of AUC, through notably AU SAFGRAD, was in all points of view unquestionable from the beginning to the end. There is henceforth hope that the objective of collectively combating for achieving Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN), mainly in Africa, is definitely on track.


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For more information, please contact: - Mr. Youssoupha MBENGUE, Senior Communications Officer, AU SAFGRAD. Email: Cette adresse e-mail est protégée contre les robots spammeurs. Vous devez activer le JavaScript pour la visualiser. .Tel. +22678234178




AU SAFGRAD is celebrating the international day to combat desertification which is taking place this year 2017  in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

The celebrations are starting this June 15th at the Ouagadougou International Conference Center with the presence of H.E Rock Marc Christian KABORE, President of Burkina Faso, H.E. Ibrahim Boubacar KEITA, President of Mali, UNCCD Head and many relevant national, regional and international institutions.

On June 16th, AU SAFGRAD will co-organize a high level technical partners’ meeting on desertification and land degradation. The co-organizers include NEPAD, UNCCD, IRD, BURKINA FASO government, SCAC EU.

An exhibition stand by AU SAFGRAD is opened at the Conference Center to display the Office activities on desertification and related issues.



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