AU SAFGRAD is the Specialized Technical Office of the African Union in the area of Agriculture Research and Development in semi-arid zone of Africa. As such, the Office will take part to the IATF 2018, 11-17 December 2018 in Cairo, Egypt. More details here: https://au.int/en/IATF2018 

Intra-African Trade Fair 2018

The Rationale for the Trade Fair
Analysis by the African Export- Import Bank (Afreximbank) shows that one of the main reasons why intra-African trade is low at around 15% compared to Europe (59%), Asia (51%), and North America (37%) is because of lack of access to trade and market information. To address this challenge, Afreximbank decided to, among other initiatives, convene the Intra-African Trade Fair every two years to provide trade and market information and connect buyers and sellers from across the continent.

What IATF 2018 has to offer?
The Intra-African Trade Fair is the first of its kind in Africa, consisting of a 7-day trade show that provides a platform for sharing trade, investment and market information and enabling buyers and sellers, investors and countries to meet, discuss and conclude business deals. It provides an opportunity for exhibitors to showcase their goods and services, engage in Business to Business (B2B) exchanges and conclude business deals.

IATF provides a platform for entry into a single market of over one billion people joined together under the African Continental Free Trade Area.

Primary Objectives of the Intra-African Trade Fair

  1. To bring together continental and global players to showcase and exhibit their goods and services, and to explore business and investment opportunities in Africa
  2. To serve as a marketplace where buyers and sellers of goods and services meet and explore business opportunities
  3. To provide a platform for B2B exchanges and development of business opportunities
  4. To share trade, investment and market information with stakeholders including investors, SMEs, the informal sector, Africans in Diaspora, and to identify solutions to address the challenges affecting intra-African trade
  5. For Afreximbank and other financial institutions, to share information about their trade finance and trade facilitation interventions that will support intra-African trade
  6. To discuss topical issues affecting intra-African trade and provide practical and effective solutions
  7. To deploy multi-country and multi-company pavilions that will serve as one-stop shop for intra-African trade and investment opportunities in Africa

What is Intra-African Trade?
Afreximbank defines intra-African Trade as the trade in goods and services between or among African countries and the flow of goods and services between Africa and Africans in the Diaspora. The scope of intra-African Trade has also been broadened to include informal cross border trade to enable the Bank to design special products and dedicate resources to formalize this trade. 

Afreximbank Strategy to promote Intra-African Trade
The Trade Fair is informed by Afreximbank’s strategy for the promotion of Intra-African Trade. The strategy can be summarized under three key pillars: Create, Connect and Deliver

Create: This pillar supports the production of goods and services with a view to enhancing engagement in regional trade. It seeks to build capacity for the expansion of production and processing capabilities, with a focus on agricultural production, agro-processing, manufacturing and services.

Connect: Afrexim seeks to provide traders with links to various markets on the continent. The Bank aims to identify institutions and agents that are able to facilitate the connection of demand and supply across markets. This pillar is central to the trade fair, which is aimed at bringing relevant entities together and facilitating business growth and opportunities.

Deliver:  Here the focus is on facilitating the provision of efficient and cost-effective distribution channels within the continent. This includes the creation of transport logistics, storage and service payment systems, and buyer-financing arrangements which will help to accelerate the flow of goods and services to buyers, thereby creating a market.

The Trade Fair will contribute towards the bank’s objective to increase intra-African trade from USD170 billion in 2014 to USD 250 billion and by so doing, ensure that intra-African trade share of Africa’s total trade reaches 22% by 2021. “Conservatively, intra-Africa trade is a USD 6 trillion opportunity for Africa in the short term and USD 12 trillion in the long term” (Amy Jadesimi: Forbes, May 23 2017). Afreximbank will use the Trade Fair as well as other interventions to assist the continent to realise its trade potential and achieve positive transformation for Africa.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: http://www.intrafricantradefair.com/




“Conflicts between pastoralists and farmers on the continent take more lives than terrorism


Addis-Ababa, Ethiopia – 18 September 2018. “Today, conflicts between pastoralists and farmers on the continent take more lives than terrorism. Since 2018, over 1,000 people were reported dead and thousands displaced in the Middle Belt region of Nigeria, Central region of Mali, on the border between Mali and Niger, in the Tillabery region of Niger and some parts of the Horn.” Stated Amb. Smail Chergui, Commissioner for Peace and Security (PSD), while opening a two-day workshop on transhumance conflicts in Africa in Addis-Ababa, with his peer Amb. Josefa Correia Sacko, Commissioner Rural Economy and Agriculture (REA).

Group Pic

Group Picture at the opening ceremony of workshop on transhumance conflicts in Africa.

At the centre the two chairing commissioners respectively Amb. Josefa Correia Sacko (REA) and  Amb. Smail Chergui (PSD)


Attended by various experts and practitioners from the five regional farmers association’s as well pastoral networks, relevant departments of the AUC and Regional Economic Communities (RECs), the UN Office on Genocide Prevention and civil society organizations respectively, the meeting is a collaborative initiative between PSD and DREA including the Semi-Arid Africa Agricultural Research and Development (SAFGRAD).

Also chairing the opening ceremony of the workshop, HE Mrs Josefa Correia Sacko, Commissioner of REA, recognized during her remarks that despite the huge contribution of the sector, the pastoral populations have benefited little from national and regional development policies along with their infrastructure needs, production services (support, veterinary services, credit, livestock inputs) and basic services (health, education, drinking water) and in safety and security are very far from being covered. In addition, public policies have always neglected the specificities of such populations because their political inclusion is not yet effective. 

Despite this situation, pastoralism is still of paramount importance for Africa in the implementation of Agenda 2063, by its potentialities through notably its livestock, its natural resources and its ancestral know-how” the Commissioner of REA said. She added that “Pastoralism thus becomes a lever, if not an essential asset for growth and economic development, that is, a powerful instrument for combating poverty that can promote food and nutrition security and thus serve as a base for stability and peace in the continent”. She finally recognized that the adoption of the African Pastoral Policy Framework by the African Heads of State and Government in January 2011 is an important step for the implementation of the Malabo Declaration as part of the Agricultural Investment Plans of African Union Member States. 

The meeting aims to discuss the causes of transhumance conflict and design appropriate strategies to respond to them with the objective of promoting sustainable peace and security in Africa. According the Amb. Chergui this important gathering will also “contribute to the AU’s Agenda 2020 of silencing the Guns in Africa and the overall vision of a Peaceful, Prosperous and Integrated Africa”.


The expected output of the two-day workshop includes : holistic understanding of the drivers for farmer-herders conflict and resilience factors; development of comprehensive continental implementation plan to address the identified factors and transform the conflict by promoting cross border cooperation; enhanced capacities of pastoral networks on conflict prevention, management and resolution.






Media contacts:

-       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. .



The Semi-Arid Food Grain Research and Development (SAFGRAD) is one of the specialized technical offices of the Commission of the African Union under its Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture.

SAFGRAD mandate is to lead, coordinate and facilitate the formulation of appropriate policies and programmes that build resilience of rural livelihoods in semi-arid Africa through strengthening of institutional capacities aimed at advancing agricultural research, technology transfer and adoption; enhancement of value chains; management of natural resources; and mitigation and adaptation to climate change and combating desertification.

SAFGRAD vision falls within the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development (CAADP) framework which is at the heart of efforts by African governments to accelerate growth and eliminate poverty across the continent.

Over the last five years, AU-SAFGRAD programmes were guided by its Strategic Plan 2014-2017 that has come to expiration. In the light of both new emerging thematic priorities and changes occurring in the development agenda both at continental and international level, AU-SAFGRAD, after evaluating/assessing its previous strategic plan 2014-2017 and more importantly taking stock of both successes and weaknesses, has drafted a new plan that will guide its actions over the next five years.

The draft new SOP 2019-2023 will be scrutinized and validated by experts and policy makers coming from various national, regional, panafrican organizations. The validation workshop will be coupled with the meeting of AU SAFGRAD Steering committee. The two day gathering will be organized from 28 to 29 of August 2018 in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.




AU-SAFGRAD has convened a regional validation workshop in ECCAS Region to provide actors and stakeholders the opportunity to consider and agree on selection criteria, analyze and select priority commodity value chains, based on agreed criteria, for regional endorsement.

The 2-day validation workshop was held from 31st July to 1st August 2018 at “Vallee des Princes Hotel”, in Douala, Cameroun. The meeting was facilitated by AU-SAFGRAD but ownership and advancement of outcome as a regional commitment rested with the ECCAS.

The opening ceremony was chaired by HE Cameroun Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Henri EYEBE AYISSI, with the presence of AU SAFGRAD Coordinator, Dr. Ahmed ELMEKASS, and ECCAS Head of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Abakar Mohammed, as well as representatives of Douala local administrative authorities.

The workshop was attended by RECs and their Member States’ 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 were expected to attend the validation workshop. More concretely, almost all the countries of ECCAS were represented by two experts, one in the area of Agriculture and one in Trade sector. In addition IGAD and UMA regions sent representatives to the workshop.

In his important opening remarks, HE Cameroon Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development said that “The agricultural sector offers a viable pathway that African countries can leverage upon to escape from excruciating poverty and hunger, curb illegal migration, improved livelihoods and spur industrialization and economic development. The sector also offers huge opportunities in enhancing cooperation, collaboration and partnership among African countries.” The Minister concluded his remarks by declaring: “Enhancing the competiveness of agricultural commodities and products through regional value chains development will provide the needed impetus for Agribusiness growth and agro-industrial development in the Continent. It is expected that this will expand job and wealth creation as well as accelerate improved livelihood in the Continent.”

Prior to the Minister remarks, Dr. Ahmed ELMEKASS, AU SAFGRAD Coordinator, in his statements recalled that Africa Union through the Malabo 2014 commitments has defined the immediate future of African economies around agriculture as the main force in the social and economic transformation of the continent. “The development goals set in the Agenda 2063 and the SDG 2030 also recognizes the key role of agriculture in the transformation drive of African economies” added AU SAFGRAD head office.

The aim of the workshop was to validate regional selection criteria and prioritize agricultural commodities value chains for regional ownership and domestication.

More specifically, after two days intensive works, the meeting has reached important outcomes. Information on status and criteria use in the selection of MS prioritized value chain for the region was documented. Also the experts agreed and endorsed criteria for prioritizing ECCAS regional value chains. The regional priority commodities were documented and finally the workshop agreed strategic approach in constituting commodities committees.


Group Picture following the opening ceremony


 HE Cameroun Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Henri EYEBE AYISSI chairing the Opening Ceremony , with the presence of AU SAFGRAD Coordinator, Dr. Ahmed ELMEKASS, and ECCAS Head of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr.  Abakar Mohammed, as well as representatives of Douala local administrative authorities.


 AU SAFGRAD Coordinator, Dr. Ahmed ELMEKASS, pronouncing his statement at the Opening


 ECCAS Head of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr.  Abakar Mohammed, welcoming the participants 


 Massive presence of the Media


Dr Mure Agbonlanor, AU SAFGRAD senior Officer, talking to the Media


A view of the participants during a  session of the workshop


 One of the banners of the event hanged at the main entrance of the workshop venue


In collaboration with Arab League (AFTAAC) and the Regional Training Sector for Water Resources and Irrigation (RTSWRI), AU SAFAGRAD organized a nine (9) - day training in Cairo, Egypt, from 8th to 16th July 2018.

This 2018 training session targeted early and mid-career public sector (NARIs and Ministries of Agriculture, Water and Environment) irrigation professionals from twenty-five (25) AU Member States (AUMS). The trainees received intensive lectures on irrigation and related issues from eminent professors. They did also very interesting field visits to some irrigation schemes in Egypt, a country well known for its expertise in Irrigation and water resources sector.

The theme « efficient irrigation technologies for building small holders’ resilience in dryland agriculture » was conceived to accelerate the actualization of the Malabo goal of doubling productivity through irrigation agriculture intensification. The fully residential training programme adopted a combination of class-room and field practical approaches.  

 The focus of the training workshop was to:

  1. build capacity of young professionals (engineers, practitioners and administrators) in the areas of designing and managing small water and cost-efficient irrigation facilities;
  1. update participants knowledge on management, operations and coordination of Water Users Organization (WUO); 
  1. improve performance of small irrigation schemes in Africa through participatory planning, infrastructure operation and maintenance (O&M) for effective water use in relation to water scarcity and productivity, prevention or mitigation of environmental problems (e.g. salinity, water quality) associated with irrigation agriculture as well as related governance issues critical to scheme operation.

The closing ceremony of the training course was organized on July 14, 2018 with the presence of H.E. Dr. Ragab Abdelazeem, deputy minister, ministry of water resources and irrigation of the Arab Republic of Egypt and Dr. Ahmed Elmekass, Coordinator of AU-SAFGRAD. Also attended H.E Ambassador Abdoulaziz Buhedma, director of Arab Fund for Technical Assistance to the African Countries (AFTAAC), H.E. Ambassador Abdul Hamid Bouzaher, Head of permanent AU mission to the Arabic League, Ms. Sherine Imam, 1st Counsellor, operation department, representing the Arab Fund for Technical Assistance to the African Countries (AFTAAC) and Dr. Mamdouh Antar, the undersecretary for regional water cooperation, Head of the Regional Training Sector for Water Resources and Irrigation, Ministry of Water Resources and irrigation of Egypt.

During the closing ceremony official Speech and statements have been delivered to the attendees by the Officials. A vote of thanks has been delivered by a representative of the trainees. This was followed by the award of the certificates to the participants. To conclude the ceremony a group photo was taken and a nice cocktail offered. 

AFTAAC 2018 D Dr Mure Agbonlahor, AU SAFGRAD Sr Officer, during his presentation to the trainees


 Group Picture of the participants at the beguning of the course


Closing Award Coordo Dr Ahmed ELMEKASS, AU SAFGRAD Coordinator, giving a certificate to a trainee

Closing Pres

 The presidium during the closing ceremony with notably  H.E. Dr. Ragab Abdelazeem, deputy minister, ministry of water resources and irrigation of the Arab Republic of Egypt and Dr. Ahmed Elmekass, Coordinator of AU-SAFGRAD


A delegation of the Pan-African Intergovernmental Agency Water & Sanitation for Africa (WSA), conducted by Dr Hobah Pierre Rogoto, Chief Executive Secretary, visited AU SAFGRAD

On Wednesday, 4th July 2018, AU-SAFGRAD has received the visit of Dr Hobah Pierre Rogoto, Chief Executive Secretary of the Pan-African Intergovernmental Agency Water & Sanitation for Africa. Dr Rogoto was accompanied by Mr Sawadogo Karim, Diplomatic Adviser and Mrs Koala, Communication Officer.

The purpose of the visit was to share the information on the current activities and achievements in both organizations as well as the step forward for joint collaboration based on the MOU signed in 2015.

The Coordinator of AU-SAFGRAD and his team composed of Dr Mure Agbonlahor, production and Marketing Officer, Mr Youssoupha Mbengue, Information & Outreach Officer and Mrs Sayah Eleonore, Secretary, received WSA Head and his team and both delegations exchanged the information on the different activities and achievements as well as the current strategic plans.

The two delegations agreed to be in close contact in the future and update each other on the achievements. Moreover, both parties agreed to find out areas of joint collaborations for better achievement and help African Member States.


AU SAFGRAD Coordinator, Dr. Ahmed ELMEKASS, greeting Dr Hobah Pierre Rogoto, Chief Executive Secretary of WSA, Following their meeting.



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