2014 Year of Agriculture: AU SAFGRAD and CILSS to revisit their MOU

Ouagadougou, 04 February 2014. AU SAFGRAD, the Specialized Office of African Union Commission in charge of Agricultural Research and Development in the Semi-Arid Zones (SAZ) of Africa and The Permanent Inter-States Committee for Drought and Desertification Control in the Sahel (CILSS) have decided to revisit their previous five years MOU. This decision is the main conclusion of discussions during a visit paid on Tuesday, February 4th 2014 by DR Ahmed ELMEKASS, AU SAFGRAD Coordinator, to DR Djimé ADOUM, new CILSS Executive Secretary.

Accompanied with close collaborators, Dr Ahmed ELMEKASS has visited his CILSS peer with the purpose to greeting him and discuss the way to strengthen the cooperation between the two institutions. Responding to his guest, Dr ADOUM expressed his honor in receiving AU SAFGRAD Coordinator and his team. While discussing on the relationships and activities of their respective institutions, the two persons in charge agreed to reinforce the collaboration between AU SAFGRAD and CILSS in particular within Sahel Region. Taking opportunity of the framework of the 2014 African Union Year of Agriculture, Dr ElMEKASS and Dr ADOUM have decided to revisit their Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) signed since 2006. In this regards a couple of experts representing the two organizations will meet in the coming weeks to reread the past MOU. Invited by his counterpart, the head of CILSS has accepted to visit AU SAFGRAD Office as soon as possible.

Established respectively in the seventies (1973 and 1977), CILSS and AU SAFGRAD are both located in Ouagadougou City. CILSS intervention is limited to the Sahel Region while AU SAFGRAD mandate is targeting all the semi-arid zones across Africa including the Sahel.


For further information, please contact: Mr Youssoupha MBENGUE, Senior Information Officer at AU SAFGRAD, Ouagadougou. Email: Cette adresse e-mail est protégée contre les robots spammeurs. Vous devez activer le JavaScript pour la visualiser.

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Ouagadougou, 15 December 2013. AFRICAN UNION SAFGRAD, in collaboration with the German International Cooperation Agency (GIZ) convened a two days meeting, 12-13 December 2013, in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, to review the draft reports of a study on “Climate Change and Africa Agricultural Inputs for Improved Production with special Emphasis to Drought Tolerant Varieties”. The bilingual (French and English) study covered two vulnerable semi-arid regions of the continent namely the Sahel and the Horn of Africa.


The meeting was attended by various experts and stakeholders from  National and International organisations of the two regions. Chaired by the Director General of Vegetal Productions, Burkina Faso, representing H.E. Minister of Agriculture and Food Security of Burkina Faso, in presence of AU SAFGRAD Coordinator and a Representative of GIZ. The Workshop first paid tribute to late Nelson Mandela by observing a minute of Silence at the opening. Was also shown a ten minutes video summarizing the rich activities held in Burkina Faso during the long year celebration of the OAU/AU 50th anniversary.


Taking the floor at the opening, Dr Ahmed ELMEKASS, AU SAFGRAD Coordinator, has underlined “The Decision of the AU 2009 Summit, on climate change, is eloquent testimony of the importance that Africa’s political leadership attaches to this matter and not just as an environmental issue, but as one that is affecting other aspects of our lives including direct effect on agriculture productivity”. He also explained that, for the importance of the climate change issues and the key role of the Agricultural research in the adaptation and mitigations of the climate change, AU-SAFGRAD office agreed with GIZ to develop a document on the Climate Change and Agriculture Inputs Use in Africa, particularly in the Sahel zone and East of Africa region as well.


After two days discussion the experts deeply reviewed the document and made relevant recommendations by focusing on themes such as the Increased use of drought tolerant varieties, the promotion of crop diversification, the Implementing integrated drought management methods and the Implementation of comprehensive policies for climate change and agriculture inputs in Sahel and East Africa.

AU/SAFGRAD is one of the specialized technical offices within the Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture (DREA) of the African Union Commission. Its vision falls within the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development (CAADP) framework. AU/SAFGRAD has been designated as the institutional focal point of UNCCD for coordinating the Thematic Program Network for the Promotion of Sustainable Agricultural Farming Systems to Combat Desertification in Africa (TPN6) activities. For more details, Please check  Press Release on December 2013 Workshop


Group Photo Validation Workshop Dec. 2013


Mandela is no more, Africa is bereaved

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – 6 December 2013

 Africa is bereaved

Madiba Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, Pan African hero, Former South African President is no more.

The Chairperson of the African Union Commission, H.E. Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, on behalf of the Commission and its staff, and indeed, on behalf of the Union and the rest of the continent, expressed her grief on the passing of a Pan African icon and Nobel Peace Laureate, President Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.

Madiba, as he was fondly known, symbolises the spirit of Pan Africanism and solidarity in the struggles of humanity against apartheid, oppression and colonialism and for self-determination, peace and reconciliation.

Before his imprisonment in 1963 for twenty seven years, he visited countless African countries that without fail pledged and rendered unflinching support for the struggle of the South African people.

Mandela has fought a good fight, and bowed out with great reverence. His passing on is a great loss to his family, to our continent and indeed to humanity itself.  




AU Joint visit with UN, AfDB, WB and EU in Burkina Faso and Sahel Region

AU SAFGRAD was honoured by the visit in Burkina Faso of Dr Dlamini Zuma, African Union Chairperson. Mrs Zuma  had undertaken a joint visit in the Sahel Region from 05 to 07 of November 2013 and had stayed in Ouagadougou, the Capital City of Burkina, from November 6th to 7th. She was accompanied with the United Nations (UN) Secretary General, African Development Bank (AfDB), the President of World Bank (WB) and European Union (EU) Comisionner for Development. In fact, there is a braod recognition that the multifaceted challenges facing the Sahel region require a concerted, integrated reponse that builds on the continental, regional and national efforts. 

Therefore, the objective of this joint visit is to serve as a tangible demonstration of the commitment of the International community to work with the governments of the Sahel Region to help lift the Sahel from poverty and insecurity. The African Union has been promoting development in the Sahel Region and is helping Member States implement its counterterrorism framework.  In addition, the AU Mission for Mali and Sahel (MISAHEL), various Regional Economic Communauties (for instance ECOWAS) as well as technical offices such as African Union SAFGRAD are commited to implement relevant programmes within the Region.

Several important annoucements in terms of actions and financial supports for the Sahel Region have been made during this joint meeting by the five international organisations. The key objectives of the joint visit included the following:

  1. Highlight the commitment of the United Nations, African Union, World Bank Group, African Development Bank and European Union to work together, in collaboration with other partners, to help countries and organizations in the Sahel tackle insecurity and poverty in the region,
  2. Demonstrate well coordinated international support for efforts to address the regional drivers of longstanding fragility in the Sahel in accordance with the priority areas identified by countries and organizations n the region,
  3. Draw attention to neglected but critical issues such as the link between security and development, and the importance of demographics,
  4. Promote the establishment of a coordination platform between countries and organizations in the Sahel to foster cooperation across the region and ensure national and regional ownership of the UN Integrated Strategy for the Sahel, as well as the strategies and initiatives of key partners.

During the joint visit Mrs Zuma, in company with the four other heads of delegation met with HE President of Burkina Faso, Mr. Blaise Compaoré as well as the Government of Burkina Faso leaded by the Prime Minister.



Validation workshop on the reports on mainstreaming land policy and governance in the CAADP national agriculture and food security investment plans (NAFSIPS); and land governance in the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

This workshop is organized to validate the reports on mainstreaming land Policy and Governance in the CAADP national agriculture and food security investment plans (NAFSIPS); and the report on land governance in the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM).

This event will be co-organized by the LPI and the Capacity Development Division of the ECA. The workshop will not only aim to review and validate the findings of the studies but provide inputs to frameworks for tracking progress in the implementation of land governance commitments in the context of the APRM and CAADP. The meeting will further outline actions needed to generate knowledge, promote advocacy and build capacity for regional and country level interventions in Africa.



AU SAFGRAD Coordinator to attend to the 2nd Africa Arab Ministerial Meeting on Agricultural Development & Food Security, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, 29 Sept 02 Oct. 2013

Riyadh, KSA – 2 October 2013 – “We can make the Africa-Arab Cooperation a powerful instrument to enhance trade and investment to the desired levels that match the strong cultural ties, the geographic proximity and the tremendous potential that exist within our regions”, said Mrs. Tumusiime Rhoda Peace, Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, African Union Commission.

Speaking at the opening session of the 2nd Africa Arab Ministerial Meeting on Agricultural development and Food Security that opened today, 2 October 22013, in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, at the ministerial level, Commissioner Rhoda Peace took note of the fact that the level of Arab investment in African agriculture has been increasing but could be much higher than what it is today. “African agriculture and, in particular the food sector, offers a huge potential for trade and investment.” added Commissioner Rhoda Peace.

AU Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture informed the meeting that the African Union and its Member States have reaffirmed that sustainable agricultural growth; food and nutrition security concerns should be effectively and properly addressed to meet the challenges of transformation and development. “This commitment is demonstrated by the formulation, adoption and subsequent rolling out of an overarching continental framework, the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), that guides strategies, policies, programmes and collective actions to enhance agricultural development and achieve food and nutrition security objectives”, said Commissioner Rhoda Peace.

The Ministerial meeting has been addressed by Dr. Fahad Bin Abdul Rahman Balghunaim, Minister of Agriculture, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Chair of the 2nd meeting; the outgoing Chair, Mr. Ayman Abu Hadid, Minister of Agriculture and Land Reclamation, the Arab Republic of Egypt and Dr. Mohammed bin Abrahim Al Twaijri, Assistant Secretary General for Economic Affairs of the League of Arab States.

Worth calling that African and Arab ministers of Agriculture and representatives of the African Union Commission, Arab League of States and a number of related organisations, institutions and associations from the Arab and the African Regions met within the framework of the Joint Africa-Arab Partnership (JAP), to further Strengthening Africa-Arab Cooperation through Promoting Sustainable and Sensible Investment in Agriculture and Food Security.

The ministerial meeting held under the theme “Strengthening Africa-Arab Cooperation through Promoting Sustainable and Sensible Investment in Agriculture and Food Security in the context of the Joint Action Plan (JAP) was preceded by a two day meeting of experts, held on 29 and 30, October.

Delegates to experts’ meeting reviewed the progress made thus far within the Africa Arab partnership. It also formulated proposals for Ministers’ consideration and further guidance in expediting the implementation of the Joint Action Plan that the First Joint Ministerial Conference adopted in Sharm El Sheikh in 2010 and was subsequently endorsed by the Africa-Arab Summit.

Dr Ahmed ELMEKASS, AU SAFGRAD Coordinator, was among the DREA Delegation at  the 2nd Africa Arab Ministerial Meeting on Agricultural development and Food Security in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Media contacts:
Mrs. Habiba Mejri-cheikh, Director Information and Communication
African Union Commission
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