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AU SAFGRAD Capacity Building for African Young researchers organized in Cairo, Egypt from 22nd to 29th of April 2017

AU SAFGRAD Capacity Building for African Young researchers organized in Cairo, Egypt from 22nd to 29th of April 2017

The 2017 training session for African Young Researchers has been closed this Saturday 29th of April in Cairo the capital city of the Arab Republic of Egypt.

The ceremony chaired by H.E. Dr Mohamed Abdelaty Minister of Water Resources & Irrigation of Egypt was also notably attended by H.E. Amb. Dr Abdulaziz Buhedma, Head of AFTAAC, Dr Ahmed Elmekass, AU SAFGRAD Coordinator, HE Head of African Union Cairo Office, Mrs Zubaida Mohamed Fathallal Mahmoud, Head of the Center Regional Training Sector for Water Resources & Irrigation (RTSWI/RCTWS) and all the trainees of the current session. The venue for the closing ceremony was a wonderful Nile boat ride where the trainees received all their certificates following a full 8-day training course on the theme of “Modern irrigation scheme” delivered by several experts’ specialists of Water Resources & Irrigation. 

Started on 22nd of April 2017, the AU SAFGRAD training workshop, in close cooperation with Arab Fund for Technical Assistance to the African Countries (AFTAAC) has embarked this year 16 participants coming from 15 African Member States namely Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Lesotho, Malawi, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Tunisia and Uganda.

In his remarks, Dr Ahmed Elmekass, AU SAFGRAD Coordinator, after thanking the Government and People Republic of Egypt for hosting and supporting the training course, has underlined the critical role Agriculture is playing in promoting peace, prosperity and economic development in Africa. “Irrigation agriculture has been recognized as key to unlocking the potential of African Agriculture in achieving the targets set forth in the Malabo 2014 Commitments” stated AU SAFGRAD head of Office. He also recalled the achievements of SAFGRAD in the area of agricultural research and development in the Semi-arid zones of Africa before stressing the good relations and cooperation between Africa and Arab Member states. Furthermore, he concluded his statements by addressing his appreciation to H.E. Dr Mohamed Abdelaty Minister of Water Resources & Irrigation of Egypt his coming to chair the closing of this important training course.

After the closing remarks pronounced by the Egyptian Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation, the certificates were given to the 16 participants who have successfully attended the training course.

In the margins of this training Course, Dr Ahmed ELMEKASS has been received by H.E. Dr Mohamed Abdelaty Minister of Water Resources & Irrigation of Egypt. They have discussed the way of increasing the Programme of Capacity building of African young Researchers notably in the area of water resources and irrigation. 

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With the facilitation of African Union SAFGRAD, NEPAD in partnership with UNEP and other African and international institutions organized a “Regional Technical Meeting on the preparation of a report on the status of land degradation and restoration in Africa” in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso from 12 to 13 April 2017. Participants to the workshop were comprised of RECs project focal points, other international key partners and resource persons. The meeting was designed to develop a common report to synthetize the available data on land degradation and restoration in Africa, which will not only help guide action for the RECs and its member states, but also serve as a strategic document to better mobilize resources to address disaster risk challenges such as desertification, drought, climate change and provide restoration opportunities across the continent.

AU SAFGRAD has facilitated the organization of such event. Dr Ahmed ELMEKASS, AU SAFGRAD Coordinator, has delivered statement at the opening and the closing ceremonies while Mr. Mamadou KOUTOU, Senior Programme Officer, made presentation and fully contributed to all the technical sessions. In his part, Mr. Youssoupha MBENGUE, Senior Communications Officer, notably facilitated media issues and field visit to Guie site. In the margins of the gathering, Au SAFGRAD Coordinator and NEPAD representative took the opportunity to discuss serious ways of close collaboration between the two institutions, notably through joint project proposals at relevant initiatives.




A FAO delegation visited AU SAFGRAD Office

Today March, 29 20017, AU SAFGRAD has received a FAO delegation. The FAO three experts team was led by Dr Kondombo Salam Richard, zoo technician National Expert. They discussed with AU SAFGRAD Coordinator, Dr Ahmed ELMEKASS, on the issue of their planned programme regarding small ruminants in Burkina Faso and Ethiopia.

FAO delegation March 17 3

The three FAO experts discussing with Dr Ahmed ELMEKASS, AU SAFGRAD Coordinator

The said programme is focusing on three main areas including meat production exports, slaughtering house and veterinary services. A work plan on the programme is scheduled to be validated in a workshop by this 30 of March 2017 and a stakeholders round table is planned for April 20, 2017.

Furthermore, the coordinator held very interesting discussions with the FAO visiting team. The discussions particularly focused on value chain of small ruminants in the two targeted countries. The importance of building the capacities of the animals’ holders as well as the role of extension in the development of the sector have been raised. They acknowledged the interest of having an overview on the key actors along the value chain, highlighting the need of good market assessment. 




On March, 3rd 2017, Nouakchott, Capital City of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania (IRM), hosted the celebrations of the Africa Environment and Wangari Maathai Day with the theme: “Environmental Protection for Present and Future Generation: Implementation of Agenda 2063. The annual AU event was celebrated between 1 and 3 March 2017 and it featured a scientific session, exhibitions, field visit and tree planting action. 

The 2017 event was attended by various participants including Government officials (Prime Minister, ministers, MPs, etc.), private sector representatives (mainly Energy and Mining industries), NGOs, Civil Societies, youth groups, women associations and International Community such as ECA, UNEP, GGWI, etc. Senegal Republic was specially represented by a delegation headed by the Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development H.E. Mr Abdoulaye BALDE. AUC delegation, comprising AU SAFGRAD, was led by HE Tumisiime Rhoda Peace, Commissioner of the Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture.

Africa Environment Day was designated in 2002 by the then Organization of the African Unity Council of Ministers in their meeting in Durban, South Africa, based on the recognition of the numerous environmental challenges confronting the African continent, which over the years have been further aggravated by loss of biological diversity, climate change, desertification and increased pollution and disposal of waste chemicals. In January 2012, the African Union adopted a decision calling for the joint celebrations of the African environment Day and Wangari Maathai Day. The celebration of the Wangari Maathai Day is in recognition of the work and life of the late Prof. Wangari Maathai who dedicated her life to promoting environmental conservation and sustainable development in Africa.


The overall objective of the celebration of Africa Environment and Wangari Maathai Day was to raise awareness at regional and national levels. The commemoration of the Day offered an opportunity for reflection and stock taking on the environmental challenges and of course, opportunities for the African continent. The 2017’s theme (“Environmental Protection for Present and Future Generation: Implementation of Agenda 2063”) underpins the importance of natural resources like land, forests and biodiversity for the welfare of human society through space and time.


One of the key highlights of the commemoration of the 2017 edition of Africa Environment and Wangari Maathai Day was a two-day National Environment Forum from 1 – 2 March.  This forum is meant to strengthen collaboration between the government and the various stakeholders including the private sector to promote sustainable natural resources management. The forum organized jointly by the government of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, AU Commission, United Nations Environment Programme and other international partners was aiming at providing space for stakeholders at national level to talk about national policies and strategies and the role of the private sector, NGOs and local communities in ensuring environmental sustainability. Mr. Mamadou KOUTOU, AU SAFGRAD Senior Programme Officer has delivered during the forum an interesting presentation on the issue of “Policy dialogue on desertification in Africa”.


The ceremony of the Official campaign held March 3rd at the Palais International des Congres of Nouakchott was chaired by HE Mr. Yahya Ould Hademine, Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania and a mamouth crowd was on hand to grace the occasion. Campaign and advocacy items, made of customized T-shirts and Caps were produced and disseminated by AU SAFGRAD, an important AUC technical office in semi-arid land resilience building.

In her statement, HE Mrs. Tumissiime Rhoda Peace, DREA Commissioner and AUC representative, highlighted the important roles played by public/private partnership in environment management. “Environmental protection can no longer be the sole responsibility of the government so the fact that private sector in Mauritania is supporting the government is quite encouraging. I am particularly impressed with the measures taken by the private sector to minimize the negative impacts of mining on the environment and the general public” she stated. She also acknowledged the great effort of NGOs, civil societies, youth and women groups and the media in promoting environmental sustainability before appealing the development partners to support women and youths initiatives through capacity building and funding. Prior to that, she expressed her sincere appreciation to the government of the country for hosting the important event and the various experts and partners for the support provided. Furthermore, DREA Commissioner reemphasized the need to enable all make a better use of the collective strength. “It is imperative that we improve coordination among ourselves to promote synergies and complementarities. This will permit impactful achievements on the ground to address the challenges of environmental degradation and women empowerment” she concluded her address to the participants.

All the speeches delivered by leaders taking the floor went in the same vein. They all recognized the importance of the commemoration of such event as well as efforts being engaged by various partners, including the host country, to better manage environment matters. The Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, HE Mr. Yahya Ould Hademine, thanked particularly African Union for having selected his country to host the present ceremony.

Finally, field visits to various places surrounded Nouakchott were organized. The visiting of the coastal areas of the Capital City permitted to concretely observe the realities of environment challenges and constraints and subsequently the mitigation and adaptive actions by very resilient public and private actors. For instance, solar energy and wind power sites received the participants led by H.E. Mr. Amedi CAMARA, Mauritanian Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development, his peer from Senegal HE Mr. Abdoulaye BALDE and HE Tumissiime Rhoda Peace, DREA outgoing Commissioner.

The opportunity of the field visits were also taken to plant trees on the vulnerable sandy dunes of the see borders of Nouakchott.




In the occasion of the International Women’s Day this March 8th, AU SAFGRAD Coordinator and the entire staff, wish a happy celebration to all.


AU SAFGRAD Female staff posing with the Coordinator



On February 17th, 2017, Mr. Youssoupha MBENGUE, Senior Communications Officer participated in Bobo Dioulasso, Burkina Faso, to the official inauguration of the newly constructed Tsetse Mass Rearing Facility.

 AUC/DREA Representative, Mr. Youssoupha MBENGUE, delivering the statement of DREA Director

As Representative of AU SAFGRAD Coordinator, he has delivered a speech in French, on the behalf of DREA Director, Dr Godfrey BAHIIGWA,.

The official inauguration of the Tsetse Mass Rearing Facility, IBD (Insectarium de Bobo Dioulasso in French, the country official language) was indeed a great and solemn ceremony attended by various stakeholders. The participants included :

- International institutions such as African Development Bank (AfDB), International Atomic Energy Agency (IAAE) and African Union Commission (AUC);

- Governmental bodies (Livestock Ministry, Scientific Research Ministry, etc.),

- National Farmers Organizations, Livestock Associations, and

- Crowd public comprised of various local communities.

Not less than of a dozen of ministers took part to the ceremony that originally supposed to be chaired by the Prime Minister of Burkina Faso but finally be represented by an important delegation headed by the Minister of Scientific Research.

The programme of the ceremony could be summarized as follows:

- Welcome address from the Mayor of the City of BoboDioulasso;

- Statement of the three main partner institutions (IAEA, AUC and Government of Burkina Faso);

- Presentation of the coordination team of the infrastructure;

- Official inauguration with the traditional cutting of symbolic ribbon and a guided tour of the newly constructed premises with their very advanced technologies.

All the statements delivered during the event have saluted the relevance of the construction of Tsetse Mass Rearing Facility as well as the fruitful partnership that had led to its realization. The leadership of African Union commission has been recognized. Nevertheless, they have also appealed for an efficient and sustainable management with regard to its priceless role and the important the cost of the investment (more than six billion FCFA).

- Statement of DREA Director (delivered in French) ;

- Pictures of the ceremony.


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