WACCI Celebrates 16 Years of Enhancing Africa’s Food Security

Prof. Eric Danquah – Founding Director, WACCI

The West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI) at the University of Ghana has announced it will hold a series of events from May 31 to June 2, 2023, to mark its 16th-anniversary celebration.

Alumni of WACCI from 15 countries and partners from the global north and south will converge at the University of Ghana for conversations and actions that will take WACCI to the next level.

The theme of this year’s celebration is, “Harnessing Human Capital in Plant Breeding for the Future of Food and Nutrition Security in Africa.” It reflects WACCI’s rich story of academic excellence in capacity building and commitment to shaping the future of food security in Africa through quality teaching, impact-driven research, extension, and community engagement.

Since its establishment, WACCI has graduated 105 PhD and 40 MPhil students who have successfully released 227 improved crop varieties across Africa. WACCI alumni have also attracted over US$ 57 million to their home institutions for research and development projects. The Centre has also trained 56 agri – entrepreneurs at its Kofi Annan Enterprise Hub for Agricultural Innovation (KAEHAI). These agri-entrepreneurs are scaling-up innovations through the establishment of start-ups and agribusinesses.

A statement from the center said the celebration will kick off on May 31, 2023, at the ISSER Conference Room with a welcome address by Prof. Eric Y. Danquah, Founding Director of WACCI. There will be interactive panel discussions featuring distinguished alumni on various topics to inform the strategic direction and sustainability of the Centre. There will also be addresses from founding, implementing, and prospective partners including the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), Cornell University, University of Illinois Urbana – Champaign, Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), University of Pretoria, King Mohammed VI Polytechnic University (UM6P) and the University of Zagreb. The climax of the day will be the election of the members of the WACCI Alumni Executive Committee. The day will end with a networking cocktail event at which alumni and invited guests will interact and socialize.

On day two, there will be a high-level event to celebrate the 16th Anniversary at the Cedi Conference Centre, University of Ghana. Key persons to illuminate the opening ceremony include Prof. Nana Aba Appiah Amfo – Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Dr. Bryan Acheampong – Ghana’s Honourable Minister for Food and Agriculture, Prof. Eric Danquah – Founding Director WACCI and Prof. Boateng Onwona-Agyeman – Provost of the College of Basic and Applied Sciences at the University of Ghana.

There will be a keynote address on the impact of plant breeding on food security and the role of higher education in the global sphere by Prof. Giles Oldroyd, Director of the Cambridge Crop Science Centre. The day promises to be insightful, with spotlight talks, exhibitions, and poster sessions by agricultural value chain actors and WACCI alumni.

A special closed event, an anniversary gala, will take place at the Great Hall of the University of Ghana, where guests will be entertained with a grand performance from the legendary Ghanaian Dance Hall artiste, Samini. Ms. Pascaline Kuunzugla Songsore will emcee the opening ceremony and anniversary gala.

The Alumni Homecoming event will end on June 2, 2023, with the International Symposium on Agricultural Transformation and Biotech Crops in Africa, co-hosted by WACCI and the Alliance for Science Ghana, at the WACCI premises. The symposium will deliberate on what agricultural sector stakeholders need to do differently to ensure expanded farmer access to crops produced using new breeding techniques.

The WACCI Alumni Homecoming and 16th-anniversary celebration promises to be a memorable event, bringing together WACCI’s global community of alumni and partners to celebrate the Centre’s impact on food and nutrition security in Africa. The event will also create an excellent opportunity for forging new strategic partnerships for sustaining one of Africa’s celebrated institutions, WACCI.


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