WACCI to celebrate 16yrs of contributing to and enhancing food security in Africa

Eric Yirenkyi Danquah, a professor of plant genetics at the West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI)

The management, staff, alumni and partners of the West Africa Centre for Crop
Improvement (WACCI), University of Ghana, have announced a three-day event
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 and attracted over US$ 57 million to their
home institutions for research and development projects.

The Centre also trained 56 agrientrepreneurs 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.

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, UrbanaChampaign, 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
of the Conference with speeches include Prof. Nana Aba Appiah Amfo, Vice-Chancellor,
University of Ghana, Dr. Bryan Acheampong, Honourable Minister for Food and
Agriculture, Ghana, Prof. Eric Danquah, Founding Director WACCI and Prof. Boateng
Onwona-Agyeman, Provost, College of Basic and Applied Sciences, UG.

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 a symposium on “Biotech
Crops and Genome Editing in Africa” co-hosted by WACCI and the Alliance for Science,
Ghana at the WACCI premises.

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 while creating an
excellent opportunity for forging new strategic partnerships for sustaining one of Africa’s
celebrated institutions, WACCI.


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