On the sidelines of the Brazil African Forum 2019, the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa and the Government of the State of São Paulo have been discussing opportunities for commercial, technical and scientific partnerships between FARA and Government of the State of São Paulo and the São Paulo agribusiness companies. This engagement has been made possible through the initiative of the ECOWAS Brazil Chamber of Commerce and the International Unit of the State of São Paulo. The discussions centered on how to leverage FARA’s expertise and role as the official technical arm of the African Union Commission responsible for the coordination of agricultural science research for development and to strengthen the capacity for agribusiness on the continent.
The high-level meeting was attended by representatives of the partners, including Mr. Gustavo Junqueira, São Paulo State Secretary of Agriculture, Dr. Yemi Akinbamijo, Executive Director of FARA, Dr. Irene Annor-Frempong, Director of Research and Innovation at FARA, Dr. Abdulrazak Ibrahim, Capacity Development Officer, FARA, Dr. Maristela Basso of the International Unit of Secretariat of the State of São Paulo and Silvana Saraiva, President of the ECOWAS Brazil Chamber of Commerce.
During the engagement, several actions have been defined to help facilitate the partnership. These include the creation of a multidisciplinary working group with the mandate to develop a roadmap and strategy that will allow for the development of concrete solutions to meet the needs of the African agricultural sector. The meeting also recognized the importance of FEAFRO 2020, a business meeting with entrepreneurs from the African Continent billed to take place in May 2020 and which is expected to receive African Heads of State, Governor João Doria of São Paulo and several entrepreneurs from 49 countries across the globe.
On the margins of the Brazil Africa Forum, FARA and UFV also launched the Brazilian version of the Agricultural Research and Innovation Fellowship for Africa (ARIFA), which will see young Africans equipped with 21st century skills and the capacity to innovate. Following the opening ceremony of the Forum led by Brazilian Vice President, General Hamilton Mouro, FARA’s side event was chaired by Nigeria’s Minister of State for Education, Barrister Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba. In attendance were Ghana’s Ambassador to Brazil, Prof. Abena Busia and officials from Abia and Borno States of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, among others.