Abuja, 24th April 2015: The Federal government of Nigeria has once again demonstrated its willingness to strengthen African agricultural research and innovation institutions with a supra-national mandate. On Friday 24th of April, an agreement was signed in Abuja between the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) and the Federal Government of Nigeria. This agreement stipulates the guiding framework of an in-kind support by the Government of Nigeria to FARA.
The brief but significant signing ceremony took place in Abuja, Federal Capital Territory at the Secretariat of the Directorate of Technical Aid Corps (DTAC) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. During this ceremony, Mr Aminu Nabegu, the Director for Monitoring, Evaluation and Research in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, representing the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, reaffirmed that this gesture was Nigeria’s commitment to lead the way for Africa to take ownership of its supra-national institutions which currently depend on external sources for virtually all their funding. He stated the well-known fact that Agriculture is the mainstay of Africa’s economy and food security and accordingly the performance of this sector has a huge bearing on the continent’s economic growth and progress towards eliminating hunger. He called on other African countries to emulate the example set by Nigeria in taking pro-active steps to secure African ownership and long term sustainability of the continent’s strategic institutions in the domain of agricultural research and innovation. He alluded to this gesture as being Nigeria’s way of strengthening its investments and belief in the values of FARA.
It will be recalled that the Federal Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Akinwunmi Adesina had earlier pledged continued support of Nigeria to FARA and institutions with similar mandate during the FARA@15 Celebrations held in Johannesburg, South Africa in November last year. Prior to that, the Minister had openly communicated Nigeria’s intention to support FARA financially. FARA reports with gratitude that the Government of Nigeria has already disbursed the first tranche of this funding commitment. .
On his part, the Executive Director of FARA, Dr Yemi Akinbamijo, described this gesture from Nigeria as unprecedented. The FARA-DTAC framework agreement stipulates Nigeria’s secondment of three experts to the FARA Secretariat. The expertise provided is in the areas of Communication, Data Analysis and Management and Information and Communication Technology (ICT). The secondment will be for a period of 2 years and renewable. The seconded staff are expected to report for duty in May 2015. It is worth noting that Nigeria has bilateral agreements to provide technical assistance to 109 countries with support provided as far afield as the Caribbean islands and all across the Africa-Caribbean and Pacific states.