Dr Manneh, AfricaRice’s Director General, receives a presidential citation from the Republic of Korea

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November 21, 2024 – Dr Baboucarr Manneh, Director General of AfricaRice has been awarded a prestigious presidential citation by the Ambassador of the Republic of Korea in Côte d’Ivoire. This esteemed recognition celebrates Dr. Manneh’s unwavering dedication to advancing international development cooperation and rice research diplomacy, contributing significantly to the national and social development of the Republic of Korea.

Dr Manneh has been among the pioneers who initiated in 2015 the negotiation for the establishment of Korea-Africa Food and Agriculture Cooperation Initiative (KAFACI). He particularly worked on the germplasm component, the program localization in Senegal, the breeding program, the capacity building of partners and the expansion of the initiative covering 24 countries today.

As a member of the CGIAR, partnering with KAFACI in 2017 to boost rice production in the continent through modernized national varietal improvement programs and strengthened seed systems, AfricaRice contributed to the advancement of the global CGIAR mission. Between 2017 and 2023, 26 high yielding (Tongil varieties) and consumer-preferred varieties were released in 7 countries and over 50 breeders and technicians were trained in modern breeding approaches and seed production. The program led to the increase of paddy rice production by 85% thus from 17 million tons in 2008 to 31.84 million tons in 2021 mainly due to rice area expansion.

Besides, AfricaRice plays an important role in the K-RICE BELT Project of the Korean Government. The project aims to produce and disseminate 10,000 tons of rice seeds by 2027 to feed 30 million people every year. This project is quite timely, especially for the 8 K-Rice Belt countries, with 5 countries (Cameroon, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya and Senegal) at less than 50% rice self-sufficiency, Guinea Bissau at 60%, Guinea Conakry at 70% and Uganda at 86%. 

The Korea-Africa partnership is strategic and very important in the attainment of the continent’s goal to achieve food and nutrition security, food sovereignty, and rice self-sufficiency in Africa. AfricaRice strong collaboration with the Rural Development Administration of the Republic of Korea has without doubt helped to solidify the existing relations and to plan for more ambitious programs with greater impact. The recognition of Dr Manneh, AfricaRice, and CGIAR invaluable contributions to international development and in rice agri-food systems transformation in Africa is a shared great honor.

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