West Africa

In West Africa, AICCRA aims to build multi-actor partnerships of existing scientific and educational networks & centers to achieve outcomes that cannot be achieved easily by engaging with individual partners at country level.

The AICCRA West Africa (WA) team work to ensure:

  • Innovative delivery models for the effective large-scale intra-regional & south-south adoption within various value chains 
  • Sustainable, large-scale capacity building through dedicated and accessible curricula & training materials
  • Increasing the access of country next users & end-users to NextGen of climate information services (CIS) and validated climate-smart agriculture (CSA) technologies
  • Enhanced South-South learning within the agricultural and climate sectors




Effective partnerships and engagement for impact

Building strong regional partnerships is the key focus of AICCRA West Africa cluster. We've established strong and long-lasting partnerships and meaningful engagement with key regional partners namely AGRHYMET Regional Center, West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development (CORAF), Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM), and West African Science Service Centre on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use (WASCAL). We consistently work together on various initiatives and activities through continued engagement, coordination, and capacity support to regional partners. 

AICCRA WA also actively participates in key events organized by partners institutions, including providing capacity building on climate-smart agriculture (CSA), sharing evidence-based examples on managing climate risks in agriculture, and joining conferences and graduate program courses.

One highlight was organizing the West Africa Stakeholder Engagement Consultation, emphasizing AICCRA WA cluster’s commitment to inclusive dialogue and partnership building under AICCRA’s additional financing

Moreover, the cluster is involved in advisory and decision-making roles within partners' institutions. For instance, the cluster participates in key committees like the Scientific and Technical Committee (SCT) of CORAF and chairs the STC of the Food System Resilience Program (FSRP) Component 1 led by AGRHYMET. Through these combined efforts, AICCRA WA is driving impactful collaborations that go beyond borders, fostering positive change and sustainable development in West Africa.

Participants at the stakeholder’s consultation on AICCRA Additional Financing in Ougadougou (2023)

AICCRA Enhances NextGen Seasonal Climate Forecasting Capacities

The collaborative partnership with AICCRA has offered AGRHYMET a unique opportunity to strengthen its technical capacities to implement NextGen seasonal climate forecasting systems and improve the products available on its climate portal. NextGen is a seasonal climate forecasting system that enables the development and dissemination of objective forecasts by combining the best dynamic models, and automates the generation and verification of objective, probabilistic, statistically-calibrated, multi-model predictions of a range of climate or impact variables. 

AICCRA supported and embedded AGRHYMET capacity through a series of regional and continental capacity strengthening efforts. These efforts have enabled AGRHYMET to develop a new approach for seasonal climate forecasting that is tailored to West Africa regional needs. NextGen is fully operational at AGRHYMET and NextGen products are being used to enhance the AGRHYMET climate information portal. 

A key challenge frequently mentioned by National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHS) that limits operationalizing the NextGen approach is the lack of consideration of hydrologic parameters in the PyCPT tool, one of the tools to operationalize the NextGen approach. To address this challenge, AGHRYMET has adapted the PyCPT tool for hydrological forecasting

In addition, AGRHYMET now has the full technical capacity to independently train NMHSs. To date, 173 participants from 17 NMHSs (including non-AICCRA countries) have been trained. Some NMHSs have operationalized the NextGen approach to generate seasonal climate forecasts. 

Participants at the PyCPT training organized by AICCRA in collaboration with AGRHYMET in Cotonou, Benin (2023)

Mainstreaming climate information services and climate-smart agriculture in African higher education systems 

The collaborative partnership with AICCRA has offered a unique opportunity to the West African Science Service Centre on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use (WASCAL) and the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) to mainstream CSA and CIS in African higher education systems to generate new expertise to transform African agriculture and food systems. AICCRA partnership and engagement has enabled the implementation of a stakeholder consultations and a participatory prioritization process, consisting of CSA and CIS gap assessment in university curricula and identification of capacity building needs on CSA and CIS across Africa, participatory prioritization of course thematic and module development informed by AICCRA and CGIAR knowledge and tools on CSA and CIS. 

After testing and validation of the new course modules, a series of Training of Trainers (ToTs) was organized to build the capacity of lecturers and staff of university members of WASCAL and RUFORUM networks. 

Over 1,500 university lecturers and staff —30% women— from 37 African countries benefitted from capacity development training on the new course modules. 

Following the ToTs, the University of Felix Houphouet Boigny in Cote d’Ivoire paved the way in mainstreaming CSA and CIS in curricula, creating a new master’s degree in “Climate-Smart Agriculture” within its master’s degree program on Climate Change, Biodiversity, and Sustainable Agriculture. The new modules will be taught as part of the new degree specialization courses. 

‘’I have gotten knowledge on carbon sources and carbon storage, how to quantify carbon emission from agriculture and agroforestry. The interaction between WASCAL alumni, the speakers and other participants brought a strong understanding of CIS and CSA. Including this aspect in the curricula of our university will help reaching sustainable development.’’

Dr Tiertou Edwige Some/Dembele, General Director of the National Funds for High School and Research (FONER)

AICCRA representatives welcomed by the Dean of the University Felix Houphouët-Boigny 

Scaling gender-smart innovations for better nutrition across West Africa

During the panel on Accelerating uptake of gender and nutrition sensitive climate-smart agriculture and climate information services in West Africa hosted by AICCRA West Africa at the Market for Agricultural Innovations and Technologies (MITA) conference organized by CORAF, the AICCRA team showcased the project's role in driving nutrition and gender-sensitive, agricultural innovations across West Africa, with a focus on scaling validated solutions.

Among the most preferred technologies was the ‘Pay-as-you-go' solar powered irrigation business models—indicated by 45% of respondents—which allows farmers to pay for the solar irrigation system in installments, with each payment contributing to the total purchase price of the system.

“As part of our collaboration with AICCRA, we will look at how we can work to meet the challenges we all face and ensure that we feed people with an agricultural research and development sector that is climate-sensitive, gender-sensitive and nutrition-sensitive." Mariam Maiga, Regional Gender Advisor/CORAF

AICCRA West Africa Lead, Robert Zougmore at Market of Innovations and Agricultural Technologies (MITA) 2023

Establishment of Foresight CoP in West and Central Africa with AICCRA Support

With AICCRA support, West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development (CORAF) established the foresight Community of Practice (CoP). AICCRA developed the capacity of 12 experts (50% women), from nine countries in West Central Africa, on the use of foresight analysis tools and facilitation skills to equip them to mainstream foresight analysis in the region. AICCRA also developed a foresight training toolkit to enable the regional foresight CoP to apply the range of foresight tools and methods for innovative strategic planning and policy formulation within their respective institutions. To improve their facilitation skills, the CoP members and AICCRA foresight specialists facilitated a foresight application process to inform a real-life policy process identified during the foresight capacity needs assessment. 

The application phase gathered 23 technical thematic experts from West Central Africa to co-design a plan for coordinating preparedness and response to pest and disease outbreaks with a climate-change lens. Subsequent stakeholder engagement processes enabled validation of the response plan. The overall effort resulted in a deeper understanding of the value of foresight analysis and a regional pool of trained experts or “foresight ambassadors” fully equipped with the technical knowledge, skills and the practical experience to facilitate a foresight process and a regional preparedness and response plan for pest and disease outbreak management in West Central Africa. 

In addition, leveraging the experience and lessons learnt through the process, CoP members from Cameroon mainstreamed the new knowledge and skills in their respective institutions and used foresight analysis to inform the update of the gender component of Cameroon’s National Strategic Plan.

Certificate award to members of the Foresight Community of Practice (CoP)

AICCRA West Africa team

Robert Zougmoré

Regional Coordinator, West Africa Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT

Alcade Segnon

Science Officer, West Africa Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT

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