Recognizing the important role of the Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice) in enhancing food security in Africa, the Board of Trustees of the Al-Sumait Prize for African Development named the Center as one of the two winners of the US$1 million Al-Sumait Food Security Prize 2019. The Pan-Africa Bean Research Alliance (PABRA) is the co-winner of this Prize.
According to Dr Mustafa Marafi, Director of the Office of Prizes, Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS), which administers the Al-Sumait Prizes, AfricaRice and PABRA were selected for their exemplary work in the area of agricultural development in Africa.
“After a rigorous process involving the evaluation of applications by independent international jurors and the review by an international Selection Panel, the Board approved the recommendations of the Panel to award the Al-Sumait Food Security Prize to these two highly competent scientific institutions,” explained Dr Marafi.
Kuwait’s Al-Sumait Prizes are a set of annual awards designed to recognize significant advances in food security, health and education in Africa. An initiative of His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al- Sabah, Amir of the State of Kuwait, the Al-Sumait Prizes honor the late Dr Abdulrahman Al-Sumait, a Kuwaiti doctor, who dedicated his life to helping the poor in Africa.
“This is a great honor not only for AfricaRice, but also for all its partners, both technical and financial, who have over the years supported the Center in responding to the challenges of food security and agricultural development in Africa,” stated AfricaRice Director General Dr Harold Roy-Macauley.
“This recognition is also a testimony to the determination and resilience of AfricaRice, which despite various challenges encountered over the years, has continued to achieve its mandate, both as an Association of pan-African countries and as one of the 15 CGIAR Research Centers, to transform the rice-based agri-food systems in Africa,” Dr Roy-Macauley added.
AfricaRice was commended by the Al-Sumait Prize Board for its achievements, notably the development and deployment of rice technologies and innovations tailor-made for Africa, such as high-yielding and climate-resilient varieties, sustainable crop management options, gender-sensitive processing technologies, that are boosting the incomes, food security and well-being of millions of rural households in Africa.
The Center’s efforts in building the next generation of rice research and development professionals in Africa and its track record of high-quality scientific publications were also highlighted. Headquartered in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, AfricaRice is a pan-African Center of excellence for rice research, development and capacity-strengthening. It is a CGIAR Research Center as well as an intergovernmental association of African member countries.
The Al-Sumait Board of Trustees consists of the following distinguished personalities: His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah (Chair); Mr Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Mr. Abdulatif Al-Hamad, Director General and Chairman of the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development; Mr Makhtar Diop, World Bank Vice-President for Infrastructure; Dr Kwaku Aning; Former Deputy Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency; Dr Adnan Shihab-Eldin, Director General of KFAS; and Mr Tareq Al-Mutawa, Executive Member of the Board of Public Gathering Charity Committee and Director General and Chairman of Board of Sadeer.
Expressing his deep gratitude on behalf of AfricaRice to the Board of Trustees of the Al-Sumait Prize, Dr Roy-Macauley stated, “We will continue to deliver on our mission to turn the rice sector into an engine for sustainable and equitable economic growth across Africa. We sincerely thank the AfricaRice member states, donors and development partners that have accompanied the Center in its noble endeavor.”