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Cornell University Explores Partnership Opportunities with WACCI

A delegation from Cornell University led by the Provost , Prof. Michael Kotlikoff recently visited the West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI) as part of their visit to the University of Ghana to explore partnerships with various units in the University. The purpose of the visit was to gain insights into WACCI's operations and initiatives.

The Founding Director of WACCI, Prof. Eric Yirenkyi Danquah welcomed the delegation on behalf of the Centre and gave a brief overview of the Centre’s operation, impact and achievements. He highlighted WACCI's significant impact on equipping African youth through its Kofi Annan Enterprise Hub for Agriculture Innovation (KAEHAI), which focuses on training and supporting young entrepreneurs in the agricultural sector.

Prof. Eric Danquah


Prof. Danquah emphasised WACCI's mission of training Africans in Africa for Africa. He stated, "our goal is to equip the next generation of African agricultural leaders with knowledge and skills to drive innovation and sustainable development across the continent”. He said that since its establishment in 2007, WACCI has enrolled 160 PhD students from 20 African countries and produced 111 graduates. The WACCI director added that the Centre has engaged in public-private partnerships, training farmers, extension agents, and entrepreneurs, and has released several crop varieties which need to get to farmers all over the country.


Despite its accomplishments, Prof. Danquah disclosed that one of the challenges facing research institutions in Africa such as WACCI is the lack of funding from the government.

He highlighted the need to secure complementary funding to sustain and expand WACCI's programmes and research endeavours.


Prof. Danquah called for more partnerships with advanced institutions to strengthen and scale up the work of the Centre. He proposed leveraging Cornell University's expertise in global agricultural economics, public policy, and technology to enhance WACCI's impact and reach.


The Provost of Cornell University Prof. Michael I.  Kotlikoff acknowledged the importance of government funding for universities to drive research, innovation, and technology. He emphasised the need to explore alternative funding avenues to overcome existing challenges and foster growth.

Prof. Michael I. Kotlikoff


Prof. Kotlikoff expressed interest in collaborating with WACCI, highlighting the potential mutual benefits of such a partnership. He stated, "collaboration with WACCI would allow scientists from both institutions to extend their impact beyond their respective institutions while gaining access to funding opportunities“.


The Vice Provost for International Affairs, Prof. Wendy Wolford provided an overview of Cornell University and its colleges and schools.

Prof. Wendy Wolford


The team took the opportunity to tour WACCI’s Tissue Culture Laboratory, where they were introduced to the mechanisms of the various equipment the Centre relies on to advance research in genetic transformation.

Participants taking a tour of the Tissue Culture Laboratory


Members of the visiting delegation included Prof. Michael Kotlikoff , Provost  Cornell University ,  Prof. Wendy Wolford Vice Provost of International Affairs, Cornell University, Dr. Paula Cohen, Professor of Genetics, Director of the Center for Reproductive Genomics, College of Veterinary Medicine; Associate Vice Provost for Life Sciences, Cornell University, Dr. Linda Barrington, Associate Dean for Strategy and Societal Impact, SC Johnson  College of Business, Cornell University , Dr.  Rachel Beatty Riedl , John S. Knight Professor of International Relations, Executive Director of the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, Cornell University, Dr. Rachel Bezner Kerr Professor of Global Development; Director of Graduate Studies and  Graduate Field of Development Studies in Department of Global Development; Director of Institute for African Development, Cornell  University, Dr. Carolyn M. McDaniel, Professor of Practice, Section of Veterinary Curriculum Foundation Course  Leader, Department of Clinical Sciences, Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Dr. Alex Nading, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Cornell University,  Dr. Sarah Besky  Associate Professor of the Anthropology of Work, School of  Industrial and Labor Relations; Director of South Asia Program,  Einaudi Center for International Studies, Cornell University , Dr.  Jackie N. Sayegh Program Manager, Institute for African Development, Einaudi Center for International Studies, Cornell  University