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Cornell University explores partnership opportunities with WACCI for Youth Development in Africa

A delegation from Cornell University recently initiated discussions with the West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI) to understand WACCI's operations and alignment with the university’s  objectives for youth development in Africa. This engagement follows a successful Mastercard Foundation funded, collaboration, between Cornell University and the University of Rwanda, which they now aim to extend to the University of Ghana.


During the visit, Prof. Eric Danquah, the Director of WACCI, briefed the delegation on the Centre's impressive achievements over the past sixteen years, highlighting the various programmes and the success of  its graduates.

Professor Eric Danquah, Director of WACCI


He raised concerns about the dwindling number of scientists in Africa, citing inadequate investment in education and the resulting brain drain to developed countries. Addressing youth unemployment, Prof. Danquah highlighted the establishment of the Kofi Annan Enterprise Hub for Agricultural Innovation (KAEHAI).This hub focusses on agribusiness training and opportunities for young Africans and collaborates with several institutions including the Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship, The Netherlands, MIT Business School, USA  and the KGL Foundation, Ghana.



Prof. Danquah emphasized the necessity of strengthening strategic partnerships for youth empowerment and agro-innovation. He proposed a collaborative MBA programme in seed business between WACCI and Cornell Business School, aiming to link scientific research with industry and enhance  opportunities for students. He also stressed the importance of empowering research institutions in Africa with state-of-the-art facilities and providing scholarships to encourage attraction and retention of local talent. Furthermore, he mentioned WACCI’s dedication to women’s empowerment in agriculture, noting the significant female representation among faculty and students.

A group Photo of participants of the meeting


Dr. Naalamle Amissah immediate past Head of the Department of Crop Science provided an overview of undergraduate programmes in the School of Agriculture at the University of Ghana.

Dr. Naalamle Amissah, Senior Lecturer at Department of Crop Science


Barbara J. Hoerner, Director, of University Foundation Relations and Corporate Philanthropy at Cornell University, mentioned the delegation’s plans  to engage with the Mastercard Foundation on two fronts: a joint project with Cornell University and WACCI  to provide dignified employment for African women and a partnership with the University of Ghana for the Scholars Program.

Barbara J. Hoerner, Director , University Foundation Relations and Corporate Philanthropy


 The delegation included Barbara J. Hoerner and Kim Szpiro, Associate Director, Hanga Ahazaza Initiative, Office of External Relations and Engagement, Cornell SC Johnson College of Business.