Breaking barriers: Francophone and Anglophone institutions partnership in training future leaders in west and central Africa - lesson learnt from implementation of AGRA PhD programme, University of Ghana

The problem of lack of trained human capacity for evidence-informing policy analysis and advocacy to translate policies into action to ensure agricultural growth and food security for smallholder farmers in Francophone countries; the need to foster research collaboration among researchers in Francophone and Anglophone West and Central Africa; the need to build leaders for tomorrow who will be able to work with French and English, as well as train and retain high level researchers within the sub-region, led Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) to contact Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and International development Research Centre (IDRC) for a grant for training MSc and PhD students in Applied Agricultural Economics and Policy from Francophone and Anglophone West and Central Africa. One hundred and twenty (120) Masters’ students were trained at the “Nouveau Programme deTroisième Cycle Interuniversitaire” (NPTCI) in University of Ouagadougou 2 in Burkina Faso and twenty (20) PhD students trained at the University of Ghana. The University of Ghana’s “PhD Program” started in September 2012 and ended in December 2017. The last cohort of PhD students graduated in July 2018. The program encompassed six (6) months immersion in intensive English training, internship with policy think-tanks and University of Ghana approved home-country based supervisors. The program targeted 20 students (80% Francophone and 20% Anglophone). In total, 19 students, i.e., fifteen (15) males and four (4) females enrolled. The main Francophone countries were Benin (7), Burkina Faso (5), Togo (1) and Cameroon (2). The two main Anglophone countries were Nigeria (1) and Ghana (3). The first intake of 8 francophone students joined the program in January 2013. Seven (7) students successfully defended their PhD theses in December 2016 and graduated in July 2017. The second cohort graduated in July 2018. The first batch of graduates trained are back to their respective countries and are working in Africa and this is a key message that graduates trained in the sub-region will stay and work in the sub-region. The AGRA PhD Programme has also enhanced teaching and research collaboration between Anglophone/francophone scientists in the sub-region. A major challenge, however, is the need to enhance women recruitment for PhD studies within the sub-region.
Date of publication: 
Region Focus: 
West Africa
RUFORUM Working document series
Licence conditions: 
Open Access
Web resource