Ambassadors and trade delegations from nine African countries recently visited Georgia to learn more about the state’s agriculture and research programs, said Timothy Williams, director of the University of Georgia Peanut Collaborative Research Program. Seven ambassadors and representatives from Angola, Kenya, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Tanzania spent April 26-29 in Athens, Atlanta, Griffin and Tifton touring agricultural research facilities, attending presentations by UGA researchers and making contacts at the Georgia Department of Economic Development and the state Department of Agriculture.
The visit was organized by Dr. Williams and Daniel Karanja, senior research fellow at Washington’s Partnership to Cut Hunger and Poverty in Africa, a non-profit organization that works to increase U.S. public and private support for assistance to Africa.
“Many African countries are open to investment now,” said Dr. Williams, who mentioned that the ambassadors spent time with representatives from the state’s poultry, peanut, cotton and vegetable industries. “There was intense interest [in Georgia investment] on the part of the ambassadors,” he said.
Kathe Falls, international trade director for the Georgia Department of Economic Development, who also participated in the event, believes that the ambassadors’ visit could be the beginning of a productive relationship with Georgia businesses.
“Many of the ambassadors have an interest in purchasing agricultural and food processing equipment from Georgia, in addition to value-added food products,” she said.
Representatives from Angola were particularly interested in developing a program with UGA that would include student and scientist exchanges and the provision of educational resources, said Dr. Williams.
The ambassadors began their visit in and around Athens where they toured poultry research facilities and the Cal-Maine Egg Processing Plant in Shady Dale. They then visited UGA’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences in Griffin, attending presentations by the food science and technology department as well as the peanut program. Later, delegations visited Doster Warehouses in Rochelle and the University’s Rural Development Center in Tifton, while other groups met with Commissioner Tommy Irvin at the Department of Agriculture in Atlanta.
Attendees included the ambassadors in the following order: Amadou Ba of Senegal, Andrew Daraja of Tanzania, Bernard Sande of Malawi, Zac Nsenga of Rwanda, Ibrahim Kamara of Sierra Leone, Usha Jeetah of Mauritius, Armando Panguene of Mozambique. Lina Ochineng, commercial attaché for the Kenyan embassy and a delegation from the Angolan embassy were also present.
For more information about UGA’s collaborations with Africa, contact Dr. Williams at (770)-228-7312.
To find out more about the Partnership to Cut Hunger and Poverty in Africa visit www.africanhunger.org or call (202) 479-4501.