USAID Partnership with UCAD Strengthens Role of Research and Training in Promoting Economic Growth

Mission Director Ms Fine with Khady Sarr, a food processor
Mission Director Fine hands certificate to trained food processor Khady Sarr
Zack Taylor, USAID

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, September 16, 2015
Zack Taylor +221 33 879 40 00
Aissa Dabo +221 33 879 40 00

Dakar, September 10, 2015 - A public/private partnership between the University Cheikh Anta Diop of Dakar and the Agri-Food Platform of Senegal’s Professional Organizations (POPAS) that helped train almost 60 people demonstrates the role and the centrality of research and training in the development of the private sector and economic growth, the Director of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Ms Susan Fine, said.

Ms. Fine was speaking at the awarding of certificates at the University Cheikh Anta Diop in Dakar to 42 entrepreneurs POPAS and 15 students who benefited from the know-how and practical experience of entrepreneurs.

“This innovative approach that USAID supports and encourages, brings the University closer to the population, and contributes to the development of human resources of academic institutions and research centers,” Ms. Fine said at the ceremony also attended by the Minister of Higher Education and Research, M. Marie Teuw Niane, and UCAD Rector Prof Ibrahima Thioub among other representatives of the academic community and the private sector.

This example of public/private partnership and service to the community, as outlined in a new law on universities, was made possible by USAID’s Education and Research in Agriculture project (USAID/ERA). 

Through the project, 42 POPAS members were trained in best practices approach, in nutritional quality of food, hygiene standards, risk management, packaging, bar codes, labelling and marketing.  Once trained, these women passed on the skills to 178 more food processors.

Thanks to this training, the enterprises improved the quality of their products and got the manufacturing authorization for more than 40 agricultural commodities that can hence be marketed in Senegal and abroad.

As part of the U.S. government’s Feed the Future Initiative, USAID has supported UCAD through various activities, including their new mission of community outreach required by the new framework on the functioning of public universities in Senegal.

Activities such as the POPAS training reflect USAID investments in strengthening links between the private and public sectors through creation of a bridge between academia, industry, and consumers. It showcases how research and training in higher education in Senegal can contribute to economic growth.

In 2014, USAID/ERA facilitated an accord between UCAD and POPAS to develop the training modules, and later provided $110,000 (55,000 francs CFA) to finance the training.  The project will duplicate its success with UCAD through similar agreements with private sector institutions and other academic and institutional partners throughout Senegal.