Dr Harold Roy-Macauley, a Sierra Leonean national, was appointed as the new Director General of the Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice) at an Extraordinary Session of the Council of Ministers of AfricaRice held on 6 February 2015, in Kampala, Uganda.
The announcement was made by the Honorable Cabinet Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Republic of Uganda, Tress Bucyanayandi, in his capacity as the Chair of the AfricaRice Council of Ministers, which is the Center’s highest oversight body. The current Chairmanship is held by Uganda.
Dr Roy-Macauley has nearly 30 years of experience in agricultural research with extensive leadership and management expertise. He is currently the Executive Director of the West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development (CORAF/WECARD) – a leading sub-regional organization, which coordinates and facilitates agricultural R&D activities in 22 countries in West and Central Africa.
Dr Roy-Macauley is no stranger to CGIAR, having served previously as the Regional Director for the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) in West and Central Africa. He has consulted for numerous international and bilateral organizations on biosafety and biotechnology and was the Managing Director for the Regional Center for Improving Adaptation to Drought (CERAAS) in Senegal, a research and training center of CORAF/WECARD.
Dr Roy-Macauley is fluently bilingual in English and French. He obtained his PhD degree in tropical plant biology in 1993 from the Université Denis Diderot, France, his MSc in tropical plant biology in 1988 from the Université de Pierre et Marie Curie, France, and his BSc with Honors in Botany in 1982 from the University of Sierra Leone.
During the Extraordinary Session, the National Experts Committee (NEC), under the chairmanship of Dr Ambrose Agona, Acting Director General of the Uganda National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO), carefully examined the Board’s report on the selection process and recommended to the Council of Ministers that Dr Roy-Macauley be appointed. The NEC comprises the Directors General of the national agricultural research institutions of AfricaRice member countries and serves as the technical arm of the AfricaRice Council of Ministers.
“We are pleased with the transparent and rigorous selection process adopted by the AfricaRice Board of Trustees,” stated Hon. Tress Bucyanayandi, thanking the Board Chair DrPeter Matlon. “We have full confidence that Dr Roy-Macauley has the leadership experience, skills and vision needed to advance the noble mission of AfricaRice.”
Thanking the Council of Ministers and the Board, Dr Roy-Macauley said, “I am honored to accept this very important challenge with a great sense of responsibility.” He added that his vision for the Center is to help position rice, which he referred to as ‘the next gold’, as key in driving the economies of rice-producing countries in Africa and contributing to industrial development and livelihood changes of rural producers, especially women, involved in rice production.
As part of his mandate at AfricaRice, he underlined the importance of “introducing more high-end life science and socioeconomic applications in the Rice Sector Development Hubs, convened by AfricaRice, to help consolidate the already profound and significant changes the rice value chain is undergoing in Africa.”
He also conveyed his commitment to engage with national and regional agricultural research and innovation systems, governments of member States of AfricaRice, regional economic communities, the African Union, and international partners in order to efficiently and effectively respond to and influence national, regional, and continental rice policies.
Paying homage to former Directors General of AfricaRice, Dr Roy-Macauley said that he would further build on the legacies and achievements forged by his predecessors. He highlighted particularly his admiration for the “great dynamism of excellence in AfricaRice,” promoted by Dr Papa Abdoulaye Seck, former Director General of AfricaRice and current Minister of Agriculture and Rural Equipment of Senegal.
The Council of Ministers, the National Experts Committee and the Board took the opportunity to highlight the exceptional contributions made by Dr Seck, which have transformed AfricaRice and taken it to new levels of excellence.
They also conveyed their deep appreciation to the Interim Director General, Dr. Adama Traoré, for steering the Center over the past 18 months with great steadiness, integrity and effectiveness. “We are sure that we can continue to rely on his strong support during the leadership transition.”
Dr Roy-Macauley will assume his post at AfricaRice on 9 March 2015.