- Presidents message
Dear AAAE members, colleagues, and friends:
I must begin by expressing my gratitude to you all. First, I thank each of those who drew me out from my comfort zone by encouraging me to stand for the president of our association. I also thank the members of our association as a whole, who have collectively entrusted its leadership to my hands.
I am deeply honored to have been elected the sixth president of the African Association of Agricultural Economists. Since its founding in 2004, the AAAE has played an essential role in fostering agricultural and rural growth through policy research and development in Africa. The AAAE has grown into one of the most influential organizations in African agriculture through the efforts of our former presidents; thanks to their hard work and dedication, membership in our association has grown steadily. Special thanks go to the outgoing executive committee, led by former president Dr. Edward Mabaya, for doing such an excellent job of leading our association over the past three years. It is a pleasure to follow in the steps of such a capable team, and I will depend on their continued engagement and support.
Having been founded in 2004, our association is now fifteen years old—an adolescent, as it were. The teenage years are fraught with potential pitfalls, but when well managed, they can produce a bountiful harvest. Accordingly, as we build on the past successes of our association, we must be vigilant in seeking to bring our association to maturity.
Over the next three years, I will be honored to work with a distinguished elected executive committee, most of whose seven members are new to this role. Among them are five regional representatives, a former president, and the editor in chief of our association’s journal. I look forward to serving the association alongside so distinguished a team of scholars and leaders as we strive to continue realizing our association’s vision of “supporting capacity building activities of its members, with expanded opportunities for young scientists, and contributing significantly to policy research and development on African agriculture.”
Our priority for the next three years will be to position the AAAE as a think tank that plays a decisive role in informing public decisions in the agricultural sector on the continent. Our actions will be guided by three goals: increasing membership, boosting mobilization of resources, and expanding our base of activities.
To increase membership, we will promote enrollment in the association while seeking to boost involvement and participation. In particular, we will promote membership and participation of qualified women and younger graduates while making a special effort to target French-speaking colleagues. Because adherence of Francophones is low and is decreasing, we will seek to bring more Francophones into our association so that we can remain one of the continent’s most important and inclusive professional associations.
By mobilizing more resources, we can support the stream of activities we envision during this period, helping us achieve our ambitious agenda. We intend to increase our support of national and regional associations while offering increased levels of coaching and mentorship, and doing so will require an ample base of resources.
AAAE holds its conferences every three years, leaving a substantial period between events. To help our members maintain their momentum between conferences, we will develop innovative ways of engaging with members between and beyond triennial conferences, including by supporting more interconference activities. Such activities will also help our association engage with those who might not always have the opportunity to attend our larger triennial conferences.
Our association’s journal, the African Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, or AfJARE, now has a new editorial team. Dr. Joshua Ariga of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Dr. Suresh Babu of IFPRI have been appointed our journal’s new chief editor and co-editor. Let us also take this opportunity to offer our sincere thanks to Professor Nick Vink, who has served as editor in chief since 2013. AfJARE has gone from strength to strength under his excellent leadership and is now indexed in the Science Citation Index. We could have asked for no more qualified or dedicated a leader than Nick, and we will continue to offer all necessary support for our journal to continue its quest for excellence.
Our sixth conference, held this year in Abuja, was a notable intellectual gathering. I thank the local organizing committee and all others who participated in making this event such a success. Now, with Abuja behind us, all eyes are turning to our seventh conference, scheduled for 2022.
Even as we seek to finalize the hosting country and exact dates of our 2022 conference, let us begin preparing ourselves for another unforgettable experience. To continue our association’s tradition of captivating and intellectually stimulating conferences, the new executive committee is already working to introduce innovations on both form and substance.
As we set our priorities for the next three years, we earnestly seek your input on what you hope to achieve and what innovations you seek. We encourage you to engage with the association in every way possible, keeping your comments and suggestions coming. Together, we will make a lasting difference.
I know you share my passion for our association, and I thank you for the trust you have shown by extending me the opportunity to serve as its president. Now, as we look to 2020 and beyond, we must take the AAAE to the next level. I look forward to working with you to make our dreams a reality.
Guy Blaise NKAMLEU