From 12 to 14 February 2024, CORAF participated in the CEA-FIRST Inception Meeting hosted by the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) in Tema, Ghana. The CEA-FIRST Inception Meeting coincides with the International Research Consortium (IRC) Signatories’ Meeting and marks the inaugural CEA-FIRST General Assembly.

Within the Horizon Europe financing framework, the International Research Consortium (IRC) will be implemented through a Coordination Support Action named the Consortium Europe-Africa on Research and Innovation for Food Systems Transformation (CEA-FIRST). CEA-FIRST officially commenced on December 1st, 2023.The project brings together partners from Europe and Africa including CORAF and covering a wide range of expertise and actors (research, NGOs, donors, extension workers, etc.) involved in food and nutrition security and sustainable agriculture.

The main objectives of CEA-FIRST are:

  • Provide public access to a broad knowledge platform on food and nutrition security and sustainable agriculture (FNSSA);
  • Provide a robust approach to analyzing research and innovation (R&I) activities and priorities;
  • Support the update of the AU-EU Research and Innovation (R&I) Partnership Roadmap on FNSSA;
  • Establish operational and thematic research working groups; and
  • Support liaison between the IRC and the AU-EU High Level Policy Dialogue (HLPD).

CEA-FIRST aims to operationalize the International Research Consortium (IRC) as a long-term platform on food and nutrition security and sustainable agriculture (FNSSA), in accordance with the FNSSA Roadmap of the AU-EU High Level Political Dialogue (HLPD).

The International Research Consortium (IRC), a multi-stakeholder platform, aims to increase synergies and coherence while reducing fragmentation of research efforts. Its objective is to foster higher returns on investment and impact on business development in Africa and Europe, by connecting actors, research and innovation projects, initiatives and funding programs.

In a context of transition of agri-food systems, marked by the challenges of climate change and demographic changes, The IRC is an essential tool to foster a fair and sustainable research and innovation partnership between Africa and Europe. This partnership aims to strengthen agriculture as a key driver of economic development.