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President Romain’s brief report on the African Potato Association

World Potato Congress Inc partner of the African Potato Association at the triennial conference in Kigali, Rwanda

During his presentation at the official opening of the 11th African Potato Congress in Kigali, Rwanda, World Potato Congress President Romain Cools announced the continuous effort of his organization to be a partner of the African potato sector. President Cools illustrated this statement by referring to the active role of African potato specialists in WPC’s global organization: Dr. A. Jooste of South Africa and B. Lemaga of CIP who are both members of the WPC International Advisory Committee as well as WPC Director, Dr. Peter VanderZaag, a long term friend of the African potato sector.

President Cools pointed to the new WPC strategic plan which no longer differentiates between the developed and emerging economies, but aims to become a premier networking organization for all potato professionals active in the potato sector all over the world. He expressed his hope that the step towards more public/private partnerships could also lead to more successful potato projects in Sub Sahara Africa. He called upon the global potato sector for support to develop potato value chains in this region, knowing that financial invesments are available. “The link between these projects and possible investors is the one we have to realize”, he concluded.

The next World Potato Congress will be held in Dublin, Ireland from 31 May till 4 June in 2021 and Romain Cools assured that WPC and the local Irish organizing committee have commited themselves to developing a program on public/private partnership in Africa and other emerging regions during the next year. This roadmap has been launched during a successful WPC workshop at the APA conference. More than 70 participants from all segments of the potato value chain have developed proposals, tools to take away possible constraints and new ideas on the role of public authorities, farmers, research institutes and the private sector to create successful potato value chains. These proposals will be worked out into a roadmap, lead by the Irish NGO VITA, in close collaboration with all interested stakeholders. During a workshop at the WPC in Ireland, this document will be finalized into the Declaration of Dublin, to be presented at the plenary closing ceremony of the 2021 Congress.