Michigan State University Professor to Lead $50 Million Project to Improve Farming in Africa

A Michigan State University professor, Thom Jayne, has been chosen to lead a $50 million, five-year study commissioned by the World Bank to identify how agricultural universities can effectively respond to emerging new skill requirements of Africa’s agricultural workforce.

The Strengthening Higher Education for Agri-food Systems project is a partnership between the World Bank, African governments, and the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture. The initiative builds on Africa’s efforts to stimulate agri-food system transformation by strengthening the alliances between African universities and regional agriculture sector needs.

The study will identify major trends likely to influence African agri-food systems and predict how these trends will influence what the private and public sectors will be looking for in university graduates. Additionally, the project will explore the technological and skill requirements to be most valued among graduates of African agricultural universities. The results will be used to guide institutional and policy changes.

“We see this as a major opportunity to bring what Michigan State University has learned over the past several decades about institutional capacity development into the design and implementation of a major initiative in Africa,” said Dr. Jayne, University Foundation Professor in the department of agricultural, food, and resource economics at the university. He added that, “my professional efforts in the last 10 years have been based on the recognition that development in any region is associated with the sustainable development of its own institutions.”

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