Dr Ibrahim Mayaki’s leadership and personal commitment to agriculture and rural development has earned him the prestigious French honour of Commander in the National Order of Agricultural Merit.
The Order was bestowed on Dr Mayaki at a reception in Pretoria last night at the official residence of France’s Ambassador to South Africa, Mrs Elisabeth Barbier.
The distinguished Order, which has ranks of knight, officer and commander, was created in France in1883 to reward services rendered by individuals who, by their actions, have benefited agriculture and products.
This is the second time Dr Mayaki’s contribution has been honoured. In 2011 he received the French National Order of Agricultural Merit, also for his role in agricultural transformation. Last night’s award is a higher recognition of Dr Mayaki’s contribution. Among other recipients of this, is Ms Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the IMF.
Speaking at the occasion attended by Diplomats, Mrs Mayaki and NEPAD senior managers, Mrs Barbier said, “You have dedicated most of your career to agriculture and rural development, issues which are too often regarded as subsidiary or inconsequential. As the world population is projected to increase to over nine billion people by 2050, with most of this increase occurring in developing countries and particularly in Africa, food security is a strategic issue for the global prosperity and stability.”
Dr Mayaki said that he received the honour with humility, and thanked the French Government for the recognition.
“There is no doubt that Africa’s development is hinged on Agriculture. Going forward, we will ensure that NEPAD continues its commitment to rural and agriculture transformation in Africa. Youth, for instance, make up a large percentage of our population, and they are concentrated in the urban areas. This transformation would offer opportunities and hope to many.
Mrs Barbier said France is proud to be a long-term partner of NEPAD. The cooperation between the two entities is demonstrated by the French development agencies’ involvement in infrastructure through technical assistance and funding of 1.35 million EURO to NEPAD.
Late last year, NEPAD and the French research centre for agriculture and development CIRAD, signed a partnership agreement which aims to create collaboration and exchange in the agricultural field, rural development. One of the primary objectives is to support NEPAD’s new program "Rural Futures" which focuses on rural transformation.