Dr. Harold Roy-Macauley, new Director General of AfricaRice, doesn't want to just improve rice science for Africa, he wants to make the continent a world leader in it.

The rice sector in Africa is going to be “evidenced-based and therefore very solid and powerful,” he says. At a time when the developed world agonizes over the value of science, Africa sees an opportunity to grab a lot of market share by using science to improve their food production and become a next exporter, and then the rest of the world can play catch up.

“Rice is global and it is big business,” said Macauley,a Sierra Leonean national, in his first speech to the AfricaRice staff in Cotonou, Benin. “It is the white gold of the future. We at AfricaRice should consider ourselves fortunate to be in big business already”.

Dr. Harold Roy-Macauley, Director General, AfricaRice

Roy-Macauley outlined his first priorities as:

* Rendering partnerships more efficient around rice science and sector development
* Strengthening capacity for rice science and sector development
* Improving access of small-holders rice producers to markets
* Reintegrating rice science in the policy agenda of countries
* Increasing investments in rice science and sector development

To realize his vision for AfricaRice, he highlighted the need to focus on the implementation of four main things:

1. “Consolidation, which implies consolidating existing scientific and development activities to respond directly to the weaknesses observed in the rice value chain with special focus on integrating functional Innovation platforms (IPs) in rice value chain in the rice hubs and striking a better balance between varietal development and dissemination and agronomy.

2. Efficiency/Efficacy, which implies improving the following key systems – monitoring, evaluation and learning; data and information collection and analysis; knowledge management; information and communication; cooperate services and quality delivery; and governance policies, leading to increased credibility of AfricaRice, the interest of development partners including the private sector and their investments and the sustainable funding of AfricaRice’s activities.

3. Punctuality, which implies anticipating consequences (proactivity and rapidity), having great consideration of our clients, inspiring confidence in staff, and being polite, which will lead to improved client relationship and the reputation of AfricaRice Management.

4. Excellence, which implies being very progressive, having a sense of responsibility and a spirit of openness, and recognizing diversity, merits and talents, which will lead to improved work environment.”