Amir dec­o­rates win­ners of Al-Su­mait Prize

Award hon­ors ef­forts for Africa de­vel­op­ment

Kuwait Times - - LOCAL -

MAL­ABO:

His High­ness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ah­mad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah yes­ter­day dec­o­rated win­ners of Al-Su­mait Prize for Africa De­vel­op­ment in recog­ni­tion of their roles in im­prov­ing health and food se­cu­rity of African na­tions.

In the pres­ence of Equa­to­rial Guinea Pres­i­dent Teodoro Mba­sogo, Arab League Sec­re­tary Gen­eral Ah­mad Abul Gheit, African Union Com­mis­sion Chair­per­son Dr Nkosazana Zuma and a plethora of African and Arab dig­ni­taries, His High­ness the Amir hon­ored the win­ners of the an­nual Kuwaiti prize for Africa de­vel­op­ment.

Dr Kevin March of the Kenya-based African Academy for Sci­ences and Ox­ford Univer­sity re­ceived Su­mait Prize of 2015, $1 mil­lion ded­i­cated for health, for his re­lent­less work to im­prove chil­dren’s lives in the African con­ti­nent.

The 2016 prize, also $1 mil­lion and ded­i­cated for food se­cu­rity, was shared by the Peru-based CIP’s Sweet Potato for Nu­tri­tion Team and the In­ter­na­tional In­sti­tute for Trop­i­cal Agri­cul­ture (IITA), based in Nige­ria. Dr Bar­bara Wells, of the Sweet Potato for Nu­tri­tion Team, and Dr Na­manga Ngongi of the IITA re­ceived the awards on be­half of their or­ga­ni­za­tions.

Mon­u­men­tal achieve­ments

“We are de­lighted to rec­og­nize tonight the mon­u­men­tal achieve­ments of the re­cip­i­ents of the awards,” Dr Ad­nan Shi­hab-Eldin, Gov­er­nor of Al-Su­mait Prize Board of Trustees, said at the cer­e­mony held the Equa­to­rial Guinea’s cap­i­tal on the side­lines of the 4th Afro-Arab Su­mait.

“To­gether, the three win­ners have un­der­taken, with un­wa­ver­ing com­mit­ment, ground-break­ing ap­plied re­search and field work to tackle and over­come the scourges of two ma­jor im­ped­i­ments to de­vel­op­ment in Africa, malaria and un­der-nour­ish­ment,” he added.

Shi­hab-Eldin, also Di­rec­tor Gen­eral Kuwait Foun­da­tion for the Ad­vance­ment of Sci­ences (KFAS), ex­tended heart­felt congratulations to the lau­re­ates who tried through their ini­tia­tives and work to cre­ate brighter fu­ture for Africa.

“Their award win­ning sem­i­nal works pro­vide a brighter fu­ture for the lives and well­be­ing of tens of mil­lions in Africa, es­pe­cially chil­dren,” he said. He also thanked His High­ness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ah­mad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah for launch­ing the prize in the 3rd Arab-African Su­mait that was held in Kuwait in Novem­ber 2013.

“I must above all thank His High­ness the Amir, Sheikh Sabah Al Ah­mad Al-Jaber Al Sabah for his ini­tia­tive to launch the Prize, which is part of his con­tin­ued lead­er­ship of world­wide Hu­man­i­tar­ian ini­tia­tives for which he has been rec­og­nized by the UN.”

Enor­mous honor

Mean­while, Dr Marsh ex­pressed his plea­sure to be among the first win­ners of Al-Su­mait Prize. “It is an enor­mous honor and priv­i­lege to be here today to re­ceive the Al Su­mait prize,” he said.

Dr March, who would re­ceive the $1 mil­lion prize, won the award for his sus­tained ef­forts for around three decades in sci­en­tific re­search, train­ing and build­ing of in­sti­tu­tions with the ob­jec­tive of con­trol­ling and erad­i­cat­ing Malaria.

“This prize is es­pe­cially ex­cit­ing for a num­ber of rea­sons; first be­cause it is about Africa, the con­ti­nent to which Dr Ab­dul­rah­man Al Su­mait ded­i­cated his work­ing life; it is also the con­ti­nent which I have called home for most of my adult life,” he elab­o­rated. “Sec­ondly be­cause it is a bold ini­tia­tive which turns our eyes away from what we might call the tra­di­tional sources of sup­port for re­search and de­vel­op­ment in Africa.” He con­cluded that these prizes will act as a stim­u­lus and in­spi­ra­tion to re­searchers across the con­ti­nent.

Lau­re­ate Dr Bar­bara Wells of the Sweet Potato Team ex­pressed grat­i­tude for Kuwait’s First Deputy Prime Min­is­ter and For­eign Min­is­ter Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled AlSabah, KFAS, and Al-Su­mait Prize Board for this great honor. “This award is a recog­ni­tion of the ground break­ing orange flesh sweet potato work that CIP’s sci­en­tists have done,” she said. She noted that the team to­gether with its part­ners have im­pacted 2.8 mil­lion households in 10 coun­tries across SubSa­ha­ran Africa. “With the gen­eros­ity of this most pres­ti­gious award, we will ac­cel­er­ate our de­liv­ery of im­pact to scale, reach­ing mil­lions more households than would other­wise have been pos­si­ble. Our goal is to im­pact 15MM households by 2023,” she said.

Food se­cu­rity

Mean­while, Dr Na­manga Ngongi stated that his in­sti­tu­tion the IITA, for almost 50 years, has part­nered with African Govern­ments, the in­ter­na­tional de­vel­op­ment part­ners to strengthen the food se­cu­rity in Africa. “IITA is there­fore happy to have been rec­og­nized for its ef­forts to sup­port food se­cu­rity on the con­ti­nent through its many years of re­search on Africa’s Sta­ple Food Crops,” he said. “These crops, es­pe­cially Cas­sava, ba­nanas, plan­tains, yams, maize, soy­bean and cow­peas, that are at the core of the food bas­ket of mil­lions of Africans had pre­vi­ously been ne­glected for many decades in the re­search agen­das of many in­sti­tu­tions.”

He added that “IITA pledges to make good use of the prize money to fur­ther strengthen its part­ner­ship with African re­search and ex­ten­sion in­sti­tu­tions in the com­mon ef­fort to­wards achiev­ing food and nu­tri­tion se­cu­rity on the con­ti­nent”.

Al-Su­mait Prize hon­ors in­di­vid­u­als or in­sti­tu­tions that help ad­vance eco­nomic and so­cial de­vel­op­ment, hu­man re­sources de­vel­op­ment and in­fras­truc­ture in Africa through their sus­tained re­search and or in­no­va­tive projects that re­sult in ma­jor im­pact on the lives and wel­fare of the peo­ple of Africa es­pe­cially the poor and un­der­priv­i­leged. The prize was an­nounced by His High­ness the Amir dur­ing the 3rd Arab-African Su­mait that was held in Kuwait in 2013 in ap­pre­ci­a­tion of Al-Su­mait’s hu­man­i­tar­ian legacy in the African con­ti­nent. —KUNA

His High­ness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ah­mad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah meets with heads of the GCC del­e­ga­tions par­tic­i­pat­ing at the fourth AfricaArab Sum­mit.— Amiri Di­wan pho­tos

MAL­ABO: His High­ness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ah­mad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and other of­fi­cials pose with win­ners of Al-Su­mait Prize for Africa De­vel­op­ment.— Amiri Di­wan pho­tos

His High­ness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ah­mad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah awards Dr Bar­bara Wells of the Sweet Potato for Nu­tri­tion Team.

MAL­ABO: His High­ness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ah­mad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah meets with Egyp­tian Pres­i­dent Ab­delfa­tah Al-Sisi.

His High­ness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ah­mad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah awards Dr Na­manga Ngongi of the In­ter­na­tional In­sti­tute for Trop­i­cal Agri­cul­ture.

Equa­to­rial Guinea Pres­i­dent Teodoro Mba­sogo wel­comes His High­ness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ah­mad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah to the venue.

His High­ness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ah­mad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah awards Dr Kevin March of the Kenya-based African Academy for Sci­ences and Ox­ford Univer­sity.

Dr Ad­nan Shi­hab-Eldin, Gov­er­nor of Al-Su­mait Prize Board of Trustees de­liv­ers his speech.

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