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Lack of organised front is Africa’s bane — University don

BY: Doreen Hammond
Journalists being briefed at the university
Journalists being briefed at the university

The Vice-President of the Mohammed VI Polytechnic University, Mr Driss Ouazar, says Africa does not lack resources but her challenge is how to properly organise and harness them for the benefit of the continent.

“We have everything, but we are not well organised. We need to know who is doing what, where and why for our benefit,” he stated. He said various African institutions were doing so much work with so much data collected but the information was not being shared.

Journalists tour

Mr Ouazar, who was addressing 17 journalists from Africa who visited the University in Benguerir, Morocco, last Thursday, said the university was, therefore, establishing partnerships across the continent to address some of the challenges.

The journalists are in Morocco at the invitation of OCP, a Moroccan mineral fertilizer manufacturing company, for a one-week facility tour.

The visit is also meant to highlight the operations of OCP to the journalists. The company is deepening its presence in Ghana with collaborations with some state agencies to boost soil fertility.

The university was established by OCP in furtherance of its aim to tackle the challenges in research, innovation and education in Africa, particularly Morocco.


It focuses on industrialisation, food security and sustainable development.

Research for development

Mr Ouazar said Africa needed “precision agriculture” and that was why the university’s Centre for Soil and Fertiliser (CESFRA) was analysing various soils in order to formulate customised solutions to make them more productive.

He explained for instance that in certain areas there was lack of water, while in others there was abundance and it was necessary to study how to manage both situations for agricultural productivity, since both situations presented challenges.

Mr Ouazar found it unacceptable that Africa exported raw materials instead of processing and developing them sustainably for the benefit of the continent.

The university, which was inaugurated in January 2017, has 650 students, 618 of whom are being fully sponsored by OCP.

Sustainability

To save cost, the university uses a pergola of solar photovoltaic panels to generate 30 per cent of its energy needs.

It also recycles its waste water for irrigation.

The journalists also visited the university’s demonstration farms.