By Joyce Ojanji

The International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) has announced the appointment of Dr. Abdou Tenkouano as the new Director General effective from 1st January 2024.

Dr. Tenkouano from Burkina Faso, becomes the fifth leader of the Centre since it was founded in 1970, taking over from Dr. Segenet Kelemu, who has held the helm since November 2013.

“It is with great pleasure and humility that I join the ICIPE family. I firmly believe in inclusive innovations as the engine for transformative socio-economic development in Africa. I also recognize the complexities that must be addressed by research and development institutions to achieve this goal. I consider ICIPE to be ahead of the curve, and I look forward to continuing the rhythm of continuation and evolution set by my predecessors,’’ said Dr Tenkouano.

He holds a Ph.D. in Genetics and an MSc in Plant Breeding, from Texas A&M University, USA; and a Diplome d’Ingénieur Agronome from the University of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. His research has focused on genetics, breeding, biotechnology, pathology, agronomy and postharvest strategies, working with multidisciplinary teams to support extension and development of various crops including sorghum, millet, maize, cassava, yam, banana and plantain.

“We are extremely confident that Dr Tenkouano will ably advance ICIPE vision and mission, as well as the Centre’s place in a fast-evolving world. He has a prolific career spanning more than three decades in agricultural research, supported by immense scientific knowledge production, technology development and dissemination. He also has a strong track record in management and leadership, resource mobilization, networks and collaboration, capacity building, as well as a reputable standing in the regional and international research and development sector,” said Prof. Kym Anderson, Chair, ICIPE Governing Council.

Before his appointment, Dr Tenkouano was the Executive Director, West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development (CORAF/WECARD), based in Dakar, Senegal.

He joined the Council from the World Vegetable Center (World Veg, previously the Asian Vegetable Research and Development Center – AVRDC), where he served for eight years, first as the Director, Regional Center for Africa, based in Arusha, Tanzania; and then as Regional Director, West and Central Africa, based in Bamako, Mali.

Previously, he held a 12-year stint, and various positions at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), working on genetics, breeding and improvement of plantain and banana, cassava and yams.

Earlier, he was the Coordinator, West and Central Africa Sorghum Research Network, International Crop Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), in Bamako, Mali.

Dr. Tenkouano is actively engaged within the regional and global scientific community, having published widely in refereed publications, through his professional services and memberships, as a member of various regional international committees focusing on research for development, as an awards jurist, and through visiting positions in academia.

He has received several recognitions including the Consortium of International Agricultural Research Centres (CGIAR) Science Award for Outstanding Partnership (2009) between AVRDC and the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT).