Inauguration of the WASCAL Headquarters

On March 27, 2015 the headquarters of WASCAL was officially inaugurated in Accra, Ghana. As part of the ceremony the first graduates of the WASCAL doctoral program West African Climate System, led by the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA), Nigeria, were presented with their graduation certificates from WASCAL. Representatives of the West African Economic Community (ECOWAS), government representatives of Germany, various Ambassadors in Ghana and the ten participating West African countries, as well as partners from universities and research institutions attended the ceremony.

The move to the new WASCAL building and the inauguration of the headquarters on March 27, in Accra mark important steps in establishing WASCAL as a regional and international institution in the long run. As an additional cause for celebration, the first ten students of the WASCAL Doctoral Program received their graduation certificates. Coming from different WASCAL countries, the students graduated from the Doctoral Program “West African Climate System” located at the Federal University of Technology Akure (FUTA), Nigeria, where they worked on such topics as micrometeorology, climate modeling, impact studies in hydrology and agriculture, rainfall onset and secession, extreme events such as droughts as well as rainfall recovery over West Africa. Dr. Laurent Sédogo, the Executive Director of WASCAL, acknowledged the ten graduates as the first doctoral students to graduate from the WASCAL Doctoral Program. Ten more doctoral students from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Kumasi, Ghana will defend their thesis in the coming weeks adding up to a total of 98 PhD and 40 MSc Students that will be graduating by the end of the year 2015.

At the inauguration ceremony for the new headquarters the international organization was honored by high-ranking guests from all WASCAL countries and Germany. Honourable Elvis Afriyie-Ankrah, the Minister of State of Ghana, who presented a speech on behalf of the Vice President, Mr. Kwesi Amissah-Arthur, described WASCAL as a very important developmental tool through which science and education could interface to find appropriate responses to the phenomenon of climate change and its attendant adverse effects on the livelihood of people. „For the millions of people and the subregion, WASCAL is a source of hope that our environment
can be managed in a sustainable manner to ensure the future and the generations yet unborn“, he further emphasized and stressed that climate change is a threat to the basic foundation of the lives of the people of West Africa as about 80 per cent depend on agriculture. Similarly, the use of natural resources for their livelihood and agriculture contribute about 50 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of most countries in the region. He commended the German government for the support it continues to give WASCAL and further gave assurances that Ghana would continue to support WASCAL to ensure that the ECOWAS region collectively
benefited from its work.

The milestone that was achieved with the commission of the WASCAL headquarters in enhancing the visibility of science in West Africa was welcomed by Mr. Wilfried Kraus. The BMBF’s representative further expressed that WASCAL’s continued efforts will strengthen the long-lasting cooperation between African and German universities and research institutions, support working and career options for scientists in Africa, and strengthen the capabilities of the scientists and organizations in Africa to manage and to implement knowledge for their own objective over time.