Appolinaire Djikengm becomes first African to lead the International Livestock Research Institute

KENYA – Appolinaire Djikengm, A Cameroonian biologist and researcher at the University of Edinburg in Scotland, has become the first African to lead the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) following his recent appointment as Director General of the organisation.

The board of directors at ILRI and the Consortium of International Agricultural Research Centers (CGIAR) announced in a published press release on January 20th that the new director will take up his duties from April 2023.

The role comes with being the Senior Director of livestock systems of CGIAR as well.

Professor Djikengm is an expert recognised globally for his piloted multidisciplinary and multi-institutional research and development programs focused on the development of agriculture and livestock health.

“The development of breeding is personally very close to me. It is therefore a tremendous honour and privilege to lead the world’s leading livestock development organization.

We will focus on improving outcomes for farmers, solving problems related to our environment, using sustainable natural resources and providing solutions to our increasingly vulnerable food systems,” commented the newly appointed Director General.

Professor Appolinaire Djikengm will take over the role from Dr Shirley Tarawali who succeeded the renowned animal scientist Dr Jimmy Smith, who retired in December 2022 after 11 years of outstanding leadership, according to the ILRI board of directors.

The professor joins ILRI from the university of Edinburgh where he is a professor and chair of Tropical Agriculture and Sustainable Development as well as the director of the Centre for Tropical Livestock Genetics and Health (CTLGH) at the Roslin Institute.

He will retain his association with the university of Edinburg in a strategy to strengthen the partnership between ILRI and the CGIAR system.

ILRI leads the CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and co-leads another of the CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health.

The organisation also substantially contributes to the CGIAR research program on climate change, Agriculture, Food Security and several other CGIAR research.

The professor previously worked with ILRI from 2009 to 2016 as the Technology Manager and as the Director of the Biosciences in eastern and central Africa.

For his new role, he is expected to expand ILRI’s proven track record of impact, developing livestock sustainable systems that will help nourish and sustain millions of people in low- and middle-income countries.

He will also provide leadership and coordination of activities related to livestock systems across CGIAR.

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