Africa’s development relies heavily on agriculture, and beans are a key to the sector’s prosperous and nutritious future. But to increase productivity and food security, funding for research on beans – which are a key source of protein, iron and zinc – is critical. To support scientific work on beans across the continent, the Al-Sumait Prize for African Development was presented to the Pan-Africa Bean Research Alliance (PABRA) on February 10 in Kuwait.

“This is a great honor and major source of encouragement to our partners to do more,” said Dr. Robin Buruchara, PABRA’s recently retired director, who accepted the prize at the ceremony. “This award will help us scale out and reach even more beneficiaries across Africa.”

PABRA shared the US$1 million prize, which was announced in November, with the Africa Rice Center.

The award ceremony which took place on World Pulses day – was presided by the Deputy of His Highness the Amir of Kuwait, Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al Ahmed Al Sabah who presented the 2019 Al Sumait Prize, which comprises of one million dollars, a gold medal, and a plaque at a special ceremony held at the Bayan Palace in Kuwait.

The joint winners of 2019, Food Security Cycle of the Prize, The Africa Rice Center (Africa Rice), and The Pan Africa Bean Research Alliance (PABRA), received half each of the US$1million award.

Also accepting the award, Dr. Harold-Roy Macauley Director-General Africa Rice commented: “It is an enormous honor and privilege to receive this award.” he went on to say, “We will use the Al-Sumait Prize money to support the development of more efficient seed systems, particularly through the Pan African rice seed capital initiative.

Al Sumait Prize Gold Shield 2019 received by each of the winners

Dr. Shihab Eldin, Director General of Kuwait Foundation for Advancement in Science(KFAS), announced that both Africa Rice and PABRA’s efforts had had a significant impact on achieving tangible improvements in the lives of millions of malnourished and underfed people. Additionally, their part in promoting the role of women in the agricultural sector has had a very positive effect on the sustainability of their work.

Initiated in 2013 by His Highness the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al- Sabah, the Al-Sumait Prize for African Development is designed to reward innovative and inspiring initiatives and research by individuals and organizations that address the challenges facing the African continent. The award recognizes and honors individuals or institutions that help advance economic and social development, human resources development, and infrastructure in Africa.