How can the impacts of climate change on agriculture in West Africa be measured and minimized? African and German research teams have examined this question over five years in the large-scale project WASCAL, with the support of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. In the interest of sustainability, the Ministry is now also funding the successor project “WASCAL-DE Coop” in an amount of 3.7 million euros, spread out over three years.
Whereas several German institutions were involved in the first project phase, Julius-Maximilians-Universität (JMU) Würzburg in Bavaria, Germany, is now the sole partner. The JMU will use the money from the Ministry to set up eight scientific and two administrative posts for the duration of the project. Funds for student assistants have also been granted.
The team aims to achieve three major goals by 2022: The first is to address new research questions together with the African partners, the second to further develop the research infrastructure created in West Africa within the WASCAL project, and the third to contribute to the training of African scientists.
When the project started in 2012, WASCAL – the “West African Science Service Center on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use” – was still pretty much up in the air as a research idea. It has by now developed into an internationally acknowledged research organization with its headquarters in Accra (Ghana) and a climate competence centre in Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso). The WASCAL network comprises research institutions from ten West African countries.