About the Institute for Natural Resources in Africa

Accra , Ghana

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  • UNU-INRA was established in 1986 and moved to its current location on the campus of the University of Ghana in Legon, Accra, Ghana in 1994. The Institute is one of 14 Research and Training Centres/Programmes (RTC/Ps) that constitute UNU’s worldwide network. It is the only UNU-RTC/P in Africa and the only one in a low-income country.

    UNU-INRA’s work centres on Africa’s two most important endowments — its human and natural resources. It aims to strengthen capacities at universities and other national institutions to conduct research and produce well-trained individuals with the ability to develop, adapt and disseminate technologies that promote the sustainable use of the continent’s natural resources. UNU-INRA operates out of its main office at the University of Ghana. It has also established operating units (OUs) in five countries through which some of its major activities are undertaken:

    • University of Cocody, Abidjan, Ivory Coast ( social, economic and policy analysis related to natural resource management);
    • University of Yaoundé I, Yaoundé, Cameroon (use of geo-informatics and applications of computer technology to natural resource management);
    • University of Zambia, Lusaka, Zambia (soil fertility and mineral resources);
    • University of Namibia, Windhoek, Namibia (marine and coastal resources); and
    • Institute for Food Technology (ITA) of the Ministry of Mines and Industry in Dakar, Senegal (processing of agricultural and local food products, food quality and food technology).

    Operating units will continue to play a critical role in the work of UNU-INRA and the number of these units may increase.

    This section of the website summarises information on, among others, the operating units, programme areas and projects, events and workshops, publications and other useful links. A common feature of the Institute’s activities (past and present) is that it strives to forge synergies and build partnerships with a wide range of stakeholders. UNU-INRA management hopes that you will find the information on this section of the website of great use to you.

  • In 1985, against a background of deepening political, economic and social crises in Africa, and, in response to the 1980 OAU Lagos Plan of Action for the Economic Development of Africa, 1980-2000, the United Nations University (UNU) assembled a group of distinguished African scientists and technologists to define what role UNU could play to enhance the ability of African universities and research institutions to contribute to finding solutions to Africa’s developmental problems.

    The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) initiative has captured the vision of African governments to the extent that it has become the major determinant of their development strategies. This initiative recognises the critical roles that higher education and especially the application of science and technology to the management and use of natural resources must play in the development of Africa. For example, NEPAD noted the importance of improving the poor state of higher education infrastructure, of raising the level of science and technology application, and of adding value to natural resources as some of the key strategies to hasten Africa’s development while protecting its environment.

    African countries have subscribed to the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and expectations of NEPAD. Meeting the MDGs and putting together the relevant tools needed to meet the NEPAD agenda pose serious challenges to all African countries. Africa’s main asset, the African people, must be positioned to reap the benefits from recent advances in science and technology. A critical element for this to occur is the application of new knowledge in science and technology by African scientists to advance resources, which are currently managed in a way that impacts negatively on the livelihood of the African people. The conservation, development and management of Africa’s resources in a sustainable way are critical for generating wealth to alleviate poverty. The NEPAD document identifies strengthening the weak research and training infrastructure in African universities and research institutions as a necessary first step to harness Africa’s people and natural resources for development through the application of science and technology.

    As a result, UNU-INRA was established in 1986 with a mission to support the building of African capacity by strengthening national institutions to promote sustainable use of the continent’s natural resources for development. UNU-INRA’s research and training activities are targeted at ensuring that African scientists, technologists and institutions acquire capabilities to generate, adapt, and apply knowledge and technology to promote more efficient utilization of natural resources for self-reliant development and thus contribute to eradicating rural poverty and improving food security.

    UNU-INRA currently has five Operating Units (OUs) focusing on:

    UNU-INRA’s activities till date have focused on strengthening partnerships with African scientists and research institutions through networking with African universities and research institutes and through strategic partnerships with like-minded organizations (such as FAO and the institutes of the CGIAR).

    If extreme poverty is to be eradicated in Africa, technological innovations that improve agricultural production and add value to Africa’s raw materials must be generated. Technological innovations are the product of effective research and Africa’s universities must take the lead in conducting effective research.

    It is on this basis that, in 1999, UNU-INRA established a network, the College of Research Associates (CRA). Members of the College have become UNU-INRA’s main vehicle for implementing research and training activities with collaborating African universities and research institutions.

    UNU-INRA has also developed and strengthened relevant postgraduate programmes in African universities, including the establishment of UNU-INRA OUs.

    UNU-INRA continues to play a pivotal role in developing prototype postgraduate modules of courses and curriculum for adaptation in African universities. One such module of courses is on environmental management and policy studies (EMPS) designed to complement science-based postgraduate degree programmes on the management of the environment.

    On 16 October 2003, the first MSc (Environment) programme in an African university that incorporates the mastery of the science with a better understanding of policy issues related to the management of the environment was inaugurated at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi, Ghana.

    In addition to long-term courses, UNU-INRA undertakes short-term training programmes. To date, 75 technologists and scientists have been trained in plant tissue culture technology while a sizeable number of scientists have been trained on the application of computer technology to the management of natural resources.

    UNU-INRA collaborated with the International Foundation for Science (IFS) to award 60 grants to support the research of deserving young African scientists from 19 African countries.

    Furthermore, UNU-INRA has conducted focus studies on the role of African women in natural resources management to inform policy. African women, particularly those in rural areas, are the main custodians of indigenous knowledge in natural resource conservation, management and food preparation. In spite of efforts to link African women to activities that promote sustainable development, these women have continued to face problems in almost all sectoral development activities dealing with natural resources management.

    UNU-INRA’s approach has been to undertake studies that emphasise the critical role played by African women in the conservation and management of natural resources as well as highlight policies and interventions that minimize gender inequalities. In pursuit of this objective, UNU-INRA has developed case studies of successful African women who have been engaged in natural resources management enterprises in the different regions of sub-Saharan Africa to serve as role models. UNU-INRA developed a Policy Brief that would inform policymakers on how to improve credit policies and delivery systems for women in natural resources management enterprises.

    UNU-INRA also aims to engage the African Diaspora in the activities of UNU-INRA. UNU-INRA’s African Millennium Initiative for Science and Technology (AMIST) is a networking mechanism that is helping to bridge the knowledge gap between African scientists, technologists and academicians in the Diaspora with their home-based counterparts. The “Diaspora project” is strongly linked to both the College of Research Associates and the establishment of new OUs for UNU-INRA. Using these avenues, UNU-INRA is providing opportunities for the African scientists and technologists in the Diaspora to:

    • Establish linkages between African universities and reputable centres of learning in the developed world. This confidence-building exercise is the first process in trying to alleviate the intellectual isolation afflicting African scientists at home.
    • Procure resources that can be used to strengthen the “cells of excellence” that have been identified by UNU-INRA as its OUs.

    UNU-INRA makes timely and relevant information available to African policymakers through the UNU-INRA Annual Lectures. Since 1998, UNU-INRA has become the focal institution for attracting renowned scholars worldwide to share data and provide policy guidance to African natural resources and environment policymakers and/or their advisors. The UNU-INRA Annual Lectures, held in collaboration with the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) has attracted such distinguished scholars as:

    • Prof. Calestous Juma (Harvard University),
    • Prof. Samuel Makinda (Murdoch University, Australia),
    • Prof. Maurice Iwu, (President of the International Society of Ethnobiology and Executive Director of Bio-Resources Development and Conservation Programme),
    • Dr. John Mugabe (NEPAD Secretariat) and Prof. Robert Evenson (Yale University).

    Finally, UNU-INRA’s Visiting Scholars Programme (UNU-INRA VSP) provides qualified scholars an opportunity to undertake research on topics related to the development and management of natural resources in Africa, to participate in UNU-INRA activities, and to contribute to UNU-INRA publications. The program is designed to enhance the dissemination of UNU-INRA research and to contribute to UNU-INRA’s outreach program. Researchers from four African countries participated in the 2011 maiden edition and conducted the following research:

    • Community-based forest management: How to mitigate farmers’ infiltration in protected forests in Cote d’Ivoire?  – (Dr. Wadjamsse B. Djezou, University of Cocody-Abidjan/CIRES)
    • Modelling impact of climate change on maize (Zea mays L.) yield under rain-fed condition in sub-humid Ghana – (Dr. Benedicta Y. Fosu-Mensah, Ghana)
    • Modeling agronomic and economic flux in a small watershed in Niger River basin: case of Kourani-Baria – (Dr. Adam Mamadou Inran, Niger)
    • Hydrological management perspectives in Botswana: A contrast between the colonial and the post-colonial periods up to 2010 – (Dr. Mark Nyandoro, University of Botswana)

    Currently, UNU-INRA’s activities focus on four main thematic areas:

    1. Conflict Resolution and Security
    2. Harnessing Land and Water Resources for Efficient and Sustainable Use
    3. Promoting Conservation and Developing a Green Economy
    4. Governing and Managing Extractive Industries



  • Mr. Benjamin Turkson joined UNU-INRA as a Finance and Administrative Officer in October 2007. He holds a BSc degree in Administration (Accounting Option) from the University of Ghana Business School, and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from Strayer University in Washington, DC. He is also a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) with the American Institute of Public Accountants (AICPA) and the Maryland Board of Public Accountancy, USA.

    Mr. Turkson has substantial postgraduate work experience in the areas of business advisory, financial accounting, business management, and investment banking with the private sector within the American corporate world and his home country, Ghana. His career history includes working variously as an Accounts Executive, Accountant, and Deputy Finance and Accounts Manager, for Xerox Corporation, National Association of Security Dealers, and Gelina Packaging Company respectively. Prior to his departure to the United States in the late 1990s, Mr. Turkson served as a Project Accountant for Akuaba Limited, a real estate development and furniture manufacturing company based in Accra, Ghana. Upon his return to Ghana in early 2007, he took up a position with PricewaterhouseCoopers (Ghana) with the Corporate Finance and Recovery unit.


    Mr. Harris Francis Andoh has about eight years of professional research experience in irrigation and water engineering, watershed hydrology, water resources management, climate change impact analysis on water resources and agriculture, soil and water sampling and analysis, water supply and sanitation, rural development, environment economics, socio-economic studies and agro-hydrological modeling.

    He holds a Master of Philosophy degree in Environmental Science from the University of Ghana, Legon and BSc in Agricultural Engineering (Soil and Water Engineering specialization) from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi. In addition, Mr. Andoh has field research experience in all the 10 regions in Ghana and in Uganda, Kenya and South Africa. He has also received training in Governance in Oil, Gas and Mining Revenues from the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA).

    Mr. Andoh’s employment record includes working for The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (2003–2006), The Centre for African Wetlands, University of Ghana (2007–2009), Parliamentary Centre, African Office (2009) and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Soil Research Institute on the Export, Quality, Marketing and Awareness Project (2009–2010).

    Mr. Andoh has contributed significantly to the development and publication of several environment related policies in Ghana and Africa.


    Ms. Eugina K. Aggrey joined UNU-INRA in October of 1998 as a Bilingual Secretary. Previously, she served in the Ghanaian Foreign Service and was posted to serve in the Embassy of Ghana in Dakar, Senegal. She later moved on to the UNESCO Regional Office for Education in Africa located in Dakar, Senegal where she worked as a Bilingual Secretary. Ms. Aggrey has also previously worked as Secretary to the Cultural Affairs Officer at the United States Information Service in Accra, Ghana. From there, she moved on to the West African Examinations Council where she was the Private Secretary to the Head of National Office, and later to the Registrar to Council.  She holds a Private Secretary certificate from the Government Secretarial School, Bilingual Secretary from the Alliance Francaise and Certificate in Administration and Management from the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA).


    United Nations University
    Institute for Natural Resources in Africa

    International House
    Annie Jiage Road
    University of Ghana, Legon Campus
    Accra, Ghana.

    T: +233-302-500396
    F: +233-302- 500792
    E-mail: inra@unu.edu

  • UNU-INRA 2012/2013 Seminar Series

    Resolving Forestry Institutional Impediments (2.8 MB PDF) Presentation on the Role of ISFM (2.4 MB PDF) Theoretical Underpinnings of the Contingent Valuation Method (CVM) (936.3 kB PDF) Indigenous Technologies Utilized (5.3 MB PDF)

    INRA Strategic Plan 2011 2014

    INRA Strategic Plan 2011 2014 (2.8 MB PDF)

    International Conference on Sustainable Development of Natural Resources in Africa 2011 - Presentations & Speeches

    ICSDNRA 2011 Ansa Combined Systems (1.9 MB PDF) ICSDNRA 2011 Green Economy in the Context of Africa (1.3 MB PDF) ICSDNRA 2011 mapping the nexus between the green economy agenda (971.4 kB PDF) ICSDNRA 2011 Anne-Marie Izac (2.1 MB PDF) ICSDNRA 2011 Max Bond Session 4 UNU INRA 25th anniversary (135.3 kB PDF) ICSDNRA 2011 Cameroun (1.3 MB PDF) ICSDNRA 2011 Carlo Merla UNU INRA December 2011 (432.3 kB PDF) ICSDNRA 2011 Cote d'ivoire (326.9 kB PDF) ICSDNRA 2011 Director Conference Synthesis (220.5 kB PDF) ICSDNRA 2011 Review of UNU INRA Activities Dr. Ayuk (4.0 MB PDF) ICSDNRA 2011 Mining in Guyana Dr. Bynoe (1.9 MB PDF) ICSDNRA 2011 Dr. darimani (378.2 kB PDF) ICSDNRA 2011 Keynote Speech by Rep. MoE (193.7 kB PDF) ICSDNRA 2011 Social Policy and Mining Afiba (2.5 MB PDF) ICSDNRA 2011 oladeleunughana (300.2 kB PDF) ICSDNRA 2011 Rectors Speech (480.3 kB PDF) ICSDNRA 2011 UNU INRA OU SENEGAL (2.0 MB PDF) ICSDNRA 2011 Institutions, Actors and Natural Resource (592.3 kB PDF) ICSDNRA 2011 UNU INRA OU ZAMBIA (990.0 kB PDF) ICSDNRA 2011 Extractive Governance (1.9 MB PDF) ICSDNRA 2011 Silvestri Ghana (2.0 MB PDF) ICSDNRA 2011 Fomba Ecopreneur (795.6 kB PDF) ICSDNRA 2011 Political Economy of GG in Southern Africa (734.8 kB PDF) ICSDNRA 2011 UNU DPC (4.8 MB PDF) ICSDNRA 2011 UNU EHS (1.1 MB PDF) ICSDNRA 2011 ORGANIC BENCHMARK (2.6 MB PDF) ICSDNRA 2011 CECAR AFRICA (2.2 MB PDF) ICSDNRA 2011 UNU IIGH (6.2 MB PDF) ICSDNRA 2011 Green Economy and Agric Sector (320.8 kB PDF) ICSDNRA 2011 Overview of Activities UNU OU Namibia (2.1 MB PDF) ICSDNRA Report Session 1 (1.0 MB PDF) ICSDNRA 2011 Report Session 6 (799.6 kB PDF) ICSDNRA 2011 Report Session 7 (1,007.9 kB PDF) ICSDNRA 2011 Report Session 5 (809.2 kB PDF) ICSDNRA 2011 LIST OF PARTICIPANTS 2011 (126.9 kB PDF) ICSDNRA 2011 CONFERENCE PROGRAMME (476.1 kB PDF)


    ICSDNRA 2011 UNU INRA OU ZAMBIA (2.0 MB PDF) ICSDNRA 2011 SENEGAL (147.9 kB PDF) ICSDNRA 2011 UNU INRA OU Namibia (926.6 kB PDF) ICSDNRA 2011 Djezou W.A (517.3 kB PDF) ICSDNRA 2011 Alemayehu Hailemicael Ghana (2.5 MB PDF) ICSDNRA 2011 Ajetomobi J.O (4.1 MB PDF) ICSDNRA 2011 Agodzo UNU (905.6 kB PDF) ICSDNRA 2011 Adeniji Oloukoi (518.5 kB PDF) ICSDNRA 2011 Adebooye (254.0 kB PDF) ICSDNRA 2011 Land Deals (167.2 kB PDF) ICSDNRA 2011 Role of traditional (380.5 kB PDF) ICSDNRA 2011 Molua (284.7 kB PDF) ICSDNRA Poster Jonathan Quartey (359.2 kB PDF) ICSDNRA 2011 Poster Deforestation Ivory Coast (222.0 kB PDF) ICSDNRA 2011 Poster Assoua Joe (551.2 kB PDF)

    Presentations: Visiting Scholars Programme 2011

    Historical Prespective of WRM in Botswana (883.9 kB PDF) BIOMODEL NIGER (1.4 MB PDF) APSIM and Maize Yields in Ejura (840.9 kB PDF) SODEFOR and JMP Peasant Infiltration (1.7 MB PDF) Research Report: Hydrological Prespective Botswana (472.8 kB PDF) Research Report Modeling agronomic and economic flux (975.0 kB PDF) Research Report: Climate Change Impact on Maize Yields (1.5 MB PDF) Research Report: Community Forest Management CI (10.8 MB PDF)

    Older Publications

    List of UNU-INRA Publications Catalogued as of 3 March 2011 (34.3 kB PDF) Report On Unu-inra And Glowa Volta Training Workshop (1.3 MB PDF) The Economic Determinants of Poverty: Land Degradation Linkages (65.6 kB PDF)