Operating Units

Cote D'ivoire
  • The Operating Units (OU) concept was part of the original proposal for setting up UNU-INRA. The OU modality provides UNU-INRA with an effective mechanism for spreading out its work in Africa. It helps UNU-INRA to identify national competencies that serve regional research and training needs, harness limited financial and human resources of African nations, and enhance UNU-INRA’s capacity to effectively network African institutions.

    The OU modality provides avenues to mobilize funds from the local host governments for a “joint program” of activities between the main partner local University/Centre and UNU-INRA. An important benefit of this collaboration is the capacity for joint search for additional funding.

    Additionally, the OU concept provides an effective mechanism for identifying, attracting, harnessing and networking Africans, within and outside the continent, whose expertise or skills are directly relevant to the specific research and training programmes of the OU.

    Currently UNU-INRA has established five Operating Units in Africa, namely

    • Operating Unit Zambia (Mineral Resources Unit – (MRU), School of Mines , University of Zambia ) ,
    • Operating Unit Namibia ( Sam Nujoma Marine and Coastal Resources Centre (SANUMARC), University of Namibia),
    • Operating Unit Ivory Coast (Ivorian Center for Social and Economic Research (CIRES), University of Cocody)
    • Operating Unit Cameroon, (Department of Computer Science, University of Yaoundé I)
    • Operating Unit Senegal (Institute of Food Technology (ITA), Ministry of Mines and Industry )
  • Department of Computer Science of the University of Yaoundé I, Cameroon

    Since 1998 UNU-INRA and the University of Yaoundé I have collaborated to offer specialized short-courses in Computer Applications for Resource Management. In December, 2002 the Government of Cameroon and the UNU-INRA signed a Memorandum of Understanding to establish this Operating Unit. The operating unit is hosted at the computer department of the University of Yaoundé I.

    The operating unit has since 2003 been running a bi-annual training of trainer course in the use of computer tools for the management of natural resources and environment. This project is seeking to build capacity in Cameroon and other African countries to promote the use of computer technology for natural resources and environmental management

    The Operating Unit in Cameroon is coordinated by Prof. Laure Pauline Fotso. She is also a Vice Rector at the University of Dschang.


    Contact information

    The Coordinator
    University of Yaoundé I
    PO Box 337
    Yaoundé Center

  • Ivorian Center for Social and Economic Research (CIRES) of the University of Cocody in Abidjan, Ivory Coast

    The Ivorian Center of Economics and Social Sciences (CIRES) is an autonomous research centre at the University of Cocody. CIRES is mandated to undertake socio-economic research to guide policy making in la Côte d’Ivoire and the entire sub-region.

    In August 2003, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the government of Côte d’Ivoire and the UNU to designate CIRES as UNU-INRA-Operating Unit on socio-economic analysis of natural resources management to be based at the University of Cocody in Côte d’Ivoire. The Unit became operational in 2004. The core mission of the Operating Unit is to increase the understanding of the socio-economic aspects of natural resource exploitation and management, biotechnology, food security and poverty mitigation.

    In line with the UNU-INRA strategic plan 2011-2014, the operating unit is currently working on the following two projects:

    • Dynamics of land practices and sustainable management of protected areas in the eastern region of Côte d’Ivoire
    • Green economy: strategy for job creation in Côte d’Ivoire

    Dr Binate Fofana Namizata, a lecturer at the University of Cocody, Abidjan is the coordinator of the operating Unit.


    Contact Information

    Centre Ivoirien de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (CIRES)
    08 B.P. 1295 Abidjan 08;
    Abidjan Cocody , Boulevard Latrille,
    près du Lycée Classique d’Abidjan.

    Tel: +225 22-44-89-42 or 22-44-43-63
    Fax: +225 22-44-08-29.

  • Sam Nujoma Marine and Coastal Resources Centre (SANUMARC) of the University of Namibia in Henties Bay, Namibia

    Sam Nujoma Marine and Coastal Resources Research Centre was established in 2001 to promote research and development activities in the field of marine and coastal resources, taking into consideration the unique comparative and competitive advantage of the Benguela cold current ecosystem. It has state of the art research equipments for marine and coastal research.

    UNU-INRA in an MOU with the Namibian government conferred operating unit status on the Centre. The research and training activities of the operating unit are centered on marine and coastal resources utilization and development.

    Following initial research on mushroom cultivation in coastal zones, the Operating Unit is transferring the knowledge to relevant government agencies and rural communities in Namibia as a livelihood option. Ongoing research work at the Unit include:

    • Identification of indigenous edible mushroom from the Kavango region and domestication of selected species.
    • Determination of optimum ratio of seaweed Laminaria pallida to grass in cultivation of oyster mushroom, Pleorotus ostreatus

    SANUMARC is the African coordinating unit of the German BMBF SPACES (Science Partnerships for the Assessment of Complex Earth System Processes) Project which is examining the influence of the Benguela upwelling system in the prediction of global climate change.

    The Operating Unit is headed by Prof. Edosa Omoregie who is the Director of Sam Nujoma Marine and Coastal Resources Centre.


    Contact information:

    PO Box 462,
    Henties Bay, Namibia
    Tel: +264 – 64 – 502 600
    Fax: +264 – 64 – 502 608

  • Institute of Food Technology (ITA), Ministry of Mines and Industry in Dakar, Senegal

    The Institute of Food Technology (ITA) was established in 1963 by Law 63-11 of February 5th 1963. It is mandated to train, research and ensure technology transfer, quality control, production management, financial management and commercial management in the areas of food and nutrition. The research activities of ITA focus on food processing, development and packaging. In addition, ITA is also involved in design and developing equipment to improve production performances and conditions of micro enterprises, small and medium enterprises. Important works have been done on cereals and leguminous plants, fruits and vegetables, fishing products, dairy and meat products.

    Discussions are on-going with Ministry of Mines and Industry of Senegal to formalize the operations of ITA as an operating unit of UNU-INRA

    The operating unit is working on comestible mushroom culture development in the North of Senegal. The project is exploiting methods of cultivation and conservation of edible mushrooms and the utilization of residue substrates (eg.Biofertilisant) to enhance agricultural productivity.  The results from the research work on mushrooms are enriching inputs to mushroom cultivation training organized at the Centre (Kaolack) and in Southern Senegal (Casamance).

    Training course includes:

    • Introduction to edible mushrooms
    • Raw material for mushroom cultivation
    • Substrate preparation for fruiting body

    The institute is headed by Dr Ababacar Sadikh Ndoye who is the coordinator of the UNU-INRA operating unit.


    Contact informations

    Institut de Technologie Alimentaire (ITA)
    Route des Pères Maristes, Hann. BP 2765 Dakar-Sénégal
    Tel: +221 – 33 – 859 07 07
    Fax: +221 – 33 – 832 82 95
    URL: www.ita.sn

  • Mineral Resources Unit (MRU), School of Mines of the University of Zambia in Lusaka, Zambia

    The United Nations University Institute for Natural Resources in Africa’s Mineral Resources Unit (UNU/INRA-MRU) was the first Operating Unit (OU) of UNU-INRA to be established through an MoU signed between the Government of the Republic of Zambia (GRZ)  and UNU in 1985. The MRU is hosted at the School of Mines, University of Zambia. The mandate of MRU is to pursue project activities that are directed at developing capacities in Africa to harness mineral endowment utilization for sustained economic growth through professional manpower development in technological, managerial, related research and development work, policy studies and information services.

    The operating unit is currently engaged in the re-examination of phosphates and liming potential of the Nkombwa Hill rock assemblages with the view of establishing the economic viability of this deposit. Apart from the phosphate and liming potentials, a number of rare earth elements (such as La, Ce, Pr and Nd) have been identified at Nkombwa hill. An accurate study and evaluation of these more valuable minerals may render Rare Earth Elements (REE) the main resource at this deposit with phosphates and liming materials as by-products. The MRU is also participating in the Education for Sustainable Development in Africa (ESDA) project which aims at promoting education (at graduate level) for sustainable development in Africa.

    Prof S. Simukanga is the Coordinator the Operating Unit and the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Zambia.


    Contact information

    UNU/INRA – Mineral Resources Unit,
    School of Mines,
    University Of Zambia,
    P O Box 32379,
    Lusaka 10101, Zambia.

    Tel: +260-211-290746
    Fax: +260-211-290057
    Mobile: +260-977-740065