The OCP Foundation has established constructive and promising milestones in social innovation and Research and Development to address the social, economic and environmental challenges facing the continent, especially in the agriculture and agro-industrial sectors. A look at the recent initiatives and achievements of this key player in African socio-economic progress.

Social innovation

Innovation is one of the pillars of sustainable and social development. Thus, the OCP Foundation develops, supports and integrates innovative solutions to address the social, economic and environmental expectations of the continent. Driven by three main missions: empowerment, incubation and knowledge management, it is based on the Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE) as a tool to promote the economic inclusion of communities and develop sustainable social entrepreneurship project models. In practice, the Foundation has supported more than 800 cooperatives throughout Morocco in collaboration with Cooplab, through various support programs such as “Jil lmoutadamine”, which benefits young cooperative entrepreneurs, “Lala Al mouataaouina”, which supports social enterprises led by women, or “Mourafaka”, aimed at recently created cooperatives. The Foundation also contributes to energizing the SSE sector by supporting the participation of cooperatives in national or international fairs, as well as co-organizing events such as the African Forum of Cooperatives.

The ESS at the service of agriculture

Activating the virtuous mechanisms of the Social and Solidarity Economy is relevant in the agricultural sector. The OCP Foundation's action focuses on the needs of small farmers and local communities, emphasizing environmentally friendly practices, resilience to climate change and improving the living conditions of farmers. In this way, the OCP Foundation encourages the grouping of farmers to optimize their activities, stimulate the development of their skills and allow them to have greater negotiating capacity in the markets. In addition, the Foundation actively works on the creation and promotion of short circuits to bring producers closer to consumers, as well as improving their access to new solidarity markets. More than 460 Moroccan cooperatives in the agricultural and agri-food sector have benefited from these actions.

Investigation and development

Every day, the OCP Foundation and UM6P carry out joint initiatives to promote innovation, research and development. Thanks to the commitment and knowledge in the field of the Foundation, as well as the academic and technical experience of the University, both partners combine their efforts with other actors to contribute to the scientific advancement of Morocco and the continent. The Foundation's R&D objectives are varied, from the development of an innovative model of technical, scientific, administrative and financial management of research funds, to the expansion of the R&D network of the Moroccan ecosystem and African and expert networks, through the promotion of research and technological transfer, as well as innovation at the national and continental level. 19 funds have been created in collaboration with institutions in Morocco and Africa that have carried out 209 research and technology transfer projects.

Promoting the feminization of agricultural R&D

The OCP Foundation considers the representation and inclusion of women in agricultural research in Morocco and sub-Saharan Africa a priority, especially in strategic functions. Therefore, in 2019, in collaboration with the Women for Africa Foundation and the UM6P, the FUERTES (Femmes Unies Ensemble pour la Recherche, la Technologie, l'Environnement et la Science) program was created. The program aims to improve agricultural research in Senegal through the training of women researchers and doctoral students specialized in sustainable agriculture. It aims to strengthen the academic and leadership skills of the women beneficiaries.

In the field of artificial intelligence, the “Women in Tech and AI” initiative was launched in Africa in collaboration with the AI Mouvement of the UM6P, aimed at women interested in technological innovation and artificial intelligence, especially in the agricultural sector. The objective is to promote technological development based on AI and adapted to African realities.

Article source: jeune Afrique