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Photo of Hamidou Boly

Hamidou Boly

Director, TEAM-Africa

Burkina Faso

What most impressed the professional colleagues who nominated this role model?

Hamidou Boly is a distinguished agricultural researcher, educator and institution builder.  While working as Director General of Burkina’s national agricultural research institute, INERA, Hamidou worked skillfully with scientists and government to test and develop protocols for releasing genetically modified organisms such as Bt cotton, a technology that Burkinabe researchers found can boost productivity and raise farmers’ income in cotton. Today, Burkina Faso is the second country after South Africa in the commercialization of Bt cotton.

 Later, as president of the Université technique de Bobo Dioulasso, he established a strong program of applied teaching and research.  The management and institution-building skills he honed at home in Burkina Faso, have enabled him to lead the World Bank’s TEAM-Africa program, and Africa-wide effort to improve higher education in agriculture across Africa. 

What motivated you to pursue a career in agriculture?

  • I felt a moral obligation to repay my country and society for the scholarship I received to finance my university and post-graduate studies. 
  • I spent my early years on the faculty at IER focusing on extension work.  This helped me to develop a deep understanding of farmer conditions, constraints and prospects for improvement.  This close interaction with farmers provided strong motivation for me to continue working in agriculture. 

How can agricultural education institutions more effectively prepare African students for successful agribusiness careers? 

  • Increase student and faculty time devoted to practical work (travaux pratiques) in research and extension.  Note that this may require a change in AET incentive systems. 
  • Make new learning technologies available to students, for example, internet, ICT, e-learning and molecular biology. 

Career highlights

  • TEAM-Africa Coordinator, 2012 to date.
  • Président of the Université polytechnique de Bobo-Dioulasso, 2007 – 2011.
  • Director General of National Agricultural Research Service of Burkina (Institut national d’economie rurale et de l’agriculture, INERA), 2002 - 2006.
  • Faculty member at Institut de Développement Rural (IDR), 1991-93.

Educational background

  • Primary school:             Public elementary school, Ouagadougou.
  • Secondary school:         Public secondary school, Ouagadougou.
  • University:                  
    •  Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, Université de Dakar (Cheik Anton Diop).
    •  Ph.D., Université Paris 6 (Marie et Pierre Curie).