Center for German and European Studies

The Climate and Biodiversity Crisis in Africa’s Savanna

Thursday, October 28, 2021
12-1:30pm Eastern Time (US) / 6-7:30pm German time
Zoom Webinar


You can watch a recording of the complete event by clicking the button above.

About the Event

annual bush fire in the savannaA new DAAD-supported Global Climate and Environment Center has begun its work this year at the Universities of Nairobi, Kenya and Université Félix Houphouët-Boigny in Côte d’Ivoire, in partnership with the University of Cologne and coordinated by the University of Bonn, both Germany. Climate change and the loss of biodiversity are threatening Africa’s sustainable development. The vast African savanna systems have largely been converted into managed landscapes, including agricultural and settlement areas. Yet they are very rich in biodiversity and provide indispensable ecosystem services, and at the same time, the savannas are the “breadbasket” of the continent providing 70% of Africa's cropland, 66% of cereal production and 80% of livestock farming. To develop both social-ecological resilience and human capacities and to facilitate knowledge exchange across sectors and disciplines to overcome the barriers for implementation of innovative approaches on climate change adaptation and biodiversity conservation stronger linkages at the interfaces between science and policy, science and practice as well as policy and practice are needed. The newly founded African Climate and Environment Center - Future African Savannas (AFAS –, part of DAAD’s Global Climate and Environment Centre initiative will try to address these challenges, with a particular focus on a nature-based solutions approach. 

dryland cultivation in KenyaAFAS is a collaboration between the Université Félix Houphouët-Boigny (UFHB) with its African Centre of Excellence on Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Agriculture (CEA-CCBAD) in Côte d’Ivoire and the University of Nairobi (UoN) with its Institute for Climate Change and Adaptation (ICCA) in Kenya, The Global South Studies Centre (GSSC) of the University of Cologne and is coordinated by the University of Bonn’s Center for Development Research (ZEF).

Photos: (1) Annual savanna bush fire in central Côte d'Ivoire, (2) Dryland cultivation in Baringo, Kenya. Credits: Christian Borgemeister

About the Speakers

Christian BorgemeisterProfessor Christian Borgemeister obtained his PhD in Horticulture from Leibniz Hannover University (LUH) in 1991. He lectured at LUH before embarking on a research career in Africa in 1992. Until the end of 1997 he worked at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Benin, West Africa, first as a Postdoctoral Fellow, then as an Associate and finally as a Senior Scientist coordinating a multi-country program on the integrated control of an invasive stored-product pest. He returned to Germany in 1998 working as an Assistant, then Associate and since 2003 as a Full Professor for Applied Entomology at LUH. From 2000–2001, he was also a Visiting Professor for Applied Zoology at the Justus-Liebig-University Giessen, Germany. From 2005 to 2013 he was the Director General of icipe, the International Centre of Insect Physiology (, a Nairobi, Kenya headquartered pan-African R&D Centre. In October 2013 he was appointed Full Professor at the University of Bonn as Head of the Department for Ecology and Natural Resources Management of ZEF, the Centre of Development Research ( Since January 2015 he is the Managing Director of ZEF.

Borgemeister is a Fellow of the African Academy of Sciences, the Royal Entomological Society, the Entomological Society of America, Member of the Council of the International Congress of Entomology and from May 2020 onwards Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA). He has been the recipient of the 2011 International Plant Protection Award of Distinction of the International Association for the Plant Protection Sciences (IAPPS), and the 2015 Distinguished Scientist Award of the International Branch of the Entomological Society of America (ESA). Borgemeister was for over 8 years Chief Editor of the International Journal of Tropical Insect Science (published by Cambridge University Press).

Souleymane KonatéSouleymane Konaté is full professor in ecology at the University Felix Houphouët-Boigny in Côte d’Ivoire. He is the director of the Laboratory of Ecology and Sustainable Development of the University Nangui Abrogoua, and the director of the African Center of Excellence WASCAL/CCBAD on climate change and biodiversity of the University Félix Houphouët-Boigny (Côte d’Ivoire). He is curently member of the Academic Council, and invited professor of the international University Senghor of Alexandria in Egypt and external member of the Academy of Agriculture of France. He has published more than 70 papers and 20 book chapters, mainly on tropical ecology and biodiversity. He is currently the General Director of Research and Innovation, at the Ministry of Higher Education and Innovation of Côte d’Ivoire.

Souleymane Konaté is the main coordinator of the AFAS Project in Côte d’Ivoire.