It is a real honour and great pleasure to share the news of my appointment as the new Director of AU-IBAR. I want to express my thanks, in the first place, to the leadership of the African Union Commission for the chance to lead AU-IBAR and to assure that the contribution of Animal Resources will further benefit the development and wellbeing of Africa and its people. Given the economic and cultural importance of livestock for the continent, this represents indeed a very important responsibility.
Leading an organisation with a history of so many outstanding achievements is, without any doubt, a challenge of the highest order. AU-IBAR owes a lot to my predecessors; they have built a stable and solid organisation, making it an important contributor to African development. I hope to continue the excellent work of the past with the same vigour and insights in IBAR's mandate of my predecessors. I will draw on their experience whenever I have the chance.
I also recognise the importance of the many IBAR partners, the RECs as our direct partners in African development and the veterinary services on the continent, which, I hope, will continue to share their knowledge and insights as they have done in the past. Our cooperation has gone from strength to strength and I promise that I will do everything possible to continue this positive trend.
The donors, and specifically the European Commission, who has been a reliable partner for the last 45 years, USAID, the United Nations and our bilateral supporters have been instrumental in making AU-IBAR the institution it is today. Without their continued support AU-IBAR would not have advanced as it did. In the new environment of international cooperation, I guarantee you that IBAR will play its role as a reliable partner, eager to take up the leading role you expect us to play.
I also look forward to further strengthen the relationships with our technical partners OIE, FAO, the World Bank, WTO, ILRI and many others. I am sure that our long-term cooperation will continue to flourish and that we, from the strength of our respective mandates, will enhance the contribution of animal resources to the economy of the continent. I look enthusiastically forward to deepen our cooperation in the ALive platform and the Regional Animal Health Centres and to strengthen our cooperation to facilitate trade within Africa and between Africa and the rest of the world.
AU-IBAR's role and challenges for the future continue to grow; climate change and its dire consequences for our vulnerable populations, the food crisis putting a lot of pressure on the continent's poor and enhancing Africa's role in international trade are just a few of the challenges ahead. However, with the excellent team at my disposal, I am confident that IBAR will only increase its role to overcome the challenges and turn some of them into opportunities for a more prosperous future for the continent.
I humbly ask all of you to continue your relationship with IBAR as only strong partnerships and hard work will guide us towards achieving our goals.