Prof. Moses Moroe Zinnah, Ph.D. a distinguished Liberian agricultural and rural development expert recently appointed as Vice President for Academic Affairs at the University of Liberia (UL) by its President Rev. Dr. Julius Sarwolo Nelson, comes to the job as a high-profile public servant and a successful professional teacher and researcher serving both at home and abroad.
He holds a B.Sc. degree in General Agriculture from the University of Liberia, and M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Agricultural and Extension Education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA.
Prof. Zinnah who worked during the administration of former President Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf as the Minister of Agriculture from September 2015 to May 2017, began his higher education teaching career as a Teaching Assistant in 1981 in the William Richard Tolbert Jr. College of Agriculture and Forestry at the University of Liberia; and his successful professional teaching, research and public service journey from 1981 to date.
He comes with more than 30 years of extensive professional experience in working with teams and individuals in varied institutional settings of national and international non-governmental organizations, Ministry of Agriculture, research institutes, private service providers, and universities and colleges in Liberia, Benin, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda, and USA.
He began his teaching career at the University of Liberia as a Teaching Assistant in 1981 in the William Richard Tolbert, Jr. College of Agriculture and Forestry and has taught and supervised hundreds of undergraduate students and supervised theses of over 20 Master’s and 4 Ph.D. students at highly ranked universities in Africa and the USA.
Highly-ranked universities in which Prof. Zinnah has taught hundreds of undergraduate students and supervised theses of over 20 Master’s and 4 Ph.D. students include University of Cape Coast and Kwadaso Agricultural College in Ghana, Ahmadu Bello University and Bayero University in Nigeria, University of Abomey-Calavi in the Republic of Benin, Polytechnic University of Bobo-Dioulasso in Burkina Faso, Haramaya University in Ethiopia, and the University of Wisconsin in Madison, USA.
Prior to his appointment to the position of Vice President for Academic Affairs at the University of Liberia, Prof. Zinnah served as the Dean of the William R. Tolbert, Jr. College of Agriculture and Forestry from July 2017 to December 2019.
From July 1, 2017, up to the time of his appointment as UL Vice President for Academic Affairs, Prof. Zinnah served as Dean for the College of Agriculture and Forestry, the University of Liberia with major responsibilities including supervising teaching and research, including efficient and effective development and implementation of high-quality curricula.
The new UL Vice President for Academic Affairs served on high-level teams of Government of Liberia as Minister of Agriculture of the Republic of Liberia and provided leadership in the preparation and successful negotiations of numerous bilateral and donor-funded agricultural development projects that are being funded by USAID, European Union, FAO, WFP, African Development, Bank, World Bank/IDA, International Fund for Agricultural Development, Japanese Trust Fund, Global Environmental Fund, and the United Nations Development Program.
In his role as the Minister of Agriculture from September 2015 to May 2017, Prof. Zinnah provided leadership for overall management of the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) to ensure food and nutrition security in Liberia through the activities of the four major departments of the Ministry, including Administration, Planning and Development, Regional Development Extension and Research, and Technical Services.
He has also facilitated the establishment of the Program Management Unit (PMU) in the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) that supervises the management and implementation of all donor-funded agricultural development projects in the Ministry of Agriculture.
In this role, his major responsibilities and achievements included managing and coordinating several donor-funded agricultural development projects in the Ministry of Agriculture; supervising over 30 national and international professional staff in the PMU, including Financial Management Specialist, Accountants, Procurement Specialists, M&E Officers, Irrigation/Rural Infrastructural Engineering Specialists, Gender and Community Development Specialist and Agronomists, among others, to ensure project objectives and targets are achieved.
Prof. Zinnah has published over 30 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters, and he has also made numerous invited presentations at national, regional and international conferences based on his wealth of professional knowledge and experience. Due to his outstanding professional work, in 2003 he was awarded the Outstanding Young Professional Award by the Association for International Agricultural and Extension Association (AIAEE).
He is also a recipient of many professional awards including the Rockefeller Foundation African Dissertation Award, Rockefeller Foundation African Career Award, World Bank Fellowship Certificate of Achievement by The Nippon Foundation Group in Japan, and the prestigious Fulbright Fellowship.
Additionally, Prof. Zinnah has provided consultancy services for many international organizations, including United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), African Development Bank (AfDB), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), and Opportunities Industrialization Centers International (OICT)-Ghana.
In more contributions to international organizations, Prof. Zinnah has served as the West Africa Regional Coordinator of Sasakawa Africa Fund for Extension Education (SAFE) set up by Winrock International and Sasakawa Africa Association (SAA) to catalyze the reform of higher agricultural education institutions; to enable them to develop and implement demand-driven agricultural extension programs for mid-career agricultural extension staff that work directly with smallholder farm families to improve their livelihoods. The SAFE project has been successfully scaled up from 1 pilot project in Ghana in 1993 to over 20 projects in 2019 spread across 9 African countries.
Prof. Zinnah currently represents the West Africa region on the Board of the African Forum for Agricultural Advisory Services (AFAAS), a continental institution that is strengthening the capacity of African countries to formulate and implement agricultural extension and advisory services policies and strategies at country level to enhance demand-driven and pluralistic public-private provisions of agricultural extension and advisory services.