By 11:00am on 16th September 2016, the usually silent Senior Common Room in the Main Administration Building was abuzz with activity as Staff and Students of Makerere took up every available seat, expectantly awaiting the start of the Public Lecture. As part of activities to mark the Climate Diplomacy Week, the EU Delegation in Uganda in partnership with the Makerere University Centre for Climate Change Research and Innovation (MUCCRI) organized a Public Lecture aimed at raising climate change awareness among University students.
The Moderator of the event and Acting Director MUCCRI, Dr. Revocatus Twinomuhangi thanked his audience for keeping time and introduced the day’s theme “Innovative and effective approaches to climate change adaptation in Uganda”. He noted that Makerere University is engaged in a number of activities such as teaching, curriculum review and outreaches, all aimed at highlighting the impact of climate change and the appropriate adaptation strategies that can be adopted.
The Public Lecture was jointly presided over by H.E. Ambassador Kristian Schmidt, Head of the EU Delegation in Uganda and Alhaji Momodou Jallow, FAO Country Representative. In his opening remarks, Prof. Bernard Bashaasha, Principal, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) thanked the EU Delegation in Uganda for choosing Makerere to host the all important Public Lecture. He noted that bringing students on board is the right thing to do and urged the students present to work together with today’s researchers to build rather than destroy their future.
Prof. Edward Kirumira is no stranger to the Climate Change Adaptation debate. The Principal of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS) is also the Academic Coordinator for the Makerere-University of Bergen collaboration and as such, played a key role in organizing the first EA Norway Climate and Business Conference. The outcome of this conference was a Communique to COP21 on Climate Change and Opportunities for Sustainable Business. Representing the Vice Chancellor, Prof. John Ddumba-Ssentamu, Prof. Kirumira noted that climate adaptation is a multidisciplinary, multifaceted, multi sector undertaking that calls for concerted effort to accomplish.
“Issues of climate change and climate adaptation are part and parcel of the curriculum review process that the University is undertaking now. This Public Dialogue comes at a very opportune time to make sure that climate change issues are on the agenda of curriculum review” said Prof. Kirumira
He urged the students to listen attentively and thereafter, actively participate in the discussions so as to guarantee themselves internship and possibly employment positions. He observed that the public lecture had in addition to the EU Head of Delegation and FAO Country representative attracted some of the most important parties in the climate change circles, all of whom presented very good future prospects for students.
“It is indeed important to have the academia, training and research institutions on board to contribute knowledge and information in addressing the climate change challenge. This forum is therefore timely and significant, and similar forums should be organised” remarked Alhaji Jallow, the FAO Country Representative in his keynote address. He noted that FAO is already working with MUCCRI on a project aimed at enhancing Knowledge Management and Communication Systems for climate change adaptation. The project is being carried out in six out of twenty nine Districts of Uganda’s cattle corridor. These six Districts are Sembabule, Luweero, Nakaseke, Nakasongola, Mubende and Kiboga.
Alhaji Jallow hoped that the Public Lecture would identify priority areas that need concerted effort in contributing knowledge, information and technologies for building resilience to climate change challenges. “Resilience to climate change will surely maintain food and nutrition security for all and sustain development themes” he said.
H.E. Ambassador Kristian Schmidt is a lively speaker who likes to engage his audience. Noting that his speech had a number of acronyms, the Ambassador occasionally paused whenever he met one and asked the students to give him the full version, and none disappointed. He noted that Uganda had the best climate in the world and it would be a pity if this enviable fact were to change.
“You the youth are well-placed and crucial in society in addressing and also living with the consequences of climate change” said Ambassador Schmidt. He commended the Ministry of Water and Environment (MWE) for spearheading efforts that led to Uganda playing a very constructive role at COP21 (Congress of Parties 21). COP21 was the 2015 Paris Climate Conference aimed at achieving a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, with the aim of keeping global warming below 2°C.
“Climate Diplomacy is about countries working together to agree on burden sharing and collective action, when acting alone will not solve the problems that we face… It is about countries saying ‘we all have to do our share’ and then committing to doing it together” Ambassador Schmidt explained. He therefore urged Uganda to press on and ratify the COP21 Agreement as this will pile pressure on emitting countries to do the same.
Ambassador Schmidt then shared four examples of the EU Delegation in Uganda’s Green Projects that other parties could borrow a leaf from. These include: the Sawlog Production Grant Scheme III (SPGS III) for Commercial Agroforestry; Green Transport to support multimodal transportation; the Largest On-grid Solar Energy Plant in East Africa currently under construction in Soroti and working with KCCA (Kampala Capital City Authority) on its Climate Change Action Strategy to address congestion.
Following the Ambassador’s presentation, the day’s discussion would have been incomplete without expert opinions on the four themes of: climate change policy and practice in Uganda; the role of education in addressing climate change; climate change and the youth; and climate change and gender. The Moderator, Dr. Revocatus Twinomuhangi then invited the day’s panelists who included Mr. Bob Natifu-Climate Change Department (CCD)-MWE and Prof. John Baptist Kaddu-Lead Government of Uganda Negotiator for COP to share their views. Others included Mr. Sadam Kiwanuka-President Makerere University Climate Change Association, Ms. Catherine Mulinde-PhD Candidate on Climate Change Adaptation and Dr. May Sengendo-School of Women and Gender Studies, CHUSS
At the conclusion of the open discussion, Hon. Chebet Maikut, the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) National Focal Point and Coordinator, CCD-MWE commended the audience for being keen listeners and active discussants.
“The Youth have a daunting responsibility, more so in our National circumstances where Uganda’s economy is predominantly based on our natural resources… Our natural resources are under the biggest threat; they are bleeding! If we don’t do anything now, the future is very bleak” he warned.
Hon. Chebet Maikut nevertheless reiterated Government’s total commitment to addressing climate change as demonstrated by the various national policies and strategies in place. He then thanked the EU for their generous support to the Government’s Development programmes and negotiations at COP.
Article by Public Relations Office
The 19th RUFORUM AGM in Yaoundé calls for consolidated efforts towards transforming higher agricultural & tertiary education to contribute to sustainable development & food security in Africa
The Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM), a consortium of 163 universities in 40 African countries held its 19th Annual General Meeting at the Palais De Congres in Yaoundé, Cameroon from 28th October to 2nd November 2023. The first of its kind in West and Central Africa, the RUFORUM AGM 2023 provided an opportunity for over 600 delegates from Africa and beyond including; Ministers, Development Partners, University leaders, students, private sector leaders; farmers and farmer representatives; emerging and early career researchers as well as other key stakeholders in agriculture and higher education to share experiences and chart a way forward for transforming higher agricultural and tertiary education to contribute to sustainable development in Africa under the theme: Transforming Higher Education to Sustainably Feed and Create Prosperity for Africa.
Officially opened by His Excellency Paul Biya, President of the Republic of Cameroon, represented by Professor Jacques Fame Ndongo, Cameroon’s Minister of State, Minister of Higher Education, the 19th RUFORUM Annual General Meeting in Yaoundé provided a platform for participants to deliberate on key strategies for transforming higher agricultural and tertiary education to contribute to national, continental and global development as well as building consensus among key stakeholders in agriculture and higher education on the actions required to strengthen the role and/or integration of universities in agricultural and national development processes in line with the aspirations of the African Union Agenda 2063 ‘The Africa We Want’.
In a speech presented by Professor Jacques Fame Ndongo at the official opening ceremony, His Excellency Paul Biya, President of the Republic of Cameroon stressed RUFORUM’s significant efforts to support the African Union Agenda 2063 when he said, “RUFORUM’s vision 2030, makes the body a significant contributor to transformation of Africa and vehemently seeks to harness the discovery, engagements and learning of vibrant transformative universities to catalyze sustainable, inclusive agricultural development to feed and create prosperity for Africa.”
According to him, it is worth indicating that agriculture in Africa should be understood in its broadest sense to include but not limited to animal and crop production, livestock, wild life, fisheries and forestry. Hence RUFORUM’s mission since its inception in 2004, of strengthening the capacities of universities to foster innovation responsive to demands of small holder farmers through the training of higher quality researchers, the output of impact-oriented research and maintenance of collaborative working relations among researchers, farmers, national agricultural research institutions, the Private sector and government is worthy prioritizing.
He called upon participants to use the meeting forum to change the face and image of the African continent through constructive and fruitful deliberations on agricultural production, food safety research and better health food security. To him the RUFORUM AGM is a bigger opportunity to think and act, make proposals, formulate recommendations and necessary resolutions which if acted on can change the face of the African continent.
“This is the turning point for the African continent to think big and have the courage to dream big. This is our opportunity to make a difference in our world. This is the opportunity Africa needed to change the target of its demand of action. We have to mutualize and federate our actions and voices in the interest of a united, strong and prosperous Africa,” he said.
The 19th RUFORUM Annual General Meeting carried a unique vibrant turn as being the first to be held in West and Central Africa. The weeklong event broke the record as the most and well attended ever with over 600 participants across the region as well as international delegates. The colorful event was embroiled with informative, constructive, edutainment activities in form of pre-AGM events, side events, Business Meetings, capacity building and mentoring sessions, scientific conferences, poster sessions and exhibitions well aligned to key thematic areas as well as the AGM theme: Transforming Higher Education to Sustainably Feed and Create Prosperity for Africa.
Additionally, high-level policy dialogues with Ministers, Senior Government Leaders and Development Partners were held to review the finance and other resource mobilization strategies as well as following up on the actualization of the available national, regional and global policies geared towards higher education transformation and ensuring of food security in Africa.
Speaking at the Opening Ceremony, Prof. Theresia Nkuo-Akenji, the RUFORUM Board Chair and Vice Chancellor University of Bamenda thanked His Excellence Paul Biya and the Government of Cameroon for accepting to host the 19th RUFORUM Annual General Meeting and equally appreciated the financial support towards the same cause.
In a special way, Prof. Theresia Nkuo-Akenji thanked the Ministry of State for Higher education and all the sister ministries of Government of Cameroon that worked hard to see to it that the 19th RUFORUM AGM is a success. Equally, the Board Chair, extended her sincere gratitude to the people of Cameroon for the warm reception and support.
“My special tribute goes to the members of AGM 2023 Sub committees. You have indeed done a great job throughout the ten months of organizing this significant event. On behalf of RUFORUM Network, I thank you. To the RUFORUM Secretariat under the dynamic leadership of Prof. Patrick Okwori, accept our immense gratitude for your strong determination and dedication,” she gratefully said.
She recognized the tremendous achievements and developments aligned to RUFORUM’s nineteen years (19) of existence noting that the strong network has wisely selected its priority areas of focus to transform higher education and agricultural sector in Africa as;
- Reform the training agenda for Africa to meet the development needs
- Entrepreneurship and business incubation for wealth creation
- Research for Development and wealth creation
- Partnerships for scale and impact
“As African people, permit me to use the adage of a broom; it is easy to break a single broom piece but when you combine several small brooms together they then make a broom stack that will not be easy to break. The collective power that RUFORUM has put together through 163 universities from across 40 countries bears such strength. The Vice Chancellors gathered here today remain committed to the core values and foundations of the network. To illustrate this Your Excellency, each of the Vice Chancellors meet their own costs of participation.” She happy said.
In the same spirit the RUFORUM Executive Secretary Prof. Patrick Okori deeply thanked the host Universities that is, University of Bamenda, University of Ngaoundere, University of Dschang, University of Buea and University of Maroua under the strong and able leadership of the RUFORUM Board Chair, Prof. Theresia Nkuo-Akenji for successfully hosting the 19th RUFORUM Annual General Meeting.
He also recognized the Former Vice Chancellor of University of Ngaoundere Prof. Florence Uphie Chinje Melo who heavily supported the AGM preparations. He was astonished with the presence of the Africa Development Bank, MasterCard Foundation, research international communities, RUFORUM for Agricultural Research in Africa, the Africa Forum for Agricultural Advisory Services, sub regional Agricultural organizations such as the Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA), the Centre for Coordination of Agricultural Research and Development for Southern Africa (CCARDESA) and the West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development (CORAF).
“You have all provided support for this engagement, thank you very much. Together we will continue this journey of transforming Africa’s Agricultural and higher education to produce human resources and development solutions that Africa and indeed the world needs,” he said.
Reflecting on the AGM’s theme, Prof. Okori emphasized the need for Africa to become food secure when he said, “Africa must be an equal opportunity creator for the young generation, it must create wealth for its people and provide opportunities for the present and future and these are well summarized in agenda 2063. It is our collective duty therefore to turn these opportunities and actions into investment.”
According to him, the RUFORUM Network remains strong in building capacity and providing the necessary development solutions and opportunities. He noted that Africa generates about 10-12 million job entrants annually but the continent’s economy in its current configuration can only produce 3 million jobs. To him, for Africa to therefore reap from its demographic dividends, there is need to strengthen the paths to demographic transition of keeping young girls in school.
Prof. Okori also mentioned that RUFORUM is currently intensifying its inclusion and diversity targets. From 45%, the network has an ambitious target of at least 70%. “We must slow the rate at which girls give birth when young. It is the only way we are going to benefit from our population dividend,” he said.
According to him, the higher degree needs for Africa is pretty dire. The World Bank recommends 10,000 PhDs to Africa. This can be compared to India whose signal population of 1. 4 billion registers 24000 PhDs a year. The pressure therefore on Africa’s side to intensify graduate training is real.
“Our graduate training in sciences therefore is one of the drivers to achieve this and it is the immense reason as to why in this meeting we have social and development partners. We are launching a journey with the Africa Development Bank that will bring us together as apex organizations in Africa to work together and solve our own challenges. However, as we do all these, we need to celebrate Africa. We should be recognizing and celebrating people who made what Africa is today,” he said.
Africa is informed by a number of important mutually interacting factors that collectively, are affecting the growth and progress of the continent. The economic outlook of the African continent in 2023 by the African Development Bank and other global apex development financial institutions was positive. However, Africa’s economic growth has since then decelerated, and is now projected to be lower than the previously projected rate of 4.1%.
Agriculture a key sector, continues to be affected by both natural and human induced factors. It continues to face serious threats from climate. Studies by the United Nation’s Convention to Combat Desertification show that Africa accounts for 44% of severe droughts recorded globally in the last 50 years, causing economic losses of more than USD 70 billion. In 2022, an estimated loss of US$ 8.5 billion in economic damages was experienced due to climate change. Clearly, climate change and weather variability, remains one of the grand challenges of the 21st century for Africa and the World, because it affects key livelihood and strategic areas of emerging economies.
Unemployment facing Africa’s dominant demographic-the youth, raises questions about education, skilling and jobs creation while inclusion and diversity, the underpinning for an equal society, remains challenging. The question then to academia, researchers, development practitioners and policymakers is, “what step must we take right now to address the challenges to our current and future generations?”
“Our resounding response as RUFORUM is in line with what Malcolm X said many years ago, “Education and research for development are the passports to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today,” said Prof. Partick Okori.
According to the Deputy Minister for Education in Malawi, Her Excellence Mdooko Nancy Chawola who represented the visiting ministers of RUFORUM partner countries, African countries should put in place vibrant resource mobilization mechanisms to collectively finance Africa’s education and support governments that are battling with competitive budgetary demands.
“For the universities to offer solutions for the challenges the continent is facing, there is need to rebuild the curriculum that responds to our current needs and not what we needed yesterday. Our respective countries are grappling with higher levels of unemployment, can investors assist by producing graduates with entrepreneurial skills so that they are able to employ themselves and others. Of course there will be need to put in place support mechanism for such graduates to take over,” she said.
She equally acknowledged the national regulatory frameworks such as the Malawi Regulation Framework 2063 developed inline with the African Union Agenda 2063 the Africa we want, in which the continent aspires to be prosperous by 2063 through various means such as modernizing agricultural for increased production and productivity there by making people food secure.
She applauded RUFORUM’s efforts towards zero hunger in Africa through its vision 2030. According to Mdooko Nancy Chawola, food security is supposed be prerogative as well highlighted in the Sustainable Development Goal 2 (SDG 2) that is geared towards ending hunger, attaining food security, improving nutrition and promoting sustainable development.
In Cameroon, Agriculture and Education have been prioritized as drivers for economic growth and transformation. Through an agricultural flagship program initiated by His Excellence Paul Biya, science programmes and financial services as well as favorable ways of accessing market have been introduced in the country with the aim of transforming agricultural sector into a value added industrialized and integrated system engine of economic growth.
According to Prof. Ngomo Horace Manga- Vice Chancellor, University Buea, the government of Cameroon has resolved to grant its people with education that can help them manage their personal, national and Africa’s present and future economic destiny. In 2022, His excellence Paul Biya endorsed the recruitment process of 2000 lecturers in universities to ensure the quality of higher education in Cameroon.
“Collectively these education reforms and investment actions affordably can transform the people of Cameroon into a strong emerging market. Cameroon carries the highest science female adoptive rate in sub-Saharan Africa at 73%. This is a strong result of government delivery of United Nations SDG 5 of achieving education and build human capital for the country,” he noted.
The Opening Ceremony for the 19th RUFORUM Annual General Meeting unlocked the floor for critical discussions and meetings throughout the week. At the same function, RUFORUM presented a contemporary painting to His Excellence Paul Biya, President of the United Republic of Cameroon in recognition of his outstanding, selfless and patriotic services s to the people of Cameroon and Africa at large.
On 25th October 2023, the RUFORUM Network equally participated in the Cameroon Higher Education Day, the first of its kind in the country.
2nd Issue of Mak-Research & Innovations Fund Bulletin
Welcome to the 2nd Issue of the Mak-RIF Bulletin. Makerere University has continued to receive funding from the Government of the Republic of Uganda, earmarked to support faculty members to conduct high impact Research and Innovations that contribute to national development.
In this issue of our Bulletin, we share about how the Mak- RIF Research Agenda and themes highlighted there in are guiding and contributing to our operations, awards made in the past financial years, a highlight of the research achievements, impact to-date, and a flash back to some of the fund activities among others.
Dates for 74th Graduation Ceremony
The Academic Registrar wishes to inform the public that the 74th Graduation ceremony will be held from Monday 22nd to Friday 26th January 2024.
DATES FOR THE DIFFERENT COLLEGES/SCHOOLS
DATE: MONDAY, 22nd JANUARY, 2024
- College of Natural Sciences (CONAS)
- College of Health Sciences (CHS)
- School of Law (SOL)
DATE: TUESDAY, 23rd JANUARY, 2024
- College of Education and External Studies (CEES)
- College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES)
DATE: WEDNESDAY, 24th JANUARY, 2024
- College of Business and Management Sciences (COBAMS)
- College of Computing and Information Sciences (COCIS)
- College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Bio-Security (COVAB)
DATE: THURSDAY, 25th JANUARY, 2024
- Makerere University Business School (MUBS)
DATE: FRIDAY, 26th JANUARY, 2024
- College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology (CEDAT)
- College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS)
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