Mr. Tony Elumelu is a visionary Pan-African entrepreneur and philanthropist founder of Heirs Holdings; an African Investment Holding Company and the beneficial owner of the United Bank for Africa (UBA). UBA is the 9th largest commercial bank on the African continent with a global presence in New York, London and Paris. The fact that his Heirs Holdings is also present in twenty African countries is a good signal that the Nigerian economist, entrepreneur and philanthropist is a busy man. Nevertheless, Makerere University remained top on the agenda of his four day visit to Uganda.
The endless drizzles that preceded Mr. Elumelu’s visit to Makerere University on 11th April 2018 could only be a sign of the blessings that were to follow. Upon arrival, he was received by the Vice Chancellor Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe and ushered into the Council Room where he met with Members of Central Management and the leadership of the College of Business and Management Sciences (CoBAMS).
Accompanied by the Regional Executive Officer, UBA Eastern Africa Divisional Office, Nairobi-Mr. Manz Denga, UBA Uganda Managing Director-Mr. Johnson Agoreyo and other officials, Mr. Elumelu could not hide his elation at making his maiden visit to Makerere University.
“I am honoured, pleased and happy be with you this afternoon” remarked the gentle speaking Mr. Elumelu, “It is a wonderful experience to be in Makerere University; a well known and one of the foremost Universities in Africa” he added.
He thanked the Vice Chancellor for the warm welcome and commended all Makerere staff for helping to advance research and knowledge not only in Uganda but on the entire African continent. He also thanked the University Leadership for admitting UBA into the Makerere community, noting that “Makerere’s 45,000 student population is a tip that we can do more!”
After signing the visitors’ book and receiving souvenirs of the Makerere neck tie and diary from the Prof. Nawangwe, Mr. Elumelu proceeded to the Main Hall, where he was greeted by thunderous applause from the staff and students who had convened to listen to his talk. “I am greatly humbled and pleased to see that the hall is overflowing and some people are still standing” he remarked good naturedly ”I thank you all for coming and hope that our interaction will be enriching,” he added.
The event took the form of a question and answer session moderated by the day’s emcee, Mr. Peter Igaga. He shared with Mr. Elumelu that a sample of questions from the audience had revealed that capital was an outstanding issue of concern for budding entrepreneurs and asked the UBA Chairman share his views on the topic.
Mr. Elumelu firstly admitted that entrepreneurship is not a simple journey to embark on as it calls for patience and resilience. He then emphasised that; an idea of what one wanted to do and a proper definition of how one wanted to go about doing it formed the basis for attracting capital. “Most billionaires in the world today did not start out with a handful of money. While it is important, do not kill your good ideas just because you don’t have a handful of money to start with.”
He further opined that entrepreneurs need not start big and all that was needed was seed funding to prove one’s concept or idea, which money can be raised from family, friends and a few willing venture capitalists. “Banks should be your last option as you start up” he warned, before adding “Banks by their nature are highly structured organizations and will only give you money to scale up your idea once it is up and running.”
On the culture of saving, Mr. Elumelu noted that this was one of the most important attributes of any successful entrepreneur. He reemphasized the fact that entrepreneurship is a long journey and those who venture into it must be very disciplined and avoid any luxuries and unnecessary expenses that would deplete initial revenue.
“I also advise you to get good mentors” he continued “at the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), we see capital as only one of the factors necessary for one to succeed. We also see training and mentoring as extremely important aspects of entrepreneurship. During our 12week mentorship programme, we ensure that you understand the basics of things such as good bookkeeping so as to prepare yourself for the future.”
Mr. Elumelu added that it was only upon successfully completing the TEF training that entrepreneurs saw their first coin of seed capital, which also comes with mentors. “Our aim is to create entrepreneurs not grant seekers. We want to train people who will be able to support other entrepreneurs in the future.”
Since the setting of this discussion was at the region’s flagship University, the next topic sought clarity on the relevance of education to entrepreneurship, especially as a good number the world’s top billionaires had admitted to dropping out of school to focus on their ideas. Mr. Elumelu tackled this topic by first and foremost admitting that education, awareness and knowledge were all critical for entrepreneurship.
He however sought to create a distinction between two definitions of education; just to get a certificate and to gain a thorough understanding of subject matter, the former being the wrong one. He reaffirmed that education is a critical success factor in understanding ones trade, as it helps to sharpen the brain to better understand concepts. “Nevertheless, what is important is knowing what is critical for success. Discipline, hard work and thinking long term are extremely important factors for success” added Mr. Elumelu.
He urged all entrepreneurs never to let the fear of making mistakes prevent them from daring to try out their ideas. “You will make mistakes” assured Mr. Elumelu. “As a business, we have made some decisions that led us to venture into a partnership with a leading global company but in the end we had to write off US$200million after it didn’t take off as anticipated” he added, much to the hushed amazement of the audience.
Entrepreneurship without the right networks is a precarious journey to embark on. Tackling the question on the role of networks versus net worth, Mr. Elumelu shared that “Networks help you build net worth and net worth can help you extend your reach.” He stressed that it is important to have partnerships but these have to be matched with an alignment of interests. “Misalignment will not help you to build net worth or to succeed” added Mr. Elumelu.
“My net worth is not really important to me because it is just a figure; it is not about how much you have in the bank. What is important however is what you do with your net worth because at the end of the day you move from wanting to survive to changing lives and building a legacy” counseled Mr. Elumelu.
The day’s session would have been incomplete without a few testimonies from TEF beneficiaries. Mr. Joseph Ogwal is the Founder of Agro Supply Uganda Limited and a 2017 TEF Alumnus. His business was started with the aim of supplying smallholder farmers in the Acholi and Lango sub-regions with quality seeds. After completing his training with TEF, Joseph’s business is now able to supply 10,000 farmers with 30metric tonnes of quality planting seed and is projected to supply up to 50metric tonnes by the close of 2018. The company has additionally set its sights on supplying new markets in Rwanda and Tanzania.
Hon. Grace Oburu is the proprietor of Pakoi Mixed Farm in Tororo District and a 2017 TEF Alumna. The former legislator of the 8th Parliament admitted to initially being chastised by her children for applying to a youth entrepreneurship competition. She however persisted and today, does not regret having made that decision, especially as with the help of the seed capital she expects to house 800pigs at her farm by the close of 2018.
“The Operation Wealth Creation has booked all piglets from my farm because I am rearing a good breed, I have offered employment to the previously jobless youth and young men in the community are learning how to make biogas for cooking which is saving the environment” added Hon. Oburu.
Addressing the audience, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe thanked Mr. Tony Elumelu for putting Makerere University especially the interaction with budding entrepreneurs at the top of his agenda. He noted that Mr. Elumelu was one of the most enterprising entrepreneurs in Africa.
“I want to thank you Mr. Tony Elumelu for being a very generous person by supporting youths in Africa, irrespective of where they come from, so as to emancipate Africa from poverty. We are now past the stage of political emancipation and now is the time for economic emancipation” said Prof. Nawangwe.
He noted that Makerere University has produced some of the region’s top leaders in all spheres of influence including former Presidents such as H.E. Mwalimu Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, H.E. Mwai Kibaki of Kenya, H.E. Milton Obote of Uganda, to mention but a few. Prof. Nawangwe also encouraged Mr. Elumelu to come back again and welcomed partnerships with UBA and TEF aimed at improving entrepreneurship skills among the students.
Article by Public Relations Office
Rotary International President visits Mak
Rotary International President Shekhar Mehta has appreciated Makerere University for supporting and carrying forward the newly introduced programme aimed at advancing peace on the African Continent. Launched in January 2020, the Rotary Peace Centre at Makerere University runs a postgraduate diploma programme in Peace-building and Conflict Transformation. The hands-on program entails coursework that addresses topics including human rights, governance, and the role of the media in conflict. Other studies focus on refugees and migration, as well as resource and identity-based conflicts.
At a high level meeting held with the University leadership on 15th September 2021 at CTF1, President Shekhar Mehta said Rotary International was proud to be partnering with Makerere to promote peace on the African Continent. “The mere absence of war does not translate into total peace. Besides war, there are many other factors undermining peaceful co-existence. It is our duty to address these issues so as to create harmony in our communities. Through the Rotary Peace Centres across the globe, we are undertaking a number of initiatives aimed at promoting peace. Since 2002, the Rotary Peace Centres have trained more than 1,300 fellows who are working to advance peace in more than 115 countries. We are happy to work with Makerere University to foster peace and development on the African Continent,” he noted. President Shekhar Mehta, who was on a three-day tour of Rotary projects in Uganda, was visiting Makerere for the first time since the University won the bid to host the International Rotary Peace Centre, the first of its kind on the African Continent.
President Shekhar Mehta, who was in company of past and current Governors of Districts 9213 and 9214, said peace was a necessary catalyst for the progress of humanity and general development of nation states across the globe. Elected for the 2021-22 term, President Shekhar Mehta, through his year theme Serve to Change Lives, asks Rotarians to participate in service projects where they can make a difference in their communities and the people who live in them. Since he joined Rotary in 1984 as a member of the Rotary Club of Calcutta-Mahanagar, West Bengal, India, President Shekhar Mehta has led many major service initiatives in India and South Asia, including among others, constructing 500 homes for Tsunami survivors at Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and starting the Shelter Kit programme in India which has served about 20 disasters and benefited about 75,000 disaster victims.
Delivering her remarks, the Chairperson Council, Mrs. Lorna Magara appreciated Rotary International for entrusting Makerere University with the mandate to host the first rotary peace centre on the African Continent. “Choosing to house the Centre at Makerere University shows Rotary International’s trust and confidence in Makerere and her vision for building for the future. We are grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the advancement of Rotary International’s agenda. We also sincerely appreciate Rotarians all over the world who have committed funds to support the Rotary Peace Centre at Makerere University,” she noted. Similarly, she appreciated The Rotary Foundation (TRF) of Canada for setting up an endowment fund for the Peace Centre. “This will go a long way in ensuring the sustainability of the Peace Centre at Makerere University. The fund will help in the Capstone week where Fellows will present their social initiatives. These initiatives will showcase how the Rotary Peace Centre contributes to positive peace initiatives all over the world.”
In his remarks, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe informed the President that the decision to establish the first Rotary Peace Centre in Africa at Makerere University was welcomed with ‘excitement and gratefulness’. “We consider this to be a vote of confidence in our efforts in the peace and conflict resolution agenda. We extend our appreciation to Rotarians in Uganda and beyond for selflessly supporting this noble cause.” The Vice Chancellor appreciated the leadership of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Makerere, and the Director of the Centre, Dr Helen Nambalirwa Nkabala for their tireless efforts in ensuring the centre achieves the intended objective.
By the end of this year, the Centre will have hosted two cohorts of peace fellows. The first cohort was at Makerere University between February and May, 2021. Currently, these Peace fellows are carrying out their peace initiatives in their communities. The second cohort will report on September 27, 2021. In both cohorts, Peace Fellows were chosen from 20 countries and by the end of the year, the Centre will have had a total of 36 Fellows.
Intentionality Key to Nurturing More Women Leaders
The Gender Mainstreaming Directorate (GMD), Makerere University on 14th September 2021 presented findings from phase one of the study on Enhancing Women’s Participation and Visibility in Leadership and Decision-Making Organs of Public Universities in Uganda through Action Research. The study team led by the Director GMD and Principal Investigator (PI), Dr. Euzobia Mugisha Baine also consists of Assoc. Prof. Consolata Kabonesa, Dr. Anna Ninsiima, Ms. Frances Nyachwo, Ms. Susan Mbabazi and Mr. Eric Tumwesigye.
The team is also made of coordinators from participating Universities such as Busitema University-Ms. Elizabeth Birabwa, Kabale University-Sr. Dr. Eva Tumusiime, Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST)-Dr. Specioza Twinamasiko, Muni University-Ms. Amandru Stella Wawa, and Gulu Univeristy-Sr. Rosalba Aciro.
Funded by the Government of Uganda through the Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund (Mak-RIF), the study was inspired by the fact that women are persistently few in numbers as staff, more so in leadership and decision-making organs of Ugandan Public Universities. “This is despite all the various efforts at national and international levels; the numbers are not growing as fast as needed to meet development goals of the country” explained Dr. Euzobia.
Based on this background, the study team therefore sought to conduct a situational analysis of the gender terrain of the six public universities to obtain baseline information encompassing the composition of governance and leadership organs and senior staff by sex, as well as a needs assessment and profiles of potential mentors and mentees.
Furthermore, the team sought to explore the capacity to conduct gender-responsive research as well as the role of male staff engagement in gender equity interventions within the universities as the drivers of development.
Dr. Mugisha-Baine shared that results of the baseline would then be used to design participatory training manuals or guides on gender and leadership. The manuals would cover; Institutionalized mentorship, How to conduct gender-responsive research, gender and equity budgeting, among others.
“Within these manuals, we shall have a male staff engagement strategy in gender equity interventions in universities” she explained.
The development of the aforementioned materials would then be followed by their adoption and use to build capacity for women not only in leadership of participating and other public university but also beyond. “We shall periodically evaluate whether the capacity we have built has influenced women’s participation in leadership and decision-making organs of the university” supplemented the PI.
The capacity building trainings for women, it is envisaged, will lay the foundation for the formation of a functional Uganda University Women’s Think Tank, starting with the six participating universities. Dr. Mugisha Baine added that through this Think Tank, a monitoring and tracking system for gender representation in recruitment, promotion, retention/turnover and leadership of public universities shall be established and maintained.
At the conclusion of phase one, the study team had drafted participatory training manuals in gender and leadership with content on; gender specific critical analysis of the leadership spectrum of public universities, positioning of individual women within the institutional framework and strategies for their advancement, gender equity advocacy in the university setting, institutional mentorship, building capacity in conducting gender-responsive research, among others.
“This content will be validated by the participating universities before the actual research training is conducted” added the PI.
On behalf of the research team, Dr. Mugisha Baine thanked the Government of Uganda for providing the resources that facilitated phase one of the study and prayed that the Mak-RIF Grants Management Committee (GMC) would support the next phase of capacity building.
Speaking on behalf of the Mak-RIF GMC Chairperson, Prof. William Bazeyo, Dr. Helen Nambalirwa Nkabala thanked and congratulated the team led by the Director GMD upon the milestones registered in the critical research.
“We are very proud of that work that is being done by all researchers in Mak-RIF and we would like to most sincerely thank Management for all the support throughout this process” she remarked.
Dr. Nkabala encouraged the research team to continue disseminating and using the findings for the furtherance of gender mainstreaming, particularly through the aspect of male staff engagement in gender equity interventions.
Prior to delivering the keynote address of the day, the Executive Director National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) Prof. Mary Okwakol thanked the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe for inviting her to the important forum, noting that women’s participation in decision making and governance is a priority area of the Uganda Gender Policy 2007.
She commended Makerere University for being at the forefront of gender mainstreaming in Uganda, noting that this prominence was one of the reasons why the Gender in Education Policy 2007 provides for replicating the institution’s strategy in all other Higher Education Institutions.
Prof. Okwakol whose keynote address was punctuated incisive personal examples reaffirmed the statistics that women are generally not visible in leadership of Universities. That notwithstanding, in instances where they rise to leadership and decision-making positions, they are regularly subject to roles traditionally deemed as women’s inconsiderate of their managerial seniority and experience.
She nevertheless rallied the women to play their respective roles in enhancing participation and visibility at a personal level. The following were some of the strategies she proposed; work hard to acquire academic credentials so as to compete favourably with men, acquire necessary administrative training and experience, network among women, join professional networks as well as do research and publish.
On joining professional networks, she shared her personal experience as a young zoologist who joined UNESCO’s Tropical Biology and Fertility Programme. “Within a short time I was appointed Coordinator for Africa and after two years, I was elected as a Member of the International Board of Management. After serving for two years, I became Vice Chairperson of that Board and finally I became Chairperson of that International Board.”
At the institutional level, Prof. Okwakol appealed to the Chairperson Council and Vice Chancellor to proactively recruit women who meet the requirements for leadership positions even if it means actively seeking out the reluctant ones. In this regard, she shared that it would be useful for the university to develop a database of women and their qualifications to ease this process.
She shared that NCHE has in recognition of female underrepresentation at every level in Higher Education approved the establishment of a Gender and Equity Unit with the aim of promoting inclusive gender participation in the sub-sector.
“This unit has been placed under the Directorate of Quality Assurance and Accreditation which implies that as we look out for and regulate quality, gender will be a very important aspect of that regulation” she reassured.
Prof. Okwakol concluded by urging participants to read the; Third National Development Plan (NDPIII), Uganda Vision 2040, and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) noting that there is no way all three can be achieved while women are left behind because they each make a case for inclusion of the female gender.
“What we are addressing here are historical injustices” said Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe as he commenced his remarks, “And in the case of Makerere University, it is well known that the institution started as a male-only institution and we all know the original motto was ‘Let us be men’” he added.
Citing examples from history such as; Marie Curie – one of the smartest physicists, Hatshepsut, Nefertiti and Cleopatra – prominent Pharaohs of Egypt, George Eliot, Rosa Luxemburg and Hypatia – all great philosophers as well as Chancellor Angela Merkel – first female Chancellor of Germany, the Vice Chancellor said there is no plausible argument that there are things women cannot do as well as their male counterparts.
He said it was against this knowledge and in a bid to correct historical injustices that Makerere University pioneered initiatives such as putting in place affirmative action for girls, establishing a Gender Mainstreaming Directorate as well as a School of Women and Gender Studies. The Vice Chancellor nevertheless stressed the need to go beyond pioneering to protecting these gains through legislation. “Historically we have seen that discrimination can only be addressed by laws and policies.”
Prof. Nawangwe thanked the Government for providing funds to support Mak-RIF as well as the Funds GMC and Secretariat for ensuring that these funds are put to good use. He equally thanked the Chairperson of Council, Mrs. Lorna Magara for her not only her support but also sparing time to attend a good number of the research dissemination events.
Delivering the concluding remarks, Mrs. Magara acknowledged that the study was timely and relevant the contemporary University, as one of the critical drivers of the national and international development agenda. She therefore reechoed the Vice Chancellor’s thanks to the Government of Uganda for generously supporting the University’s research through Mak-RIF.
Turning to the keynote speaker she said, “I thank Prof. Okwakol for ardently discussing the critical issues affecting the female gender, the strategies to overcome the challenges, including sharing her inspiring personal experiences.”
Mrs. Magara equally thanked Prof. Okwakol for her very instructional analysis, providing mentorship guidance with the resultant impact of enhancing the female gender in decision-making positions. In the same breath she congratulated the PI and her team upon successfully concluding phase one of the project.
“Phase one has generated insights in understanding the status of women in leadership in public universities, the legal and policy framework and its implications on women’s visibility, the institutional mentoring systems and the gaps therein” she observed.
The Chairperson of Council acknowledged that the challenge of underrepresentation of women in leadership roles cannot be resolved at an individual level. She therefore advocated for broad based strategies that can address deep-seated structural and cultural biases facing women. “These include developing mentorship networks, enacting laws and policies that address the imbalances and providing training programmes to address the leadership gaps.”
She therefore pledged the University Council’s unwavering support to the Gender Mainstreaming Programme by ensuring an enabling policy environment that facilitates gender-responsive teaching, learning, research innovation and community service.
The research dissemination was moderated by the Principal Public Relations Officer (PRO), Ms. Ritah Namisango and the Director Communications, Learning and Knowledge Management, ResilientAfrica Network (RAN) and PRO Mak-RIF, Ms. Harriet Adong.
Section Editors & Associate Editors Wanted-CABI Agriculture & Biosciences Journal
The CABI Agriculture and Biosciences Journal (CABI A&B) is still in search of both Associate Editors to join the CABI A&B Editorial Board, as well as a Regional Editor-in-Chief to lead for Africa in addition to serving as a Section Editor in the area of either Environmental and SOIL SCIENCE, AGROECOLOGY, OR AQUACULTURE AND FISHERIES. Ideally CABI wants Section Editors (SE) who are prominent members of their research communities, with high-level established positions at a research institution, with a strong, current record of international collaborations and publication, with an H-index of at least 25. For Associate Editors (AE) we hope for researchers who have with established positions at a research institution (e.g., not post-docs or Ph.D. candidates), with a strong growing record of international collaborations and publication (e.g., around 8 publications in the past two years), and have an H-index of at least 15.
Very importantly, CABI hopes for SEs and AEs who are good communicators and are passionate about serving and building the journal to be an outlet for both large and small steps of sound science that will improve the lives and livelihoods of people worldwide.
Please see Downloads for the CABI EDITORIAL DIRECTORY
Interested applicants should email PHILIPPA J. BENSON, PH.D. MANAGING EDITOR | _CABI A&B | P.BENSON[at]CABI.ORG