The Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) devastation across the world has been phenomenal in the shortest time since its outbreak in December 2019 in China. COVID-19 impacts have been felt in all spheres of the economy and global operations. Tertiary education has seen significant interruptions and according to UNESCO, universities and other tertiary education institutions across 175 countries were closed affecting some 220 million learners globally. In the Sub-Saharan Africa region, COVID-19 affected an estimated 98% of all the tertiary education students as countries imposed measures aimed at containing the spread of the virus. The pandemic besides getting students off-campus caused universities to suffer significant revenue losses from tuition and other services offered by their respective campuses.
In order to galvanize our universities’ responses to emerging challenges and opportunities brought about by the Corona Virus Disease of 2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic, the RUFORUM Secretariat convened a multi-stakeholder online engagement from June-October 2020. Thirteen (13) Webinars were convened to galvanize dialogue and directions for African higher education actors, Governments and Private sector response to the COVID-19 Pandemic and in alignment to United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Recognizing the role of universities in responding to the Pandemic,the target audience for these virtual convenings included policy leaders, higher education leaders, staff, university students, technical experts, and researchers. The overall theme of the webinar series was Galvanizing Partnerships for Africa’s Universities Response to Emerging Challenges and Opportunities. The Webinars targeted participants from within and outside Africa to position the dialogue within the continental and global contexts and to build on earlier discussions during the Afro-Arab Partnership meeting in Kampala, the Global Partnership meeting for Higher Agricultural Education and Research,held during the 16thRUFORUM Annual General Meeting in Cape Coast, Ghana and the Ministerial Communique on Promoting Africa Wide Cooperation in Higher Agricultural Education, Science, Technology and Innovation. The webinars generated dialogue and action points that have implications for RUFORUM and other academic and research agencies as they engage with continental agencies such as African Union and European Union as well as National Governments and other regional bodies.
This report summarizes emerging issues and recommendations for strengthening higher agricultural education, partnerships and responses to emerging challenges from the Webinar series.
RUFORUM Webinar Series Participation:
The thirteen (13)webinars attracted more than 100 speakers and moderators. These included among others, former Heads of State, AUC Commissioners and Directors, DEVCo-European Commission Director and other representations, FAO Directors and representatives, Government Ministers, Vice Chancellors and other University leaders, Directors and other representations of university and other associations, private sector actors, students, farmer organizations, Government agencies, international Non-Governmental Organizations, and funding agencies such as, the World Bank and BRIDGIN Foundation.
The audience was drawn from over 100countries across all continents. Marked participation was registered from Uganda, Kenya, Sudan, Nigeria and the United States of America. The total registration for participation was 5,275 with an average attendance of 60% for each Webinar over a period of five (5) months. The gender distribution was60% male and 39% female.
Late Registration Surcharge for Semester I 2020-2021
To All Students
This is to inform you that there will be no late registration /surcharge for this semester for now and the functionality has been removed from the students portal. This is in regard to the Communication to Students regarding fees payment for Sem I 2020/21 of February 26, 2021.
Please make the necessary arrangements to enroll and register as soon as possible.
Alfred Masikye Namoah
Mak and Stanbic Discuss Partnership beyond Banking
As Makerere University gears up for celebrations to mark 100 years of existence in the second half of 2022, a team from Stanbic Bank Uganda (SBU) led by Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ms. Anne Juuko on Monday 12th April, 2021 held discussions with a special session of Central Management on how to deepen collaboration. Chaired by the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, the session specifically provided a platform for Stanbic to showcase the non-banking services that Makerere can take advantage of in the quest to become a research-led university.
The special session was prompted by a prior engagements between the Acting (Ag.) Deputy Vice Chancellor (Finance and Administration)-DVCFA, Dr. Josephine Nabukenya and Ms. Juuko, wherein the latter expressed SBU’s interest in partnering with Makerere to deliver her ten year strategic objectives. The Vision for the ten year (2020-2030) strategic plan is “a thought leader of knowledge generation for societal transformation and development”.
“Makerere University’s first strategic goal to translate into a research-led university requires a lot of thinking through on how the different services can be rehabilitated into frameworks that support our vision” remarked Dr. Nabukenya.
The Ag. DVCFA was speaking in reference to the research and innovations ecosystem that needs to be created to ensure that Makerere’s research will over the next 10 years have demonstrable economic, environmental, health and social impacts.
The Vice Chancellor thanked the Ag. DVCFA for initiating the discussions with SBU, noting that this was timely and would help take advantage of the huge potential that the University has to offer. “Thanks to funding from the Government of Uganda through the Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund (Mak-RIF) we now have hundreds of innovations produced by the various research teams.”
“Our biggest problem at present is the lack of funds to commercialise these innovations. Uganda has no venture capitalists but I believe that with the resources that you (SBU) have, we can work together to help support these innovators” remarked Prof. Nawangwe.
Prior to making her presentation the CEO thanked Makerere University for the supporting SBU’s business thus far, as well as the ensuring that the two partners enjoy a quality relationship with each successive Management team. “We take extra pride when it comes to working with Makerere University,” she added.
Ms. Juuko said the reorganisation of SBU in 2018 to include a holding company (Stanbic Holdings Uganda Limited-SHUL) had enabled the entity to enhance the value of products and services offered to its customers. In addition to SBU, other SHUL subsidiaries; Stanbic Properties Uganda Limited, Stanbic Business Incubator Limited, FlyHub and SBG Securities. These, she noted, enable Stanbic to offer a broader range of services to staff and students beyond banking.
Reflecting on the signing of the Final Investment Decision (FID) on 11th April 2021, the CEO shared that SBU in line with its support for responsible investment through assessing and managing environmental, social and governance risks would take keen interest in oil production. “One of the hottest topics is that oil mining is going to take place in one of the most ecologically sensitive zones. How can we partner with Makerere to ensure that this is conducted in a sustainable way?” she pondered.
The CEO also brought to the attention of Central Management that SBU had in 2020 partnered with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to launch the Youth4Business Innovation and Entrepreneurial Facility as an answer to youth unemployment. As a way forward, she added that Makerere would be brought on board to form a three-way conversation on how best to achieve the facility’s objectives, especially following disruptions to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) operations caused by COVID-19.
Other topics covered by the SBU presentation included; supporting the Makerere University Staff SACCO to grow their funds, Financial Fitness sessions for staff on how best to invest and grow their earnings, and a laptop loan scheme for staff and students where payments can be made over a period of two to three years. Also shared was how SBU is using data to reduce loan approval for customers to 120seconds as well as introducing alternative systems for making payments and receiving collections such as point of sale devices and virtual wallets tagged to customer phone numbers.
In some of the reactions that followed, the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic Affairs)-DVCAA Dr. Umar Kakumba thanked SBU for reaching out to Makerere and advocated for increased internship placements for students in the SHUL subsidiaries. He also called for collaboration at the training level.
“The staff at the College of Business and Management Sciences (CoBAMS) have in the past conducted financial literacy training for various organisations and are ready to partner with Stanbic as they reach out to various communities in their educational programmes,” added Dr. Kakumba.
Delivering the concluding remarks, the Vice Chancellor thanked the Ag. DVCFA for initiating discussions with SBU as well as the CEO and her team for sparing time to meet with Central Management. “Together, Makerere as the premier and largest University and Stanbic as the largest bank operating in Uganda can do a lot to transform this country.”
The parties agreed to formalise the collaboration by signing Memorandum of Understanding at a later date.
RUFORUM Quarterly Report 1st January – 31st March 2021
This report highlights key achievements and progress made during the period 1st January – 31st March 2021 (the third quarter of the Financial Year 2020/2021, and the third year of implementing the operational plan-2018-2022 of RUFORUM Vision 2030). The Operational Plan is designed around four (4) flagship programmes underpinned by activities to support regional collective action and learning to give stimulus to achieving the RUFORUM vision for vibrant transformative universities catalysing inclusive agricultural development to feed and create prosperity for Africa. The four flagship programmes are:
- Transforming African Agricultural Universities to meaningfully contribute to Africa’s Growth and Development (TAGDev) seeks to transform African agricultural universities and their graduates to better respond to developmental challenges through enhanced application of science, technology, business and innovation for rural agricultural transformation.This flagship programme is largely supported by the Mastercard Foundation.
- Cultivating Research and Teaching Excellence (CREATE) seeks to realign universities’ research and teaching functions into a more integrated model with a focus on problem solving and enhancing the capacity of the entire university academic practice and outreach system mainly.
- Regional Anchor Universities for Higher Agricultural Education (RANCH) seeks to escalate the setting up of a network of linked universities as African anchor universities/African centres of excellence and academic leadership in agricultural higher education and learning.
- Knowledge Hub for University Networking, Partnership and Advocacy (K-Hub) builds on RUFORUM’s convening power and facilitates the creation, capture, organising, sharing and refining of information and content across teams and geographic locations –thus increasing access to latest evidence based information and knowledge.
Below are the highlights of progress made across the flagships:
- a) RUFORUM strengthened engagement in new forms of partnerships at national, regional and continental level to support research and development; and, strengthen higher education and agricultural sectors on the continent. This included engagements with several agencies in the Gulf States.
- b) The Republics of Benin and Cameroon signed the RUFORUM Charter,bringing to total eight African Nations along with eSwatini, Ghana, Liberia, Mali, Sierra Leone and Zimbabwe.
- c) RUFORUM with support from the African Development Bank awarded two Entrepreneurship Challenge Programme (RECAP) grants to MbararaUniversity of Science and Technology (Uganda) and University of Sine Saloum El-Hâdj Ibrahima NIASS (Senegal) to strengthen Agri-entrepreneurship training.
- d) RUFORUM was awarded a grant of US$ 330,000 from the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa to operationalize its African Digital Agriculture Programme (AfriDAP) which, amongst others,aims to strengthen Online Learning and Teachingin its Member universities.
- e) The Secretariat developed the RUFORUM Post COVID 19 strategy to enable member universities respond, recover and build resilience in the medium term.