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Academicians Retooled on the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA)

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By Jane Anyango

Over 30 members of the academia comprising staff and graduate students from Makerere University School of Economics, Muni University and Makerere University Business School  on 28th September, 2021 converged for a training on the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA).

The blended seminar held physically and virtually was organized by the Environment for Development Initiative (EfD-Mak) Centre facilitated by the Makerere University don, who is also Research Fellow at the EfD-Mak center and Fulbright Scholar Dr. Nickolas Kilimani.

Dr. Kilimani streamed live from the USA on the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting focusing on the Integrated Water Resources Management, Policy Analysis and Decision making.

Dr. Kilimani highlighted the recent developments in Environmental-Economic Accounting in Uganda, the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting  and its objectives, Water resources accounting modules and the role of Water Accounting in Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM).

Dr. Kilimani observed that the national economic policy has been underpinned by macroeconomic theory and the necessary statistics are collected and arranged using the System of National Accounts (SNA) which covers all economic activity from production to consumption and accumulation, and all industries using the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as the key indicator.

He noted that the basic theoretical foundation of the SNA has not changed since 1953 even with the detail that has evolved with technological, economic and social change adding that, for more than 70 years, governments and business have used the information from the SNA as an information source in economic analysis and policy.

Dr. Nicholas Kilimani delivers his training on SEEA online
Dr. Nicholas Kilimani delivers his training on SEEA online

“The SNA does not adequately account for the environment and yet economic activity can adversely drive both observed and unobserved changes in it. The System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA) aims to address the deficiency of the traditional national accounting (the SNA) by accounting for the environment and linking it to environmental information through common concepts, definitions and classifications” Dr. Kilimani stated.

Compared to the SNA, Kilimani said, the SEEA is not yet widely used in decision making, partly because, it has recently been adopted as an international standard.

Dr. Kilimani said the objectives of SEEA are to develop a consistent data system for economic and environmental data and provide a common system to derive indicators and measure sustainable development. 

He explained that the SEEA provides a better measure of national wealth to include not only produced capital but also natural capital,  and assesses availability of natural resources, their use in production and final consumption and the cost of depletion. In addition  Kilimani said, SEEA assess the level and cost of emissions and other waste from production and consumption and identifies monetary flows related to the environment which are already within the SNA (e.g., expenditures on environmental protection, environmental taxes and subsidies,etc.)

Dr. Kilimani underscored the role of Water Accounting in Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) noting that the growing pressure on water resources and high uncertainty on future water availability have caused the urgent need for better planning and management.

He emphasized that water is not only essential to cover basic needs for humans and the environment that underpins them, it is also a key factor for the economic development of diverse sectors with conflicting interests as regard to its use.

A dual view of Physical participants in the Makerere University EfD Conference Room (L) interacting with Dr. Nicholas Kilimani (R) live from the US.
A dual view of Physical participants in the Makerere University EfD Conference Room (L) interacting with Dr. Nicholas Kilimani (R) live from the US.

“The IWRM paradigm is considered a good approach to deal with those complexities. It proposes a coordinated utilization of water and land resources to support economic and social development without compromising environmental sustainability.

It recognizes that water management is a key aspect since human intervention is the trigger for all trade-offs and conflicts around water. IWRM highlights the influence of catchment management on water resources quantity and quality, as well as the need to preserve the natural capital for future generations.” He added.

Dr. Kilimani said Water management is considered a social, economic, and political issue rather than just technical and therefore, stakeholder involvement in water management is needed and this translates into legal requirements for public participation and transparency in water governance.

“The value of water, the opportunity costs of its allocation, or the costs of making it available should be known and recognized in order to incentivize water use efficiency. The implementation of those legal requirements calls for making information about water publicly available in a clear and accessible way. In this sense, water accounting emerges as a useful tool to promote efficiency and transparency in water resource planning and management”, Kilimani stated.

The current and proposed framework for IWRM in Uganda

Dr. Kilimani said the existing institutional and policy framework shows the multiple institutions charged with the management of water resources in Uganda, but, there is a need for an explicit connection between water sector policies and those of the social-economic sectors, since water resources are a key input into the country’s economic and social sectors.

Participants pose for a group photo with EfD-Mak Centre Director Prof. Edward Bbaale after the seminar.
Participants pose for a group photo with EfD-Mak Centre Director Prof. Edward Bbaale after the seminar.

“The institutional framework in Uganda, provides for a key component such as Water for Production. Institutions in charge of managing the productive sectors of the economy, i.e., MoFPED, (MAAIF), and the MTTI need to link their development plans and policies with those of the water sector.  A sound national water policy should relate the different development plans of the social-economic sectors in an explicit manner”. Kilimani said.

In the (2015) paper, Dr. Kilimani and other researchers proposed a framework for policy analysis which relates the development plans for the different social-economic sectors to those of the water sector.

This framework he said is aimed at providing policy analysis of IWRM in a typical economy by linking e.g., agriculture, industry, households, hydro-electricity and navigation which are key sectors that primarily depend on water.

The don explained that development plans in these sectors involve several policy variables and inputs. Therefore, the interaction between the policy variables and their impacts are monitored through multiple indicators in the social-economic and ecological domains.

“Given the multiplicity of variables, the SEEA framework uses aggregated water data as do the existing approaches for analyzing the associated policy impacts.

Some of the female graduate students that attended the training listen to proceedings.
Some of the female graduate students that attended the training listen to proceedings.

Computable general equilibrium (CGE) models also use aggregation and hierarchical decomposition in order to simplify model development and data compression to manageable sizes.

While the aggregation hides some of the temporal and spatial variability, it still preserves the fundamental trends that help to provide needed answers by policy-makers”, Kilimani said.

SEEA, a new area of interest to academicians and the Government of Government

The Director EfD-Mak Center Prof. Edward Bbaale described  the seminar  as the most exciting because it brought on board a new area which is of interest to the Government of Uganda.

Prof. Bbaale said, Uganda Bureau of Statistics, the National Planning Authority and other partners are trying to work on the system of Environmental-Economic Accounting away from the conventional system of National Accounting.

“Our System of National Accounting is deficient in incorporating Environmental aspects because as we produce and consume, then in one way or another, we are depleting the environment which we refer to as natural capital and this natural capital is all the time depreciating but there is no way in our conventional GDP measurements that, but now, this new system is solution to this”, Prof. Bbaale stated.

From the academic perspective, Prof. Bbaale commended the facilitator for showing participants   how to undertake the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting and ably bringing participants on board in terms of the key variables that are important in this new system specific to the water sector.

A section of staff and graduate students that attended the seminar
A section of staff and graduate students that attended the seminar

The  Director appreciated Dr. Kilimani for exposing  participants to the policy,  non-policy and  the output variables and giving tips on some methods such as the Computable general equilibrium (CGE) which can be utilized to understand the impact of a policy decision on the rest of the economy in terms of the social, economic and environmental outcome.

“The lesson here is that we need to invest our time into understanding this new System of Environmental-Economic Accounting as a way of incorporating new ventures in our research as economists and academicians. And to our graduate students, this is an area worthy of investing their time and I am glad that a number of graduate students attended this seminar”, Prof. Edward Bbaale said.

Prof. Bbaale said, a number of reports are already out and that SEEA is an area which is very virgin, where very limited research has been undertaken partly because of lack of numbers that incorporate the environment into the entire national analysis.

“But now, some strides have been taken, some milestones are being achieved and if our own, Dr. Nickolas Kilimani with a Fulbright Scholar in the US is having all these on his fingertips, it is a huge resource to Makerere University, to our country and it is a starting point of deeper analysis into how the environment is being affected when we are doing our production and consumption   activities”, Prof. Bbaale said.

He reported that the seminar was quite intriguing and important for national policy and pledged to arrange to involve policy makers from the Ministry of Water and Environment and the National Water and Sewerage Corporation in the next seminar.

Participants comment on the seminar

Makerere University PhD student from the School of Economics Alex Aliga, who is also a lecturer at Muni University Uganda said the seminar was timely.

“It has enriched many of the things that I had learnt in class and I had taken for granted. The System of Environment and Economic Analysis though new is very important and interesting because once you begin to understand Natural Resource Accounting and integrate it into GDP, then we get to understand the full value of our resources. In that case, it means that we may actually be richer than what we thought we are. Some of these things are not easy to bring to the GDP which is the measure of our national economy.

Some of the graduate students and staff from Muni University that attended the seminar.
Some of the graduate students and staff from Muni University that attended the seminar.

I got many lessons; – understanding how you can apply the theoretical things into practical and to influence policy is very important for our country. Given the fact that our resources are under attack, climatic change and environmental issues are real, we need this knowledge so as to be able to sustainably use our resources for a better future”, Mr. Aliga said.

Dr. Paul Edabu, a Senior Lecturer at Muni University said:

“The day’s seminar was an eye opener to the current situation in Uganda bearing in mind that we have two blocks of people who are in accounts and economics and there is no integration even in our ministries.

Our country is at a paradox, today people are restricted to cut trees from the forests and also carrying out farming in the wetlands and the next day, a factory is erected in the wetland. This seminar is timely and something I had yearned to learn because it incorporates the environment as a key resource into the national accounting system”,  Dr. Edabu commented.

SEEA and the Government of Uganda

Government of Uganda (GoU) is moving towards resource-led industrialization by developing a set of natural capital accounts under the Uganda Natural Capital Accounting (NCA) program. The National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP), National Development Plan, and Uganda Green Growth Development Strategy (UGGDS) recognize the challenges of development planning without accounting for its effect on natural resources, many of which are non-renewable.

In cognizance of the above, GoU with her development partner UNEP with its World Conservation Monitoring Centre arm is working with the Darwin Initiative to develop  Natural Capital Accounts for Uganda.

The project is aligned with existing initiatives on natural capital accounting, i.e., the Gaborone Declaration for Sustainable Development in Africa, the UN project on Natural Capital Accounting, and the World Bank Wealth Accounting and the Valuation of Ecosystem Services programme.

The Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) Ministry of Water and Environment, and Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development commenced with the development of land accounts and Water accounts in 2019.  Under the NCA program, the country launched the Wood Asset and Forest Resources Accounts.

Natural Capital Accounting effort is based on the international statistical standard, System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA).

Jane Anyango is the Principal Communication Officer, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES)

Business & Management

Prof. Hisali, Prof. Yawe handover office to Prof. Bbaale, Prof. Wokadala

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In a vibrant ceremony brimming with nostalgia and optimism, College of Business and Management Sciences-Makerere University (CoBAMS) celebrated the transition of leadership from the accomplished hands of Prof. Eria Hisali and Prof. Bruno L. Yawe to the promising stewardship of Prof. Edward Bbaale and Prof. James Wokadala on Friday 31st May 2024.

The event, attended by esteemed members of the university community, including representatives from the Vice Chancellor’s office and members of the Central Management Team, was a testament to the collaborative spirit and dedication that have come to define CoBAMS. The outgoing Principal, Prof. Eria Hisali, and Deputy Principal, Prof. Bruno Yawe, were lauded for their eight years of service, during which they significantly advanced the college’s academic and infrastructural capabilities.

A Legacy of Excellence

Prof. Hisali’s farewell address highlighted the numerous achievements under his leadership. He proudly noted the establishment of strategic partnerships and collaborations that have greatly benefited the college. “Our MoU with Stellenbosch University provided full PhD scholarships for four Academic Staff Members, while our partnership with Wageningen University in the Netherlands supported PhD training for two Staff Members. Additionally, the Republic of Korea’s embassy in Uganda granted three PhD scholarships,” he remarked.

Assoc Prof. Bruno Yawe (Left) handing over to incoming Deputy Principal Dr. James Wokadala.

These collaborations extended to notable institutions such as ACCA, Prudential Uganda, Addis Ababa University, The University of Rwanda, Universidade Eduardo Mondlane, and the University of Dar es Salaam, reflecting CoBAMS’ commitment to internationalization and academic excellence. Prof. Hisali also mentioned the development of a Quality Assurance Framework and significant infrastructural proposals, including a new block pending government funding.

The outgoing Principal shared impressive statistics: a fivefold increase in publications from 30 in 2017 to 150 in 2023, expansion of wireless internet coverage to over 90% of the college, and a significant rise in PhD holders among the academic staff to 60%.

Prof. Yawe appreciated all the academic, administrative and support staff that supported his leadership throughout the 8 years of service.

Looking Ahead

Prof. Edward Bbaale, the incoming Principal, expressed his vision to elevate CoBAMS as a global leader in innovative teaching, research, and policy engagement. With over two decades at CoBAMS, including eight years as Dean of the School of Economics, he emphasized his commitment to continuing the progress made by his predecessors. He pledged to prioritize graduate training, faculty research, and the commercialization of innovations, alongside strategic financial initiatives such as the College Endowment Fund.

Prof. Eria Hisali receiving a token of appreciation from memebers of the Administrative Staff at MakCoBAMS.

Prof. James Wokadala, the new Deputy Principal, acknowledged the substantial achievements of the outgoing leaders and outlined his plans to build on their legacy. He aims to foster a supportive and engaging environment by establishing a gym for staff and creating a Savings and Credit Cooperative Organization (SACCO).

Heartfelt Farewells and New Beginnings

The ceremony featured heartfelt speeches from various stakeholders, celebrating the contributions of Prof. Hisali and Prof. Yawe. Dr. Susan Namirembe Kavuma, representing the academic staff, praised the outgoing leaders for their unwavering support and urged the new administration to continue fostering a conducive environment for teaching and learning. Ms. Caroline Nanono Jjingo, on behalf of the administrative staff, echoed these sentiments, appreciating the open and inspirational leadership style of Prof. Hisali and Prof. Yawe. “Throughout their tenure, they have resonated the words of Henry Ross Perot, who said that “Lead and inspire people. Don’t try to manage and manipulate people. Inventories can be managed but people must be led.”  She said.

Outgoing Principal Eria Hisali and outgoing Deputy Principal Bruno Yawe cut cake.

The Deputy University Secretary, Mr. Simon Kizito, provided sage advice to the incoming leaders, emphasizing the importance of openness to feedback, leading by example, and maintaining accountability. He reminded them that failure is an inevitable part of leadership and encouraged them to learn from it while prioritizing self-care.

On their part, the support staff appreciated the outgoing leadership for their open door policy and willingness to support all staff especially those experiencing life challenges. Quoting Ecclesiastes 3:1, Mr Joseph Ikarokot said there was a season for everything and staff were privileged to have worked with the duo.

A Promising Future

As the new leadership team embarks on their journey, they carry forward a legacy of excellence and a vision for a brighter future. With their extensive experience and commitment to innovation and collaboration, Prof. Bbaale and Prof. Wokadala are well-positioned to steer CoBAMS toward greater achievements and global recognition.

The ceremony concluded with a celebratory cake-cutting, gifts from the administrative staff, and a reaffirmation of the college’s enduring spirit of unity and progress. The new era at CoBAMS promises continued growth and success, building on the solid foundation laid by Prof. Hisali and Prof. Yawe.

Some of the staff memebers who were present at the handover ceremony.

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CoBAMS Annual Report 2023

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Professor Eria Hisali, Principal College of Business and Management Sciences (CoBAMS). Makerere University, Kampala Uganda.

The overall objective of our operations and strategy is to position the College as a relevant and sustainable institution of international standing with high caliber staff, an active presence in public policy research and formulation, and contribution to the community. This report highlights the main activities that have taken place over the year 2023 in fulfillment of the College’s objective.

Strategic initiatives

The College continued to pursue plans to expand and remodel its infrastructure facilities. The Feasibility Study for the proposed infrastructure expansion and remodeling project got approval of the Development Committee of the Government of Uganda in March 2023. A budget code for the project was assigned to the project shortly afterwards. Engagements are underway to secure funding for the project starting the 2024/2025 financial year.

The College also continued to strengthen its Endowment Fund. Fifty million shillings was added to the Fund over the course of the year and an exercise to reconcile the amount of money held on the Main Endowment Fund of the University was embarked on. We still await an opportunity for the formal launch of the Fund to pave the way for a more structured capital campaign.

Teaching and learning

The College took steps to strengthen its quality assurance framework. The College established a Quality Assurance Committee to oversee the quality of its operations across the Board. It also embarked in automation of workflow processes in the administrative and support functions. The College also continued to support student led discussion groups and engaged Graduate Fellows at each of its Departments.

Three thousand new students took up programs at the College in the course of the year while the College presented one thousand six hundred sixty eight candidates for graduation.

The CoBAMS Library continued to subscribe to The Economist & Harvard Business Review magazines – both the print & electronic versions. The Library also acquired 366 Titles and 395 copies of textbooks purchased and delivered from the Book Bank; and 26 titles & 41 copies of textbooks purchased by the College.

Brand visibility

The quality of programmes and staff are ranked highly. Students on the Master of Arts Degree in Economics emerged the best performing of the seven premier universities on the continent at the Joint Facility for Electives (JFE). This program is run on a collaborative arrangement where students take core courses at their universities for one academic year after which the elective courses are taught jointly. Staff from the College served as visiting lecturers and external examiners at other institutions. Staff from the college produced over 200 new publications and facilitated at various panel discussions and policy dialogues.

Collaborations, partnerships and grants

The College concluded a Memorandum of understanding with the Human Resource Management Association of Uganda (HRMAU), which aims to train prospective HR practitioners on professional conduct to bridge the gap between theory and practice.

The School of Economics collaborated with the University of Oxford to host the 2023 workshop on Economic Development in Africa. The four-day workshop brought together scholars across Africa, Europe, and North America. Thirty one frontier papers on Economic Development in Africa were presented cutting across, Trade, Health, Natural Resources and Environment, Political Economy, Poverty, Productivity, Fiscal & Monetary Policy, and Agriculture among others. Staff and graduate students had parallel training sessions on Survey Design and Data Collection for Gender Analysis (Lead by Cheryl Doss, Tufts University), Introduction to Structural Transformation and Growth (Lead by Douglas Gollin, University of Oxford and Tufts University, and Joe Kaboski, University of Notre Dame), and Randomised Control Trials (Lead by Clare Hofmeyr, J-PAL Africa). Faculty from the University of Tufts and the University of Notre Dame are exploring the possibility of teaming up with faculty at MakSOE to support Macroeconomics at the PhD level. This could extend to supervising PhD research within the space of structural transformation. The funding is likely to be from Structural Transformation and Economic Growth (STEG) of which the two persons I met are the principals behind STEG. The CSAE committed to partnering with MakSOE to offer demand-driven policy advice to GoU and to continue mentoring young faculty and graduate students who are keen to climb the research radar.

The College also collaborated with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Uganda to undertake consultations for 2023 Human Development Report.

The College also got additional exemptions from ACCA Global for the Bachelor of Commerce students. Going forward, students graduating with the Bachelor of Commerce Accounting Option will get nine of the 13 courses required for full ACCA qualification.

The College hosted a breakfast meeting with a section of government agencies to deliberate on areas of mutual interest. This has resulted in MoUs with the Uganda Manufacturer’s Association, the Uganda Revenue Authority and the Kampala Capital City Authority. These initiatives will create platforms through which the parties will among other things:

  • pursue joint research, publishing research findings, write background policy papers, and promote outreach to the relevant state and non-state actors;
  • collaborate on knowledge transfer & staff exchange programs to impart more practical skills on both parties;
  • organize and participate in joint activities such as seminars, workshops and conferences aimed at imparting practical skills, knowledge transfer and re-tooling; and,
  • collaborate on the review and development of the CoBAMS curriculum to reflect more practical/workplace content for students.

This was in addition to a number of outreach activities that were undertaken by various Centers housed at the College. The Entrepreneurship and Innovations Center for example equipped PDM beneficiaries in Makerere North and Katanga with a range of skills in the areas of bookkeeping, marketing, financial management, etc. The Public Investment Management Center has over the course of the year trained over 120 public officials in various aspects of public investment management ranging from ideation and conceptualization to the more advanced economic and financial analysis of public investment projects. The Environment for Development Center undertook seven outreach activities in different parts of the country and organized three policy dialogues on climate change and the environment. The School of Statistics and Planning also cohosted an international conference on “Aging and Health of Older Persons in Sub-Saharan Africa’ in February 2023.

Researchers at the College won six new institutional research grants, and one staff member developed a new academic concept, which is currently under the process of patenting and copyrighting at the Uganda Registration Services Bureau. The College is also leading the process of the PDM Policy Labs and there are ongoing discussions with the Office of the Prime Minister to convert recommendations of the studies into policy actions.

Human resources capacity development and strengthening

Seventeen Colleagues were promoted to various ranks in the University service in the course of the year 2023. The College provided seven (05) in-house capacity development programs for the support and administrative staff and an orientation of newly appointed staff. Fifteen academic staff members are currently pursing doctorate degrees. Seven staff members acquired PhD qualifications while ten were promoted to various ranks in the University Service. The College also received eight new staff in the course of the year.

Team building sessions were organized for the Schools of Economics and Business, but at which strategic direction of the schools was deliberated. The College leadership organized a retreat to deliberate on the strategic human resources and quality assurance issues as a basis for shaping the future of the College.

Financing

In as much as resources are insufficient and a number of facilities require improvement, all outstanding financial obligations were offset in a timely manner.

Conclusion

I want to thank all my colleagues at the College, and the Management and Council, and indeed all our stakeholders. These milestones have been only possible because of all of you. We look forward to maintaining an environment where we can continue to aim higher and do more together.

Eria Hisali (PhD)
PRINCIPAL

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Makerere signs MoU with Leading Universities in East Africa

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In a historic move aimed at revolutionizing postgraduate education and research across East Africa, Makerere University has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with five prominent universities. The agreement, formalized on May 24, 2024 brings together the University of Addis Ababa (AAU), the University of Rwanda (UR), Makerere University (Mak), Universidade Eduardo Mondlane (UEM), the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) and Jönköping University, Sweden.

The newly established collaboration seeks to address critical institutional constraints that have hindered the development of high-quality postgraduate programs. These constraints include a shortage of senior researchers and professors available for supervision, as well as limited funding for research. By pooling resources and expertise, the partnership aims to overcome these challenges and significantly improve the quality of postgraduate education and research output within the member institutions.

While signing the MoU on behalf of Makerere University, The Ag. Vice Chancellor, Prof. Umar
Kakumba emphasized the importance of leveraging collective strengths to enhance academic
excellence and research impact. He also expressed optimism that the collaboration will create
new opportunities for faculty and students to engage in cutting-edge research and contribute to addressing pressing societal challenges.

In Makerere University, the MoU will be implemented by the Departments of Policy and
Development Economics, School of Economics. The signing was witnessed by the Director of International Development Collaboration, at Jönköping University, Lars Hartvigson. He said his institution had been collaborating with the different universities and now sought to make this collaboration a joint venture between the six institutions.

Ag. Vice Chancellor, Prof. Umar Kakumba(3rd L) handing over the signed agreement to Dr. Susan Namirembe Kavuma, Head of Department -Policy and Development Economics. Extreme Left is Prof. Ibrahim Okumu Mike, the Dean of School of Economics.

Goals and Expected Outcomes

The overarching goal of this partnership is to enhance understanding of management and
economic sciences, equipping leaders in public and private sectors with the skills necessary to
drive national and regional growth and development. Specific objectives include:

  • Improving the quality of teaching and supervision in postgraduate programs.
  • Increasing research output among faculty members.
  • Enhancing the utilization of research findings by policymakers in both the public and private sectors.

To achieve these objectives, the partnership has outlined a series of activities, including:

  • Staff exchanges for teaching and supervision roles in postgraduate programs.
  • Student exchanges to participate in training offered by the member universities.
  • Joint research projects and publications.
  • Collaborative research dissemination through conferences and workshops.
  • External examination of PhD and master’s courses by faculty from partner institutions.
  • Capacity-building seminars for staff.
  • Development and delivery of customized short courses.
  • Information exchange on research opportunities and publications.
  • Joint grant proposal writing aligned with the partnership’s objectives.

A Unified Vision for Regional Development
Prof. Eria Hisali, the Principal Of the College of Business and Management Sciences, emphasized the significance of this partnership: “This MoU marks a pivotal moment for higher
education in East Africa. By leveraging our collective strengths, we aim to create a robust
educational framework that not only elevates academic standards but also fosters socio-economic development across the region.”
The partnership is poised to create a dynamic and integrated educational ecosystem, promoting excellence in research and higher education. As the universities embark on this collaborative journey, they set a precedent for regional cooperation and intellectual advancement, ultimately contributing to the broader goals of national and regional development.

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