Makerere University (Mak) is due to celebrate a century of existence in 2022. Among the significant highlights of these centenary celebrations, the University plans to publish an easy-to-read and well-documented book that critically reviews its successes in living to the Motto: “We Build for the Future”, since its inception in 1922 as a technical institute. Under this theme, the book will address several sub-themes and issues such as: How Makerere has met the changing East African market needs for skilled labour since 1922 and how, as a premier regional university, it is now positioned to develop research leadership in the region; whether or not Makerere has sustained its research leadership status as a postcolonial university that had influenced other sub-Saharan universities, and how this is reflected in the curricula What are the new courses that have emerged to locate Makerere as a nation-building institution? What ground-breaking researches and knowledge is being produced in the University? What has been the relationship between the University and the states it was built to serve, and how has this affected Makerere‘s performance over the years? Since a university that has come of age is assessed based on its ability to be independent/autonomous, how has Makerere performed? What funding strategies are in place in this regard? What has emerged as Makerere‘s identity: an ivory tower or a service university that offers service to empower the hinterlands? What are Makerere‘s overall influence and image in the region, and what explains this? What would Makerere like to become in the next 100 years? These are some of the broad questions to guide the formulation of thoughts for the chapters from diverse disciplinary perspectives.
EDITORS: ABK Kasozi, Josephine Ahikire and Dominica Dipio
Submission of abstracts (Max. 500 words): December 31, 2021
Submission of draft chapters (Max 10,000 words): March 30, 2022
Submission of Final Chapters: June 30, 2022
Book Publication – June to October 2022
Send abstracts to: mak100.bookproject[at]mak.ac.ug
Copy to: josephine.ahikire[at]mak.ac.ug, abkkasozi[at]yahoo.com, ahikirejosephine[at]gmail.com
THE THEMES AND BROAD AREAS OF FOCUS
Section 1: Providing skilled human resources for East African Society
(i)The technical school which opened in 1921
The colonial state established Makerere Technical School to produce low-level technicians. The school taught skills needed by the East African countries of Kenya, Uganda, Tanganyika, and Zanzibar. Students were taught carpentry, building, general mechanics, and some tailoring. Many of the trainees were absorbed by the E. African states and their markets. The question to answer by writers for this section is: What was the trajectory of the technical school and its offshoots in enhancing the lifestyles of the people of East Africa?
(ii) Makerere College and Kampala Technical College
A formal College was founded in 1922 as “Uganda Technical College”, but in the same year, the College was renamed Makerere College, teaching technical subjects and courses in education and the arts. The writers on this section should focus on the demands for skilled labour; what Makerere was called upon to deliver, and whether Makerere truly built the future of the parties involved. In 1928, vocational courses were separated from the College and were transferred to “Kampala Technical College”. What became of the latter College, and were vocational courses wholly divorced from the university system?
(iii) Makerere graduates to university status, 1949
The 1945 Judge Asquith’s Report on higher education gave the blueprint for establishing institutions of higher learning in British African colonies to provide high-level African civil servants such as doctors, engineers, agriculturalists, a few lawyers, and production of knowledge through research to the colonial states. In 1949, the institution became Makerere College, the University of East Africa, giving certificates of the University of London. When Makerere became a university, it assumed, like other universities, multiple functions. These functions included the production of knowledge for development, skilled and thinking individuals who would use known wisdom to create better knowledge and improve themselves and their societies. The University College was expected to be the leading teaching and innovation centre in East Africa. The areas to review in this section are the expectations of the colonial officers and their African collaborators who worked hard to establish the University. Did the institution fulfil those expectations? Did their aims go beyond human resource production? How did the production of graduates by Makerere change East African society in the eleven years before independence? The writers should assess the colonial workforce needs from 1935 to 1960, find out what Makerere was called upon to produce and whether it achieved those targets.
(iv) Skills needed for independent East Africa
In the period 1950 to 1963, Makerere remained the only University College for East Africa. There was an increased demand for educated graduates in almost all disciplines, including science and humanities-based ones. Makerere was called upon to produce graduates to increase educated Africans in the civil service and the private sector.
The education Makerere was giving was ideology-free, which Kenya and Uganda did not object to. But Tanzania felt that the instruction given must enhance patriotism and service to communities. Chapters dealing with topics in this section must review the needs of the three East African states in the period 1950 to 1965 and assess the place of Makerere therein.
(v) Skills needed for the digital age
From around 1980 through the current period, the digital age has transformed how goods and services are produced and delivered. It is only those societies that use technology that are likely to sustain a reasonable standard of living. To what extent has Makerere transformed its activities to exploit the digital age for itself and the society it serves.
Section II: Production of knowledge through research and innovation
When Makerere became a university, it was expected to produce and expand knowledge by providing researchers with facilities for creating, disseminating, storing information and data for use by society and institutions of higher learning. Although not emphasized as its primary task, the Asquith Report identified research as one of the functions of the various university colleges the British Empire was to establish in Africa. Has Makerere contributed to knowledge, the development and improvement of the thinking capacity of its target areas? Writers on this section have several sub-themes and therefore chapters to think about, including:
- Writers, poets, and actors
In the period 1950 to 1970, Makerere-based writers contributed to the dissemination of knowledge. These writers included Ngugi was Thiong’o, Okot p’Btek, Peter Nazareth, Ali Mazrui, Audrey Richards, Paul Theroux, V.S. Naipaul, Mahmood Mamdani, Samwiri Karugire, Mathia M. Kiwanuka, Phares Mutibwa and others. A chapter to assess the contribution to knowledge by Makerere staff and students in this period would say a lot about how the university contributed to building an informed society in East Africa.
- Visual Artists
Since 1940, the Margaret Trowell School of Fine has produced artists whose work has contributed to the shaping of Makerere University’s social consciousness. It has documented Makerere’s challenges and successes over the years. The art works, both in storage in the Makerere Art Gallery and those in private and public spaces, reveal Makerere as an enduring institution which has used every opportunity to push its research agenda. Artists such as Gregory Maloba, Sam Ntiro, Elimo Njau, Francis Nnaggenda and Kefa Ssempangi have, through their work, provided a variety of perspectives on Makerere’s history. A narrative of Makerere University’s journey of ten decades through the lens of Makerere Artists is proposed.
- Knowledge production
There was a lot of knowledge produced at the East African Institute of Social Research (now MISR), the Medical School and the Faculty of Agriculture from 1950 to 1970. A survey of what was achieved in research at Makerere in that period would add to our knowledge of the institution’s contribution to knowledge in East Africa.
- Management of research and post-graduate production
Management of research and production of high-level person power such as PhD holders is a topic that a book on the achievements of Makerere should highlight. To what extent has Makerere contributed to developing high-level human resources and creating the next generation of knowledge producers?
Section III: Makerere’s contribution to democratic governance and the building of social institutions in East Africa
Universities contribute to democratic governance and the building of social and political institutions by equipping their graduates with the intellectual skills to understand and analyze social and political issues before taking appropriate positions. Makerere has supplied East Africa with political leaders, including presidents, prime ministers, ministers, judges and journalists. Writers of chapters in this section might organize these achievements by roles such as:
- Political leaders
- Religious leaders
- Institutional developers
- Famous politicians and political thinkers
Section IV: Makerere’s contribution to the economic development of East Africa
Universities support economic growth by the general training of the labour force and providing knowledge linked to a country’s innovation system. This is more so now when most critical development is knowledge-based; universities should be the reservoirs of intellectuals and experts. To what extent has Makerere supplied the market with skills and knowledge to move East African economies forward? Writers for this section need to have a thorough understanding of East African economies and the extent to which the university has influenced their performances.
Section V: Makerere and Curriculum Development in East Africa
Universities strengthen lower levels of education by training the needed teaching personnel and triggering relevant curriculum changes at the lower levels of education. Lower-level syllabuses are structured to fit into the admission requirements of universities. The question to ask is: To what extent has Makerere influenced what is taught at the lower levels of education? Should Makerere take credit or blame for the slow curriculum development and the failure of Africanising what is taught in East African schools and universities?
Section VI: Challenges
There are several challenges to Makerere’s ability to build the future for a society that contributors must investigate if readers are to participate in appreciating the successes or failures of Makerere University.
- Governance of the University
The governance of a university is key to the delivery of good higher education. Like other universities, Makerere has passed through several hiccups in its desire to provide higher education.
Though it is difficult to govern institutions differently — or better – than the way society is managed, we expect higher education institutions to handle themselves well, to be autonomous but at the same time accountable to the public in the way they manage their financial and academic processes. Higher education institutions, particularly universities, must accept the Government as the final protector of the public good in higher education to achieve autonomy and accountability. In Uganda the oversight roles of the Auditor General for financial matters and the National Council for Higher Education must be accepted. At the same time, governments must understand that universities perform best when they are institutionally free and protected from state micromanagement. The writers in this section must survey the history of how the University has been governed and how it has passed through the East African region’s various political storms since 1922.
- The university and the Uganda state
The history of the current university in Uganda is tied to, and reflects, the rocky history of the Uganda state since the 1945 anti-colonial riots. The Ugandan university has prospered and declined amidst the fortunes of the Uganda state. Like other African countries, university education was introduced in Uganda to create an intelligent collaborating elite to manage the colonial state. After independence, the post-colonial leaders were determined to build a collaborating middle class and avoid the emergence of a hostile educated elite. A well-researched chapter on the university’s relations with the state between 1922 and 2022 would be an excellent monument to reveal how Makerere survived and built a society in that period.
- Funding of the University, 1922-2022
The funding of Makerere is key to understanding almost all the challenges the university has faced in the past and is meeting now. Writers for this section should study the model the colonial state used in funding Makerere; its subsequent alteration by the 1970 Act to a state-driven one; the failure of the state to finance the institution fully; the throwing of the university to the waves of the market in the 1980s; the subsequent shortage of funds and the impact of the Structural Adjustment “Conditionalities” on Makerere. Although the state allowed the market to operate in the financing of Makerere, the state retained its power to control the institution’s financial policy. Currently, most public universities have accumulated deficits. After such a review, it is necessary to point out what went right or wrong and what course the institution should take in financing all its activities.
- Staff and Student strikes
Writers on this section should review staff and student strikes at Makerere, beginning with the 1928 and 1952 food strikes to the many activists from the 1980s when the university implemented neoliberal policies to the current period. The core causes of these strikes are funding, relations with external forces and mismanagement. To write Makerere’s contribution to society, we must study its problems, shortcoming and the constraints under which it operates.
- The type of University Makerere has been and should be in the next century
Carol Sucherman poses an interesting question, which Mahmood Mamdani grappled with at the University of Cape Town. Has Makerere been a foreign (European) university in Africa or an African university? In his many speeches in Parliament, Abu Mayanja emphasized the Africanisation of the curriculum as a basis of decolonizing the minds of Ugandan youths. It seems that this is an area where Makerere has not entirely constructed ideas for Africanising the University. But we cannot blame the institution for this failure. The current African university was an outgrowth of the European university. Universities as chartered communities of learners, teachers and knowledge producers developed over time from the Islamic through the medieval and enlightenment periods. Some of the earliest centres of learning included Athens ((500-300 BC), Alexandria (288 BC- 650 AD), Qarawiyyin (859 -), Al-Azhar 970-) and Timbuktu (C12th – C18th). Many of these learning centres became corporate entities when rulers gave them charters or guarantees of freedom to teach and search for knowledge unhindered. The original aim of many universities founded in Europe before 1800 was to produce and defend the values and social legitimation of the founders of a given institution. The modern western university evolved out of religious centres of learning, mainly Christian Cathedral schools for the clergy. These included Bologna (1088), Salamanca (1134), Paris (1150), Oxford (1167), Cambridge (1209) and others. Later, other disciplines were added to theology for study as scholars realized that the development of the mind involved the mastery of multiple domains (Newman,1907). Al-Azhar, founded earlier in 970AD in Egypt, stuck to only religious teaching and research until the C19th.
In Uganda and many post-colonial states, higher education imitated and followed western traditions. Almost all university studies delivered at Makerere followed and were certified by a western institution, the University of London, whose certificates Makerere graduates received until 1963. The administration of the university and its curriculum followed and was never allowed to undermine the colonial administration, and any dissenting lecturers (like Mary Parker, who criticized the colonial policies of Kenya in her lectures) were not permitted to teach. With independence, it was expected that Makerere would develop a robust institutional personality, chart its course by defining what type of university it wished to be and serve society accordingly.
Umar Kakumba (PhD)
DEPUTY VICE CHANCELLOR (ACADEMIC AFFAIRS)/
CHAIRPERSON, MAK@100 PROGRAMME SUB-COMMITTEE
 Abu K. Mayanja: Several speeches in Parliament e.g Hansard: “Motion: 1965/66 – Estimates of Expenditure”, 6th July 1965, p. 2802; Hansard: “Motion – Address in Reply to the Presidential Speech.” January7, 1966 pp. 295 – 297; Hansard: Motion: Estimates of Expenditure- Ministry of Education, 6th July 1965, pp.2799-2806.
African Universities urged on developing comprehensive safeguarding policies with critical elements of safety & protection
The Vice Chancellor of Makerere University, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe has urged Universities and other institutions of higher learning in Africa to embrace the approach of having comprehensive safeguarding policies where important elements of safety and protection are considered and all the common forms of risk, abuse and harm are emphasized.
This was during the Vice Chancellors’ Forum, one of the high powered side events of the RUFORUM Annual General Meeting that provides significant platforms for Vice Chancellors of all RUFORUM member Universities to engage, discuss, deliberate and guide on how universities, government and development partners can support the RUFORUM vision and mission of becoming a leader in higher agricultural education.
The Vice Chancellors’ Forum 2023 that was held in Yaoundé Cameroon during the 19th RUFORUM Annual General Meeting that proceeded from 28th October- 2nd November 2023 was the most attended ever with over 150 Vice Chancellors from 40 African countries and other parts of the world. The Forum deliberated on emerging and contemporary issues in higher education to strengthen university systems, promote inclusion and enhance the relevance of universities in national and regional development.
In her welcome speech, Prof. Theresia Nkuo-Akenji, RUFORUM Board Chair and Vice Chancellor University of Bamenda, Cameroon welcomed all Vice chancellors in attendance and acknowledged their strong commitment to the RUFORUM as a Network. She also appreciated the efforts of the Vice Chancellors in setting the agenda for the network to ensure its competitiveness.
According to her, RUFORUM has come of age but growth across every life’s journey comes along with its own challenges and opportunities. She therefore thanked all the Vice Chancellors that have committed and continue to clear the membership fees in time on annual basis. “Your contribution of US$5,000 is what keeps the Secretariat operational,” she said.
Prof. Theresia Nkuo-Akenji drew the attention of the Vice Chancellors to some critical issues such as low institutional burn-out rates of grant funding, the terrible completion rate of graduate students across the network, curriculum reviews that do not incorporate innovative academic programmes and policies that do not respond to global discourses. Noting that such issues have posed serious barriers achieving the network’s objectives.
She urged all universities to collectively support the RUFORUM Secretariat during resource mobilization. “It is important to note that RUFORUM Secretariat is not a donor as many of the members might perceive it. Rather, RUFORUM Secretariat works with all of us to raise resources that can either be sub-granted and/or directly disbursed by the funding agency to each of the universities that is participating. The Secretariat can support the universities efforts in training and ideation processes as well as brokering partnerships with ease. However, we need to ensure that we are all cooperative,” She stated. Presenting a lead paper titled, Enhancing Safeguarding at institutions of higher Learning, Prof. Nawangwe noted that Makerere University is committed to being a professionally governed, equitable, inclusive and gender mainstreamed institution. In line with this commitment, Makerere University has cited the need to have a comprehensive safe guarding policy that is intentional in ensuring that important elements of safety and protection are considered and all the common forms of risk, abuse and harm are emphasized.
According to Prof. Nawangwe, over the years Makerere University has built a record of governing and administrative policies and frameworks such as the Makerere University Policy and Regulations against Sexual Harassment, Makerere University Gender Equity Policy, the Student Accommodation Policy, the Risk Management Plan, the Policy on Persons with Disabilities, the Human Resources Manual as amended, Information and Communication Technology Policy which addresses issues of cyber security and abuse and the Open Distance and E-learning Policy. However, these do not adequately and comprehensively address the key elements of safety and protection.
“These policies only feature identification and prevention as elements of safeguarding hence guidance on the report procedures are least provided for. They much highlight emotional risk and harm and neglect cyber security threats, financial exploitation, limitation of academic freedoms for staff and students,” he said.
“All in all, the policies lack some of the internationally considered forms of risk, abuse and harm. In Africa, we are the second recipients of refugees in the whole world, but we lack anything about protecting refugees in our policies and some of the policies do not have the strategic plans to address any form of risk, abuse and harm,” he added.
He mentioned that the COVID 19 pandemic escalated the issue of mental health with so many cases of mental illnesses globally, an indicator that it is only in a safe and protected environment that people are mentally healthy to be fully creative and innovative.
The Vice Chancellors Forum 2023 also deliberated on topics such as exploring mechanisms for integrating universities into national and regional innovation systems and aligning African agricultural higher education to the future-of-work on the continent and globally.
Presenting on behalf of Prof. Bonang Mohale, Chancellor, University of Free State, South Africa, Agnes W. Mwang’ombe, a Professor Emeritus of Plant Pathology- Department of Plant Science and Crop Protection- University of Free State said that university education has become very competitive yet it is crucial for universities to remain ahead and relevant to their clients and other stakeholders through inclusive virtual modes that have set in new dimensions such as in-house pool of talent that in most cases await to be tapped. She mentioned that it is high time for Universities to shun away from the rampant blame games of how African graduates are not ready to tackle community challenges and focus on revamping, modifying and creating new systems of conducting research.
“As universities, we are expected to produce relevant information, knowledge, technologies, and innovations to fulfill aspirations; develop mechanisms to tap on human resource and mobilize research funds for the university. There is need for actual retooling of academic staff to be able to harness the various competences and skills represented in the universities including students through building alliances and effective teams to grant calls with wider society impact,” she said.
In the context of food and nutrition insecurity, Prof. Mwang’ombe noted that the changing climate has dwindled natural resources and increased social and economic inequalities hence raising concerns for more health food systems and eco-system services. She therefore called for collective efforts towards building resilience for sustainable agriculture and economic empowerment of those most affected by climate change through bio diversity restoration using natural based solutions.
“Food and nutrition is constrained by many factors including the heavy reliance on very few staple crops yet Africa has the diversity of crops some of which can handle some of the current situations,” she noted.
Painting a picture of the Future of Work for a competitive Africa, Prof. Peter Kamwi Matengu, Vice Chancellor, University of Namibia, was concerned about the role of higher education in developing interventions as a mitigating factor towards decreasing jobs in the agricultural sector. According to him, a report published in 2023 by the World Economic Forum recorded 673 million jobs across the globe. It is however expected that this number will decline by 83 million hence creating a job deficit of about 2%.
“It is not surprising that the field of agriculture which has increasingly been mechanized and automated will lose up to 60% of the jobs. The World Economic Forum report also notes that although the automation in Agriculture will create up to 25% of jobs, it is also expected that 75% of job will be lost in Africa if there is no intervention of up scaling and re scaling. This also means that 44% of the workers whose skills need to be upgraded will face a disruption,” he said.
Prof. Kamwi Matengu called upon universities in Africa to undertake relevant, impactful, responsive research that majorly focus on participation. “ The kind of research, I am talking about should enable us translate our knowledge into practice and African education should focus on national self- reliance and train people to be internationally competitive and to be very aware that we have the responsibility of the welfare of everyone,” he emphasized. The Vice Chancellors’ Forum 2023 was moderated by Prof. Roger Tsafack Nanfosso, Vice Chancellor, University of Dschang and Canon Prof. Olivia Nassaka Banja, Vice Chancellor of Ndejje University.
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.
General1 week ago
Dates for 74th Graduation Ceremony
General1 week ago
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
Health2 weeks ago
MNCH e-Post Issue 121: Learning from Nsambya Hospital Human Milk Bank to inform national scale-up & save preterm babies
General2 weeks ago
Dr. Onoria, Members of Staff Appeals Tribunal Sworn In
Education1 week ago
Police approves new compulsory soft skills training course