Makerere University in partnership with University of Pretoria on 14th September 2021 hosted the Future Africa’s Early Career Research Leader Fellowship (ECRLF) Dissemination Workshop in the Central Teaching Facility 2 (CTF 2) Auditorium and virtually. ECRLF’s aim is to offer an opportunity for development of research leaders who will be able to fill a critical gap in the African research capacity ecosystem. This fellowship program is offered by the University of Pretoria with support from the Carnegie Corporation of New York.
The Principal Investigator (PI) of the ECRLF program at Makerere University and Lecturer in the Department of Population Studies, Dr. John A. Mushomi, thanked Future Africa for the first-of-its-kind fellowship accorded to young African academics.
“We are used to taking leave from academia at a much later time in life, where we have professors taking their sabbaticals, but within five years of finishing my doctorate, I was given an opportunity to spend two years at the University of Pretoria and interact with academics from across different disciplines and universities in Africa” explained Dr. Mushomi.
In this respect, he thanked the Carnegie Corporation of New York for sponsoring the ECRLF and the University of Pretoria for hosting the fellowship. He equally thanked Dr. Cori Wielenga from the University of Pretoria for the mentorship accorded to him during the fellowship.
“We had the opportunity to interact with fifteen researchers from different disciplines and spent time learning and training together, and we have not been the same since. We were not just invited to participate but to also co-create what we think is the future of African academic leadership” added Dr. Mushomi.
Speaking on behalf of Future Africa, Rachel Fischer said, “In particular we see with this conference today our very important objective to work with a transdisciplinary mindset and engagement towards forming partnerships, and to collaborate across various disciplines.”
She added that the shift from physical to virtual and online collaboration is an active endeavour towards breaking down silos within disciplines, partnerships as well as across various countries on the African continent. The outcomes from such partnerships, she noted, would allow all stakeholders to have a peaceful and secure Africa that is stable and fully functional, while ensuring that the values and ideals of Africa are prioritised.
The Dean, School of Statistics and Planning (SSP), Dr. James Wokadala, who was represented by the Head, Department of Population Studies, Dr. Stephen Wandera noted in his remarks that SSP encourages staff to go beyond conducting research and publishing to mentoring students into the next generation of African academics by co-publishing with them.
In line with the workshop he thanked the University of Pretoria for the partnership, noting that “collaboration among African academics helps us to build more comparative studies across the continent, allowing colleagues to learn from each other the best practices and opportunities that can move us forward.”
He congratulated Dr. John Mushomi upon completing his post-doctoral research experience at UP, which culminated into the exciting workshop.
Officially opening the workshop, the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic Affairs)-DVCAA, Dr. Umar Kakumba applauded the University of Pretoria supported by the Carnegie Corporation of New York for the great capacity development for future academia and African leaders. The workshop was based on the theme, History Meets Demography: Multi-Disciplinary Inquiry on Poverty, Resource.
“I applaud the University of Pretoria on this move and demonstrating the great potential that Africa has, especially the academic institutions, in mobilising resources, bringing together the African scholars and giving them an opportunity to explore and forge South-to-South collaboration” remarked Dr. Kakumba.
He added that South-to-South collaborations help to build a solid academia across the continent, enabling them to find solutions to emerging problems of African societies. The DVCAA noted that COVID-19 had brought to light the vulnerability of Africa’s dependence on the global North to solve her fundamental problems as well as the greater role that universities ought to play.
“And we cannot play this role as Universities outside the shadows of partnerships between our institutions, and without building the huge capacity of early career researchers” he observed.
The DVCAA therefore noted that workshop’s theme and its concerns about issues of history and demography were source of great hope, especially given its transdisciplinary nature.
“We are able to dialogue on history and demography and see how we can address issues of poverty in light of our past experiences as well as interrogate the nature of our population and the characteristics that affect our society in various ways” he stated.
In his welcome message, Prof. Cheikh Mbow, Future Africa Director at the University of Pretoria noted that his organization had over the years been holding academic workshops on different topics across different African countries.
“The reason why were are trying to empower the early career scientists is actually to be able to close the loop in terms of availing science in order to package and deliver knowledge to everyone who needs it, particularly the stakeholders.
“Today’s topic is very timely. It’s about poverty in Africa, it’s about resources in Africa, and it’s about mobility in Africa. The poverty line which had come to be stable at some point or decreasing quite slowly over the projected years to come has just suddenly gone into a spike – Africa now has more than 50 million new poor people coming into the statistics of the World Bank” remarked Prof. Mbow.
He concluded by noting that research is not only about hardcore science but looking at all other aspects of life as contributors to knowledge production. “The transdiciplinary theme of the workshop is one of the most important discussions that ECRLF could have.”
The workshop featured four parallel sessions that covered;
- Governance, Security, Peace and Conflict I
- Mining, Resource, Extraction and Policy frameworks
- Global Trends in Interdisciplinary Research and Governance, Security, Peace and Conflict II and
- Education and Development and Resource extraction and Policy frameworks II
During the closing ceremony, Dr. Cori Wielenga on behalf of ECRLF thanked participants for the wonderful conference proceedings as fostered by Dr. Mushomi’s involvement with the University of Pretoria.
“The purpose of this fellowship and its collaboration is to promote interdisciplinary research as well as collaboration between institutions on the continent and in this regard Dr. Mushomi has made excellent use of the fellowship to meet its objectives including through this conference” she elaborated.
The program mentor from UP added that her collaborative work with Dr. Mushomi was particularly in the areas of resources, identity and migration, which remain a challenge to Africa and the entire globe.
Dr. Wielanga thanked Makerere University for supporting the event, and Dr. Mushomi as well as the coordination team for organizing a successful hybrid event. “We do hope that we will be able to meet in person in the near future as we deepen the collaboration between our institutions.”
Addressing participants, the Principal, College of Business and Management Sciences (CoBAMS), Dr. Eria Hisali congratulated Dr. Mushomi upon successfully convening the hybrid workshop and extended his appreciation to the funding partners for supporting both the event and work of early career researchers.
In terms of providing sustainability to the collaboration, Dr. Hisali appealed to all the partners to regard the day’s workshop as a starting point and work towards strengthening their collaborations so that a lot more work can be done in other fields of research.
He equally appealed to the collaborating parties to use the findings generated thus far to engage policy makers, civil society and the private sector under a framework of policy labs, at least once every quarter. The Principal further called for the integration of students into research activities, as a way of creating multiplier effects that can continue to inform policy debates.
“As the College of Business and Mangement Sciences, we commit that out of our small grants research programme, we should be able to take up funding to further studies in some of these areas” concluded Dr. Hisali.
Delivering the closing remarks, the Principal College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS), Dr. Josephine Ahikire noted that interdisciplinarity increases the University’s relevance to society by bringing forth perspectives that enrich the understanding what is at stake in terms of development challenges.
“It is very exciting that we are re-centering history as a key perspective in whatever we do as a university. We know that in the past decade, history had been relegated as a study of the past but actually, history is not just a study of the past, it is the understanding of the totality of humanity for you to be able to actually craft a way forward” Dr. Ahikire explained.
The Principal noted that resource conflicts and contestations are at the heart of human existence. As such, she opined that issues such as citizenship, tribe and nation were very important and the workshop had commendably provided a space where early career researchers can try to provide answers to questions of the time on the African continent.
“A research-led university is one where the people engage intellectually. These engagements improve the academic environment for staff as well as students” she concluded.
The abstracts and presentations from the workshop will contribute to an edited book to be published by Palgrave.
Please click the embedded video below to view proceedings from the Workshop
Session 1A: Governance, Security, Peace and Conflict I
Session 2A: Global Trends in Interdisciplinary Research and Governance, Security, Peace and Conflict II
Commercialization of Agriculture Still Low in Uganda
A study conducted by researchers from the School of Economics, College of Business and Management Sciences (CoBAMS) has revealed that commercialization of Maize and Cassava is still low in the country. The findings are an outcome of a year-long study on commercialization of Agriculture in Uganda. The research was conducted by Dr. Susan Kavuma and Mr. Emmanuel Keith Kisaame, with funding from 50×2030 Initiative and International Fund for Agricultural Development.
The Northern region has been found to be the biggest commercial supplier of Cassava in the country, while maize is the biggest export crop in the country.
The study established that the level of commercialization among maize and cassava farmers is very low, estimated at 14 percent and 11 percent, respectively. Figures show that most Ugandans are still practicing subsistence farming of maize at 79.9% while 5.7% Ugandans are practicing semi-commercialized farming and only 14.4 % are engaged in commercial farming of Maize, the research reveals. When it comes to cassava, only 10.9% of the population is engaged in commercial farming while the bulk of the farmers 80.8% are subsistence farmers. Only 8.2% are semi-commercial farmers.
“The Current National Development Plan III emphases agro-industrialization which can only be achieved with increased agricultural production and productivity,” Dr. Kavuma noted.
The central region has a higher level of commercialization because of factors including farm size, land productivity, land tenure among others. Dr. Kavuma said more farmers holding freehold titles were seen to participate more in commercialization as opposed to those holding customary and lease hold ones. The report notes that there are fewer women in commercialization of agriculture.
Speaking during the dissemination of the report at the College of Business and Management Sciences on January 19, 2022, the Principal, Prof. Eria Hisali thanked the researchers for their contribution to the field of knowledge and also thanked the International Fund for Agricultural Development for sponsoring the research.
The discussion, he said was timely because the country is grappling with challenges in the economy which include transforming the lives of Ugandans from a low income base to a high income economy. “Our target over the NDPIII period is grow the income of each house hold to Shs20 million a year including agricultural households,” he said. The Principal said this cannot be achieved without undertaking research in this sector.
“Commercialization of agriculture will ensure we get the needed agro mass input for industrialization. Commercialization will help us create jobs at the household levels,” Prof. Hisali added.
Prof. Hisali advised the research team draft a policy paper which will feed into the ongoing discussions of how best to commercialize agriculture at the national level
He also asked the team to ensure they publish in an internationally recognized journal, which will enable the researchers reach a wider audience.
“We shall be happy to also see some of these findings informing the curriculum,” he concluded.
Commercialization of Agriculture remains low despite the fact that it is the backbone of many developing economies because of its role on employment, food security and linkages to other sectors such as industry.
Although agriculture continues to be the dominant employer (68%), major source of export earnings (54%) and providing raw materials to the manufacturing sector (40%), it remains mainly subsistence estimated at 52% (UBOS, 2021).
So the team set out to probe the factors affecting commercialization of agriculture and the low usage of agricultural date.
The research also showed that commercialization of maize production is influenced by the gender of the household head, regional location of the household, level of land productivity, type of soil and marital status.
Commercialization of cassava production on the other hand is influenced by the household size, land productivity and value of assets.
CoBAMS October – December 2021 Newsletter
The CoBAMS Newsletter highlights the events and activities that took place in the College during the months of October to December 2021.
Graduate Admission Test (GAT) Candidates Recommended for Admission to MBA 2021/2022
The School of Business, College of Business and Management Sciences (CoBAMS), Makerere University, wishes to inform the following candidates who sat for the Graduate Admission Test (GAT) on 4th December 2021 that they have been recommended for admission to the Master of Business Administration programme 2021/2022.
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