At a prominent meeting of African Union (AU) officials and higher education actors from across the continent, held at the Birchwood Hotel and OR Tambo Conference Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa, between 23-24 November, the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) announced a landmark operational move to Western Africa.
As part of a consultation exercise with Deans and Principals of African Schools and Faculties of Agriculture and related Sciences, the announcement heralded the development of the organisation’s new five-year strategic business plan for 2016-2020. The decision to expand its operational coverage from traditionally Eastern, Central and Southern Africa was reached following ground-breaking recommendations from RUFORUM’s biennial conference held in Maputo, Mozambique, in July this year and by the signing of a memorandum of understanding with the AU Commission.
Having recently extended its research and training linkages to several countries in Western Africa, RUFORUM will now focus more closely on three anchor countries – Benin, Ghana and Nigeria – as part of a phased growth plan that has seen its higher education network increase from 10 universities in five African countries in 2004, to 46 universities in 22 nations, with the additionally announced admission of: University of Pretoria, South Africa; Nelson Mandela Institute of Science & Technology, Tanzania; University d’Abomey Calavi, Benin; University of Cape Coast, Ghana; and the University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria.
Commenting after the announcement, Professor Adipala Ekwamu, the Executive Secretary of RUFORUM, remarked: “This landmark decision by RUFORUM is a great day for agriculture in Western Africa. It augments RUFORUM’s role as the voice of higher agricultural education across the continent, as part of a phased organisational expansion that builds upon our existing shared institutional experiences and extends our collective footprint.” Download full press release
RUFORUM organized a side event at the ongoing FARA 15th anniversary celebrations in Johannesburg, South Africa. The two day event which was a consultation with deans and principals of African Schools/faculties and related sciences was summarized with the launch of the Africa Journal of Rural Development and the announcement of the West Africa as new region to the RUFORUM network. This was at a colorful dinner hosted by RUFORUM with the former Minister of Agriculture in South Africa Mrs. Thoko Didiza and Her Excellency Tumusiime Rhoad Peace is the Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture at the African Union in attendance.
What the African Journal for Development is all about
The African Journal for Development (AJRD), is an online journal published 2-3 times a year. It is led by Stellenbosch University in South Africa which doubles as the secretariat. It will publish, among others academic and non, academic action research issues. The main purpose of this journal is to share knowledge on all aspects that contribute to sustainable rural development especially in Africa. It aims to share lessons and experiences on working with rural communities to improve agricultural productivity and livelihoods. The Journal secretariat in Stellenbosch University is established by RUFORUM and the Centre for Coordination of Agricultural research and Development for Southern Africa (CCARDESA). The editorial team is made up of a 12 man team mainly from the Academia in the African and Caribbean regions.
The journal was official launched by Hon. Thoko Didiza the former minister of Agriculture for the republic of South Africa who said that Access to land, technology, information, credit, infrastructure, market research and extension services are key for the success of Agriculture in Africa. She also mentioned the value and role of technology in education must not be ignored. She concluded by asking how many African students confidently quote African Scholars who have published their work? With only 0.7% of the Global research output coming from Africa, so much as to be done by our scholars to add value to the continent.
West Africa Joins the RUFORUM Network.
Prior to the launch of the African Journal for Development (AJRD), Prof. Adipala Ekwamu the executive secretary for RUFORUM announced West Africa as a new region to the RUFORUM network. He said that RUFORUM has selected 3 anchor countries; Benin, Ghana and Nigeria and added the Universities of Cape Coast and Port Harcourt respectively. He said that there is an admission of the forth University to the network which is the University of Pretoria. Also from South Africa, the Nelson Mandela Institute for education and rural development was added to the network. RUFORUM now has a total of 46 Universities as members. Dr. Frans Swanaepoel challenged RUFORUM to help University management carry out their mandate for quality research and training in Africa.