RUFORUM’s Executive Secretary, Prof. Adipala Ekwamu, and his deputy, Dr. Moses Osiru, met with staff from Okayama University’s Faculty of Agriculture and the Institute of Plant Science and Resources (IPSR) on 10th November 2016 to discuss possible collaboration. The half-day meeting organized by Dr. Arthur Tugume of Makerere University, was held at the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) offices in Kampala, Uganda. Also in attendance were other staff from Makerere University’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and the College of Natural Sciences.
During the meeting, Prof. Wataru Sakamoto, Deputy Director of IPSR highlighted key programs at the institute and various opportunities for collaboration. He noted the long history of Okayama University working with Africa through collaboration with Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) in Kenya including through the African Union-African Innovation-JKUAT and PAUSTI Network Project that brings together JKUAT and the Pan African University of Science, Technology and Innovation (PAUSTI). He also noted the need to expand this collaboration to Makerere University and other partners such as RUFORUM. He highlighted IPSR’s research experience on plant stress science, barley, wild plants, and future crops.
Prof. Yasutaka Kubo, Vice Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture at Okayama University, noted that his faculty has experience in international collaboration and looks forward to receiving more graduate students from Africa.
On his part, Prof. Adipala Ekwamu shared RUFORUM’s focus on strengthening North-South partnerships to improve centers of excellence in Africa and the importance of staff and student mobility to improve the quality of higher education on the continent. He called for stronger collaboration between higher education institutions in Africa and Japan.