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The RUFORUM Secretariat appreciates your continued support and wishes you a Happy Holiday as we look forward to more fruitful partnerships in 2017.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

RUFORUM participates in Regional Consultation on Higher Education in Africa


Right to left: Dr. Peter Materu of The MasterCard Foundation; Hon. Mary Teuw Niane, Minister of Higher Education and Research, Senegal and Prof. Etienne Ehile, Executive Director, Association of African Universities at the Meeting Opening Ceremony

Right to left: Dr. Peter Materu of The MasterCard Foundation; Hon. Mary Teuw Niane, Minister of Higher Education and Research, Senegal and Prof. Etienne Ehile, Executive Director, Association of African Universities at the Meeting Opening Ceremony

RUFORUM participated in a Regional Consultation on Higher Education in Africa hosted by the Association of African Universities and the Government of Senegal. The Meeting, which took place on 21-22 November 2016 in Dakar, Senegal, was sponsored by The MasterCard Foundation. It brought together key stakeholders in the higher education sector in Africa and other global actors to pursue two main objectives: 1) Develop a common understanding of the priorities and approaches that should be adopted to improve the relevance and quality of higher education in Africa; and 2) Develop a common understanding of how development partners can complement ongoing efforts, with a view to improving the relevance and quality of higher education in Africa.

In attendance were key stakeholders from regional and continental higher education institutions, African university vice chancellors, development partners, student representatives, and representatives from universities in the US and UK. The meeting was also graced by the Minister of Higher Education and Research in Senegal, H.E. Mary Teuw Niane, who chaired the opening session.

Discussions during the meeting focused on the key trends influencing the higher education sector in Africa as well as challenges. The insights and recommendations arising from these discussions will feed into The MasterCard Foundation’s wider education and learning strategy for Africa.

During the meeting, RUFORUM also used the opportunity to consult with stakeholders on the messages to deliver to the Committee of 10 African Heads of State and Government championing education, science and technology in Africa.

RUFORUM student wins award during the NARO-MAK Conference, 2016


Above: Boris Alladassi receiving his award as Dr. Imeda (center) look on Prof. Bashasa (Right)

Above: Boris Alladassi receiving his award as Dr. Imeda (center) look on Prof. Bashasa (Right)

Boris M. Alladassi a RUFORUM sponsored student from Benin emerged among the three overall winners in the category of Poster presentation. His research presentation focused on “Screening common bean germplasm for leaf and pod resistance to common bacteria blight in Uganda”. RUFORUM supported eighteen international students to participate in the conference as part of research dissemination, mentorship and networking.

The participating students expressed the benefits of the  NARO-MAK Conference  as echoed by Mr. Emmanuel Kodwo Mensah that “this opportunity has allowed me to form new networks for collaboration with other persons and institutions across Africa and beyond”. Emmanuel’s participation and that of other international students increased the inter-cultural diversity of the NARO-MAK Conference, 2016.

Above: Mensah Emmanuel during his presentation at the NAROMAK conference, 2016

Above: Mensah Emmanuel during his presentation at the NAROMAK conference, 2016

The Conference attracted close to 400 participants and was organized by the National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO) and Makerere University under the theme “Agricultural Research and Innovation for Socio-Economic Transformation”.

The conference was opened by Hon. Vincent Ssempijja Bamulangak, Cabinet Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry & Fisheries. Dr. Ambrose Agona the Director General, NARO reaffirmed the need for cutting edge research and called on the Government of Uganda to take up the conference resolutions for implementation to ensure transformation and realization of the vision2040 for Uganda. The Conference was held at the Munyonyo Common Commonwealth Resort Hotel in Uganda.

Saving the Mozambique coconut: Uganda’s Ronald Kityo discovers parasitoids for the coconut whitefly


Delicious: The author enjoying the coconut fruit

Delicious: The author enjoying the coconut fruit

By Ronald Kityo

Armed with an Intra-ACP Mobility scholarship, blessings from my family, but no knowledge of Portuguese, I travelled to the Portuguese speaking country of Mozambique in 2015 to study for a Masters in Crop Protection at Eduardo Mondlane University. This trip was  my first long flight out of Uganda.

The weather in Mozambique was quite unfriendly, being either too cold or too hot depending on the season. Under these same conditions, though, coconuts in Mozambique thrived. The southern Africa country is the fourth largest producer of coconut in Africa. With over 100 products extracted from various parts of the plant, the coconut industry in Mozambique provides jobs for more than 80% of the active workforce and contributes to food security especially in the rural areas along the coast. I had seen coconut trees in Uganda, but I only got to taste the fruit while in Mozambique. What a delight it was.

However, coconut production in Mozambique is threatened by the coconut whitefly (Aleurotrachelus atratus) a tiny destructive pest which over the past six years has accounted for 70% of annual crop losses. The gravity of this threat to the country’s golden crop inspired me to undertake research on how to curb the problem.

My research sought to find parasitoids of the white fly as a means of biological control. Unlike parasites which do not necessarily kill their hosts, parasitoids always do, but no known parasitoids had been associated with this white fly since its discovery in Mozambique in 2011.

Searching for palm leaflets infested by the white fly

Searching for palm leaflets infested by the white fly

The search for parasitoids took me to the southern province of Inhambane, about 500 km away from Maputo. There I discovered, for the first time in Mozambique, four parasitoid species associated with the coconut whitefly. The study made recommendations that, if adopted, will contribute to the sustainable management of the invasive coconut whitefly in Mozambique and other coconut growing areas in Africa.

Studying in a country where the official language was different from that at home was a bit challenging, but thanks to the design of the Intra-ACP Mobility Program, our classes were taught in English. Otherwise, we would have had to spend a full year learning Portuguese before starting the course. We still took classes to learn basic Portuguese. Three months of class were enough for us to acquire basic communication skills and interact with the community around us.

The Intra-ACP Project Coordinator at Eduardo Mondlane University, Dr. Domingos Cugala, was a very good administrator, manager and like a father to me. I was lucky that he became my academic supervisor because he is an entomologist. He was greatly amazed by my openness to learning in his field of interest because my background was in Horticultural Sciences. Thanks to him, I progressed through my research very fast. In fact, by the first month of the first trimester I had already started writing my research proposal alongside the course work. I completed my Masters training ahead of schedule and will be graduating in the last week of November 2016.

 Ronald Kityo was a beneficiary of the Intra- ACP Academic Mobility Project. The project on “Inter-University Cooperation to Train Crop Scientists for African Agriculture (CSAA) was a result of the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture effort to mobilize a consortium of Universities to undertake collaborative action that is envisaged to contributed to enhanced regional learning and quality postgraduate training. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Horticulture from Makerere University, Uganda and is scheduled to graduate (last Week of November 2016) with a Masters in Crop Protection at Eduardo Mondlane University in Maputo. Email: ronaldkityo@gmail.com

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