Science, technology and innovation is critical for responding to the challenges of African agriculture and to elevate its performance and contribution towards economic development and poverty alleviation. Universities have a key role to play in producing the next generation of the African workforce, including researchers/scientists, extension and advisory service practitioners, input dealers and other development practitioners that are expected to generate, translate, extend and share knowledge with rural farmers to increase agricultural productivity, agribusiness and incomes. Trained human resources in a wide range of topics, aligned to the Science Agenda for African Agriculture, are central to stimulating science-based technology innovation. Research has shown the returns to investment in higher education are around 20%, and in Africa closer to 30% (Borland et al., 2000; Montenegro and Patrinos, 2013; USAID, 2014). These are higher returns to investments than in both secondary and primary education.
Although higher education enrolment and graduation rates have increased considerably gross enrolment ratios remain low, with only 6% of Africans enrolled in universities (Bloom et al., 2006) compared to 40% in Latin America and 94% in North America. Moreover, the increase has come at the expense of quality with expenditure per student falling significantly. There is thus an urgent need to invest in higher education and for higher education to transform itself to produce the quality of graduates and knowledge needed to achieve the African Unions Agenda 2063.
27-29 August, Windhoek Namibia
We are pleased to announce the RUFORUM 11th Annual General Meeting (AGM) that will take place 27-29 August, 2015 in Windhoek, Namibia. This year’s AGM will be hosted by the Government of Namibia and University of Namibia. The RUFORUM AGM provides a platform for RUFORUM member universities to lesson learn from each other and non-member universities as well as key stakeholders in higher education and agricultural development who are normally invited to attend as observers.
This Year’s AGM comes on the heels of Celebrations that marked 10 years of RUFORUM’s existence and contribution to the Higher Education and Agriculture Sectors in Africa. RUFORUM is also currently finalizing its Strategic Business Plan (2015-2020). The 11th AGM will provide a platform for mobilizing participation of African Universities in Africa’s development agenda. The convening will be attended by Vice-Chancellors/Presidents and Principals/Deans from members (including full member universities and associate member universities) and other key invited stakeholders. Updates about the meeting will be available through our social media platforms.