RUFORUM 2019

  • 29th August 2020
  • by Ana Garavito

Agrinatura was invited by Regional Universities for Capacity Development in Agriculture (RUFORUM) to join their 15th Annual General Meeting this year held from 2nd to 6th December at Cape Coast University, Cape Coast in Ghana.

 

The Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) is a network of 120 universities in 38 African countries spanning the African continent. RUFORUM was established to promote the integration of member universities into Africa’s development processes, particularly within the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP); provide a platform for networking, resource mobilization and advocacy to transform universities for relevance towards inclusive sustainable development; and to rationalize resource use and enhance economies of scale and scope. The RUFORUM Network is mandated to strengthen the quality and relevance of postgraduate training and research in African universities.
especially in agriculture, science, technology, and innovation—through activities designed to improve the capacity of African universities and research centres to generate knowledge relevant to Africa’s development challenges.

The Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) and The European Alliance on Agricultural Knowledge for Development (Agrinatura) have since 2008 established a strong partnership as entry points to universities and research institutions in Africa and Europe. This partnership was formalized through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in 2008 and later renewed in May 2019 at the 2019 Agrinatura General Assembly held at the Agro BioTech centre in Gembloux, Belgium. RUFORUM and Agrinatura have specifically invested time, expertise and money to regularly scan the funding environment, review Calls for proposals and widely sharing the opportunities, brokering partnerships and supporting the development of proposals through write-shops and proposal reviews among other collaborative activities. The partnership has registered success in terms of mobilizing resources. Between 2008 and 2018, a total of 23 projects amounting to Euro 36.63 million were mobilized. The projects engaged/ are engaging over 180 partners from over 50 countries in Africa and Europe.
One week intensive meeting started Monday 2nd December with a high energy session with the strong topic of Fostering Global Partnership for Higher Agricultural Education and Research in Africa. The session was held as a chaired panel discussion in four consecutive sessions each with subtopic as Promoting international collaboration for impactful research for development and knowledge sharing, Promoting global partnership for higher education: Sharing best practices with the main outcome of designing an action agenda for strengthening partnership for higher education and research in Africa. Invited panellists were from Asia (China, Japan, Korea), Europe (Germany, Netherlands, Portugal, UK), Africa (Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Sudan) and America. Discussion about action points was led by Prof. Agnes Wakesho Mwang’ombe (Kenya) followed by a summary of the key issues and action points by RUFORUM Executive Secretary Dr. Alice Mutiti Mweetwa. The whole session was ended with closing remarks given by Hon. Yien Oral Lam Tut Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology (South Sudan).

Tuesday was in light of International Advisory Panel Meeting and working dinner for EU – AU partners to discover and explore various opportunities for project funding. While the two institutions have registered tremendous success over the last ten years, the funding landscape supporting research and training in Europe-Africa partnerships in agriculture and related sciences is changing. Change has largely been driven by the development of new funding programs with new rules of partnership and implementation, and changes in leadership at the European Commission and African Union Commission. Recognizing the evolution of the funding landscape that supports Europe-Africa partnership, RUFORUM and Agrinatura have organized a consultative meeting on Tuesday 3rd December 2019, to discuss and develop strategies to consolidate the partnership between Africa and Europe and mobilize resources to finance joint Europe-Africa partnership programmes and projects. The overall objective of the meeting will be to develop strategies for resource mobilization to finance European and African universities and research institutions projects and programmes in agricultural research and training. Agrinatura represented by Tim Chancellor (vice-president), Dider Pillot (director) and Tereza Slamova (Secretary-General) gave the overview of current funding opportunities and projects. Other presenters were Jennie Van der Meheen (Wageningen University, Netherlands) and Gerard Den Ouden (GOPA.com). Presentations led to the productive discussion and important question were raised.

Simultaneously other activities as The Ministerial Policy Dialogue Round Table, The Forum for Women Vice Chancellors in Africa Forum (FAWoVC) Symposium , The Ministerial-Vice Chancellors Policy Dialogue, Vice Chancellors Forum, The Joint Meeting of Vice-Chancellors and Stakeholders in Agriculture, Education & Training, Science, Technology and Innovation and Scientific session took place at the same time.

 

On Wednesday scientific session started by welcoming and addressing speeches followed by two keynote presentations given by Prof. Denis Mpairwe; Makerere University, Uganda on Characterisation of Livestock Systems in Africa and by Prof. Hubert Roth, University of Siegen, Germany about Recent Development in Robotics. Rest of the morning and afternoon were in light of parallel session with general topics Livestock and Livestock Production Systems and Agrifood Systems. Finalising of the scientific session on Thursday with two parallel sessions held topics: Digital Innovations, Economics and Policy Analysis and Biosafety, Biosecurity and Biorisk Management.

 

Thursday afternoon was concentrated about the official opening of the 15th AGM RUFORUM 2019. The official opening started by the national anthem of Ghana, continued by the welcome remarks given by Prof. Joseph Ghartey Ampiah, Vice-Chancellor, University of Cape Coast, Ghana and Prof. Adipala Ekwamu, Executive Secretary, RUFORUM and Sir. Dr. Sam Jonah, Chancellor, University of Cape Coast, Ghana. The official opening ceremony included the book launch of Prof. Adipala Ekwamu’s Memoirs “The Unfinished Journey” with prelude given by Megan Lindow, Writer.

Recognising individuals making a difference in Africa’s development

The opening ceremony was a great opportunity for recognition of four outstanding educationists for their long-term service to Africa in Education, Science, Technology, Innovation and Leadership: Professor Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang – Recognition Award for your exemplary Contribution to Education Policy, Leadership and Practice in Ghana.

Professor Eriabu Lugujjo – Recognition Award for excellence in championing Science and Mathematics, exemplary Leadership and strengthening partnerships for the advancement of Higher Education in Africa.

Professor Mabel Imbuga – Recognition Award for your excellent Leadership and Management contributing to the advancement and transformation of University Education in Africa.

Professor Frans Swanepoel – Recognition Award for your outstanding Contribution to the Advancement of Science and the Development of Higher Education and Agriculture in Africa.

 

Friday 6th December was dedicated to RUFORUM Annual General Meeting, welcome remarks were given by Prof. Joseph Ghartey Ampiah, Vice Chancellor, University Cape Coast, Ghana. A program followed by recognition awards and regular Bussines meeting.

The RUFORUM AGM next year will be held in Marrakech, Morocco. Biennial meetings have bee replaced by triennial meetings and the first one will be held in Benin in 2021.