5th African Higher Education Week and RUFORUM Biennial Conference

  • 27th October 2016
  • by secretary
17 – 21 October, 2016. Cape Town, South Africa. With the conference themed “Linking Agricultural Universities with Civil Society, Private Sector, the Governments and other Stakeholders in support of Agricultural Research for Development in Africa”, it brought together people from all strata to deliberate on moving forward the values of Research and Development on the continent.
The African Higher Education Week was attended by over 850 participants from 73 countries including four Ministers responsible for higher education, science and technology; 65 Vice Chancellors; 120 Principals and Deans and over 250 Masters and PhD students. Other stakeholders including the private sector, farmers, research, science and technology institutions, civil society and other non-governmental organizations and development partners were represented.
Seven plenary sessions along the Conference thematic areas, and 49 parallel sessions were organised during the week.
One of the recommendations of the RUFORUM Biennial Conference was that universities should strengthen private sector links/partnerships/collaborations as enablers for transforming African higher education quality and relevance with a view to uplifting agribusiness institutions.


14-16 October 2016 Several pre-conference events were held from  including the 15th RUFORUM Board Meeting, the meeting of African Principals and Deans, trainings on Gender and Leadership among others. PAEPARD organised a training workshop Processes and Practices in multi-stakeholder partnerships in ARD.

RUFORUM celebrated the success of young African entrepreneurs who have come up with innovative solutions to address food insecurity and poverty-related challenges on Wednesday morning.

A panel of 15 young people from across the continent showcased their businesses, which addressed a diverse range of issues, including ICT support for smallholder farmers, agri-processing and even capitalising on waste.

No. Enterprise Team Leader  Country
1. Bio Phyto Zodome Gildas Benin
2. InnoFaso SA Omar coulibaly Burkina Faso
3. Soja kwa Afia na Ubora wa Ucumi Kwetu (SAUK) Bikulo Bachiyeka Richard DRC
4. Ubiquitous Farm Management Selam Girma Ethiopia
5. Green Afro-Palms (GAP) Ababio Kwame Ghana
6. FarmDrive Limited Mary Joseph and Rita Kimani Kenya
7. Safi Organics Limited Samuel W. Rigu Kenya
8. J-Palm Liberia Mahmud Johnson Liberia
9. ColdHubs Limited Nnaemeka Ikegwuonu Nigeria
10. CASA MANGO Djiby Diagne Senegal
11. LANDFIRST (Pty) Ltd Phethile Nkosi South Africa
12. CIBIO Brian Makwaiba South Africa
13. WEKEBERE Tashobya Stephen Uganda
14. Empire Agricultural Services (EAS) John Bosco Birenge Uganda
15. HappyFarmer Moonga Chowe Zambia


FarmDrive offers financial institutions a suite of products and services to efficiently acquire clients, assess and mitigate risk, and manage the entire loan process from application to repayment.

Established in May 2014, the project already includes 2,000 producers, who are mostly geographically isolated farmers that FarmDrive will canvas during field visits. The majority of these

users are not equipped with high-end phones, but simple cell phones. FarmDrive technology is suitable for this equipment, and currently uses mobile web and SMS technology. The USSD and native Android are in the development process. The team organizes training to villages to educate producers and explain the benefits of the developed service. This training is an opportunity for farmers to ask questions and give feedback on the innovation, which is constantly being improved.

Initially, founders of FarmDrive thought they would manage peer-to-peer loans, but given national regulations, they had to work with recognized financial institutions to better understand adoption incentives. At present, FarmDrive founders are discussing a potential partnership with a Kenyan bank.