The Seventh African Higher Education Week and RUFORUM Triennial Conference

  • 19th August 2020
  • by secretary
Agrinatura News

The Seventh African Higher Education Week and RUFORUM Triennial Conference

Date: 06-10 December 2021



Theme: Operationalising Higher Education for Innovation, Industrialisation, Inclusion and Sustainable Economic Development in Africa: A Call for Action

Venue: Centre International de Conférences and Palais des Congres de Cotonou, Benin
Contact: Prof. Maxime Da CRUZ, Prof. Prosper Gandaho, and Prof. Gauthier Biaou, Vice
Chancellors, University of Abomey-Calavi, University of Parakou and National University of
Prof. Adipala Ekwamu, Executive Secretary, RUFORUM


Africa has seen tremendous growth in the last decade. However, living standards continue to remain low for many people, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa. Further, a widening inequality that is leading to erosion of social cohesion in many countries is on increasing trend. This calls for a more inclusive and sustainable model of growth and development. The Sustainable Development Goals are crafted with a fundamental principle of leaving no one behind. Realising this principle requires that poverty eradication is accelerated, and that fairer income distribution and social progress over the next ten years are sustained. This also requires that decent employment is generated through advancement of innovations and the transformation of production, export structures and services in Africa. Education has a catalytic function in increasing form, function and competitiveness of economies by driving innovation, skills and productivity, leading to
expanded employment and opportunities. Further, education is one of the most important denominators for reducing poverty, as it provides an equalizer and inclusion opportunities across individuals, communities and countries.

A growing and inclusive economy is critical for delivering income and employment to all people regardless of gender, ethnicity and race, among others. Quality jobs are an important facet and enabler for affording basic needs, as well as building wealth. Africa, under the recently launched African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), exposes a GDP of $3.4 trillion benefiting an estimated 1 billion people. For Africa and its people to benefit from the opportunities the AfCFTA brings in this decade, innovation, skills, entrepreneurship, and responsiveness of institutions will be critical for success to happen. Higher education and particularly universities are at the forefront of shaping and delivering innovations, skills, and entrepreneurial graduates. However, universities in Africa need to do more to rapidly achieve technology integration and human capital investments that are essential for enhancing productivity and economic performance.

African universities under the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Africa (RUFORUM) network, recognised the inherent contribution universities play in development and appreciate the gaps within the higher education sector that need to be addressed to support the continent’s development needs. Accordingly, in 2018, the African universities adopted the African Higher Education, Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy (AHESTI) as a guiding framework for strengthening universities’ contribution to Africa’s evelopment. The 2018 Ministerial meeting held at the Sixth Africa Higher Education Week and RUFORUM Biennial Conference challenged African Universities to develop regional investment programmes for enhancing human capital development. African universities responded to this call with five continental initiatives notably (i) the Strengthening Higher Agricultural Education in Africa (SHAEA); (ii) Building Africa’s Science, Technology and Innovation Capacity (BASTIC); (iii) Strengthening Africa’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Capacity (SASTIE); (iv) Regional Initiative to Strengthen Staff Capacity and Increase the Pool of Women Scientists in Africa (RISSCAW); and (v) the African Digital Agricultural Platform (AfriDAP). While these initiatives respond to the requisite human capital needs, skills and innovations required for Africa’s economic development, they must be operationalized to realise the intended outcomes.

The seventh Africa Higher Education Week & RUFORUM Triennial Conference, 2021


The Seventh Africa Higher Education and RUFORUM Triennial Conference is set under the theme “Operationalising Higher Education for Innovation, Industrialisation, Inclusion and Sustainable Economic Development in Africa: A call for action” that responds to the urgent needs for the African governments, development partners, private sector and citizenry to take actions to invest in higher education. This

Triennial conference is convened with the following objectives:
1. Catalyse investment in Higher Education for human capital development in Africa
2. Promote international linkages and partnerships for excellence in Higher Education
3. Strengthen collaboration and mutual learning to spur innovation and industrialisation for
economic transformation in Africa
4. Promote youth employment and skills acquisition for development
5. Strengthen University-Private sector business linkages

More details and program 

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