African Universities challenged to adapt to technological innovationsand leverage agricultural transformation
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 21 July, 2014:African Union CommissionChairperson, H.E. Dr. NkosazanaDlaminiZuma haschallenged Universities to adapt to technological innovations and to catch up quickly with the rest of the world.Emphasizing the critical role of the Universities in producing knowledge, research, technologies and innovations, Dr. DlaminiZuma said:“Africa must invest much more in education, science, research and technology to meet its own development targets, and claim its stake in the world and knowledge economy. It must also strengthen collaboration between universities and industry; and accelerate intra-African research and scientific cooperation.”
The AU Commission Chairperson wasaddressing over 600 delegates attending the Fourth Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture Biennial Conference currently underway 19 – 25 July 2014, at the Eduardo Mondlane University in Maputo, Mozambique.
The Regional Universities Forum for CapacityBuilding in Agriculture (RUFORUM) is celebrating its 10th anniversary under the theme, “African Higher Education Week: Transforming Agricultural Education – a Platform for the Way Forward.”
FUFORUM’s 10th anniversary celebrations coincides with the AU annual theme of Agriculture and Food Security, as well as the 10th anniversary of the Comprehensive AfricanAgricultural Development Programme (CAADP), a blue print agreed upon, and signed in Maputo in 2003, by African Heads of Statesand Governments for achieving 6% economic growththrough agricultural transformation.
In her keynote address Dr. DlaminiZuma said thatAgriculture over the last decade grew by 4% per annum, lower than the target of 6% as envisaged by CAADP.“African agriculture should and must do much better, to ensure our collective food security, to reverse the trend of being a net importer of food, to create jobs and to contribute towards industrialisation.”She added.
Another keynote address was delivered by Mrs. GracaMachel, a Member of the International Panel of Elders and Former Mozambiquan Minister of Education. The event was officially opened by the Minister of Science and Technology, and representative of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Mozambique.
RUFORUM is an African-led initiative, created in 2004 by Vice Chancellors, as a collective of institution (network)and platform aligned with CAADP processes, for networking, advocacy, and resourcesmobilisation for food and nutrition-related faculties.
In 2008, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) provided key core support that sustained the Makerere University-based Secretariat.RUFORUM currently has 19 membercountries and 42 member universities as a voice for Higher Education in Agriculture in Africa.
The Chairperson of the AU Commission was accompanied by the AU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Economy, Rhoda Tumusiime and Commissioner for Human Resources, Science and Technology, Dr. Martial dePaulIkounga