The Cabinet Secretary, Education, Ambassador Dr. Amina Mohamed officially opens 6th RUFORUM Conference
Date and time: 
Thu, 2018-10-25 09:42
Location / Venue: 

University of Nairobi

The Cabinet Secretary, Education, Amb. Dr. Amina Mohamed officially opened the 6th Africa Higher Education Week and Biennial Conference (RUFORUM) on October 23, 2018 on behalf of President Uhuru Kenyatta.

She was accompanied by Uganda’s first lady, H.E. Janet Museveni and 25 government ministers and 6 permanent secretaries from different African nations. In a speech read on behalf of the president, CS Amina, spoke on the status of the agricultural sector and the role institutions of higher learning have to play.
 
“Improving the performance and competitiveness of the agriculture sector, remains a matter of great strategic importance for the region,” said the CS. “At the core of this agenda, is knowledge; and it is today widely acknowledged that the quality of knowledge generated within higher education institutions, and its availability to the wider economy, is increasingly critical not only to agricultural performance, but also to national competitiveness. This places institutions of higher learning at the centre of national competitiveness. Through academic research, education and strong linkage to farming communities, universities can play a central role in producing innovation-oriented yet practical solutions to local agricultural challenges and can be a critical player in strengthening the link of agriculture and business to create a competitive and indigenous agribusiness sector.”
 
On her part, First Lady Janet Museveni lauded the efforts of RUFORUM member universities and the important role it plays in Africa.
 
“Africa as a continent can no longer wait for the transformation we desire. There is need to embrace initiatives to improve human capital development through initiatives of bodies like RUFORUM,” she said. “Young people who are dying in their numbers crossing the Mediterranean are doing so without knowledge on how they can harness their skills set to contribute to and exploit the wealth of natural resources the continent is endowed. In Uganda, due to the success of the universal education program and universal post primary education, there is increasing pressure on higher education sub-sector. Africa's participation in higher education as measured by the higher education enrollment ratio is very low.”
 
The Chairperson of Council, University of Nairobi, Prof. Julia Ojiambo, highlighted the benefits of the conference deliberations.
 
“Universities are truly the catalyst that is needed to accelerate the drive to attainment of the Agenda for the benefit of our people,” she said. “In the Kenyan context, this conference is a boost to the Big Four Agenda namely: Universal Healthcare, Manufacturing, Affordable Housing and Food Security.  It is anticipated that this Conference will help universities to outgrow their traditional ways of doing things in order to adapt to the new and ever changing environment.”
 
The Vice-Chancellor, University of Nairobi, Prof. Peter Mbithi, singled out the role various stakeholders can play in realizing Africa’s Agenda 2063.
 
“All of us should rise to the occasion and support RUFORUM and its member universities to deliver the promise of training high quality researchers, impact oriented research and collaborative working relations among researchers, farmers, national agricultural research institutions and government,” he said. “The wide participation of the youth on this forum is a positive pointer of the changing attitude of the African Youth towards agriculture.  The youth must seize abundant opportunities in agriculture and the entire value chain.”
 
The Biennial Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) Conference is the most comprehensive meeting point for diverse stakeholders in both agriculture and higher education sectors. It is especially dedicated to graduate students and their supervisors, grantees in RUFORUM member universities and alumni. It is a platform for peer review, quality control, mentorship, networking and shared learning.
 
Themed “Aligning African Universities to Accelerate Attainment of Africa’s Agenda 2063,” the week-long conference has brought together over 800 delegates from across the continent with a large proportion of university students and Vice-Chancellors, policy makers, industry, development partners. In addition, key institutions are being represented at the meeting, including the African Union Commission, regional economic communities, higher education networks and institutions, research organizations, and others.
 
The opening ceremony was held at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre.
 
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Expiry Date: 
Sun, 2019-03-31 09:42