85 universities across Africa have began working with the African Union Commission (AUC) to help the continental body in realizing its Agenda 2063 on development.
The universities meeting under the banner Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) in Nairobi, Kenya are endeavoring to provide much needed expertise towards the realization of the 2014 Malabo Declaration on Food and Nutritional Security.
According to the RUFORUM Deputy Executive Secretary Moses Osiru, aligning African Universities to Africa’s development agenda is of great importance as this will enable professors and PhD holders at universities provide their expertise towards helping Africa realize the development goals set out that require research.
Speaking ahead of the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM), Sixth Biennial Conference set for October this year, with the theme, “Aligning African Universities to accelerate attainment of Africa’s Agenda 2063,” Vice Chancellors Prof Laban Ayiro of Moi University and University of Nairobi’s Prof. Peter Mbithi said the institutions of higher learning in Africa are ready and willing to assist the African Union Commission realize its development agenda through targeted research that helps to solve societal challenges, in especially agriculture.
Moi University Vice Chancellor Prof Laban Ayiro called on County governments to ensure that they allocate sufficient resources in agriculture since it is a devolved function directly under their jurisdiction, adding that for the government to realize the Presidential Agenda a large capital outlay is needed in agriculture.
“It is the first time we are addressing food and nutritional security and must put money where our mouths are so that the pronouncements go together with the requisite funding,” said Prof Ayiro.
University of Nairobi Vice Chancellor Prof. Peter Mbithi said that national forums help to enhance the quality of university programs to ensure that they meet the priority needs, “particularly of our stakeholders, including the communities around us and ensure that the universities are able to obtain feedback from their action research and outreach that can be integrated back into university training programs.”
RUFORUM Deputy Executive Secretary Moses Osiru noted that aligning universities to the African Union Commission’s Agenda 2063 has come at an opportune time when there is a critical mass of expertise mostly professors at the universities who can provide the much needed knowledge to help realize the set out goals.
Efforts to realize development in agriculture in Africa kicked off in Maputo, Mozambique in 2003 when African heads of state established the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP) to drive agricultural development.
Another attempt was developed in 2014 in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea under the banner, the Malabo Declaration on Food and Nutritional security to help re-engineer the need to invest in agriculture.
Ruforum biennial conference and the Sixth Africa Higher Education Week is scheduled to take place from 22nd to 26th October, 2018 in Nairobi.
It is a special event that brings together African Universities, Research Institutions and Industries that engage in Agriculture research, education and agribusiness.
“Every biennial conference gives us the opportunity to reflect on the challenges that face our continent and to develop innovative solutions of making Africa self reliant,” said Prof. Mbithi.