ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, July 21, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — African Union Commission Chairperson, H.E. Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma has challenged 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. Dlamini Zuma 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 was addressing 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 Capacity Building 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 African Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP), a blue print agreed upon, and signed in Maputo in 2003, by African Heads of States and Governments for achieving 6% economic growth through agricultural transformation.
In her keynote address Dr. Dlamini Zuma said that Agriculture 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. Graca Machel, 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 resources mobilisation 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 member countries 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 de Paul Ikounga
African Union Commission (AUC)