President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo

President Nana Addo Dankwah Akufo-Addo will open this year’s 15th Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) Annual General Meeting to be hosted by the University of Cape Coast.

The conference, the first to be hosted in West Africa, will take place from December 2 to 6, 2019.

It will bring together about 400 participants and would be held on the theme: “Delivering on Africa’s Universities Agenda for Higher Agricultural Education, Science, Technology and Innovation (AHESTI): What Will it Take?

The conference would have keynote speakers including Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, Minister of Education, Mrs Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Professor Frimpong Boateng, Minister of Environment, Sceince, Technology and Innovation, and Prof Owusu Afriyie Akoto, Minister of Agriculture.

Professor Dora F. Edu-Buandoh, the Pro Vice-Chancelor, University of Cape Coast, who announced this in at a press briefing in Accra, said the conference would deliberate on what it would take to translate the AHESTI Framework into reality as part of unlocking the innate potential of Africa’s higher education institutions.

Prof Edu-Buandoh said the conference was part of Africa’s effort to attain a sustainable and inclusive economic growth and development as enshrined in the agenda 2063.

She stressed that Africa’s University agenda for higher agricultural education, science, technology and innovation provided an operational framework for delivering espoused contributions of higher education to Africa’s transformation.

“Universities in Africa had immense responsibility to translate these plans into products, services and competitive innovations. Higher education institutions are at the centre of these processes in science, technology and innovation,” she said.

The forum would also reflect and learn from its programme implementation and concretize on the directions and strategies for the realisation of RUFORUM vision 2030 strategy.

Prof Edu-Buandoh said the conference would recognise farmers who have made significant contributions to Agricultural transformation in Ghana as part of supporting national efforts for the advancement of Agriculture.

It would also recognise scientists and other actors who have made significant contributions and have supported the advancement of excellence in research and higher education for Africa’s development.

Young innovators and entrepreneurs from West Africa would also be recognized as part of promoting the contribution of youth to economic growth and development of Africa and the need to provide youth with a platform to demonstrate their potential.

The Prof said there would be a number of pre-AGM side events including post Doctorial fellows training, targeted skill enhancement training for University Principals and Deans, leadership and management training for the forum for women Vice Chancellors in Africa and social media training for students from RUFORUM member universities in Ghana.

Prof Livinstone K Sam-Amoah, Chairman, RUFORUM AGM 2019 Local organising Committee, said as part of RUFORUM achievements, it signed a Memorandum of Understanding in 2014 with the African Union Commission to support implementation of the Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa to reduce poverty and ensure food and nutrition security.

Prof Sam-Amoah said as of August 2017, RUFORUM had supported the training of 60 undergraduates, 1,883 Master of Science and 503 PhD graduates of whom, 94 per cent work in their home countries, and generated over 300 Agricultural technologies and mobilised over $201 million for strengthening post graduate education in Africa.

Established by 10 African University Vice Chancellors in 2004, RUFORUM is a consortium of 105 African Universities operating in 37 countries on the continent with a vision to create vibrant transformative universities to catalyse sustainable inclusive agricultural development to feed and create prosperity for Africa.

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