“The Responsibility to Develop Africa Depends on Us”

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Front row, from left: Prof. George Y. Kanyama, chairman of RUFORUM; Dr. Ophelia I. Weeks, president of the University of Liberia (UL); and the executive secretary Prof. Adipala Ekwamu

-RUFORUM Executive Secretary 

The executive secretary of the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM), Professor Adipala Ekwamu says the responsibility to develop Africa depends on Africans and building the capacities of younger ones is cardinal to achieving it.

Prof. Ekwamu made the remarks on Wednesday, April 24, 2019 at the kickoff of a 3-day Executive Board meeting that brought together about 17 Presidents/Chancellors and Deans, from highly ranked African universities that are offering academic programs in agriculture, engineering, science and technology.

He said the organization aimed to also empower or train a new generation of scholars that will take over the continent with love and strong belief in development as well as partner across Africa, “because the responsibility the responsibility depends on us.”

Prof. Ekwamu said the delegation is currently in Liberia to explore the best and to support the efforts of the university by developing programs that will be used or utilized by Liberia in training students to support the development agenda of Liberia.

“This is also to provide the opportunity for future students of Africa to get training in Liberia. We are also utilizing this network opportunity to support human capital in Liberia. We need a continent where our people will know the different parts of Africa or the continent,” he said.

“We can collaborate to address the development challenges in Africa. Like in agriculture, Africa still has the problem of huge food and nutrition insecurity. We still have people living in poverty and need to be addressed. We have become large users of technology today,” he said.

He said the founding spirit of RUFORUM is aimed at promoting networks across Africa that focus on the development of the continent, because Africans can better develop their countries.

“This is an opportunity for RUFORUM to come and join hands with the leadership on higher education in Liberia to support the efforts to strengthen education. We decided to form an organization that first starts interaction among our people across the continent. We also decided to meet every year in different parts of the continent so as to get better appreciation of diversity within our continent,” Prof. Ekwamu explained.

He said RUFORUM’s secretariat is mandated to sure that various universities are working together to support the development agenda of the continent and also make sure that universities collaborate to support human capital for development purposes.

According to him, African countries are faced with similar challenges in terms of low capacity to develop the continent, which also form part of the imperative for the meetings.

The delegates come from Benin, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Senegal, South Africa, South Sudan, Uganda and Zambia.

George Y. Kanyama, vice chancellor at the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR) in Malawi, said he hopes to see the University of Liberia representing the entire West Africa by increasing the participation of other universities and ensuring that the total goal of the organization is achieved.

As chairman of RUFORUM, which has 105 members, Kanyama said the organization’s expectation is very high and hopeful that more will be achieved in developing Africa.

Ophelia I. Weeks, president of the University of Liberia (UL) said the forum serves as a great opportunity for the UL and other universities in Liberia to have heads of different universities from across Africa in Liberia to network and work together as a team, bringing the necessary change to the continent.

Madam Weeks, who serves as deputy chair of RUFORUM said no one knows what’s better for Africa, but Africans themselves, adding that working together can help make the difference on the continent.

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