A delegation from the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) visited Liberia 14-16 June 2017. Facilitated by the Counsel General of Liberia to Uganda, Dr. Thelma Awori, the purpose of the visit was to meet with leaders of key research and tertiary education institutions in Liberia and to dialogue with key government ministries on building high level skills to support agricultural led growth in Liberia. The high level delegation was received by Her Excellency Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of the Republic of Liberia on 16 June 2017.
As part of the visit, the RUFORUM delegation visited the Booker Washington Institute (BWI), University of Liberia, Cuttington University and the Central Agricultural Research Institute (CARI) of Liberia. The delegation met with management of the institutions visited, as well as Hon. George Kronnisanyon Werner, Minister of Education; Seklau E. Wiles, Acting Minister of Agriculture; Octavius T. Quarbo, Assistant Minister for Administration, Ministry of Agriculture; Att. Aogon F. Tingba, Deputy Minister for Administration, Ministry of Education; Amb. Marjon V. Kamara; Minister of Foreign Affairs; B. Elias Shoniyin, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs; Axel M. Addy, Minister, Ministry of Commerce and Industry; and Saah Charles N’Tow, Minister of Youth and Sports.
During the meeting with Her Excellency President Sirleaf, the Delegation, led by Prof. Adipala Ekwamu, Executive Secretary of RUFORUM congratulated Her Excellency on being the first African woman elected President of Liberia and Chairperson of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS and for her role in establishing democratic processes and principles that have brought Liberia back to a well-recognized democracy on the continent. He also recognised the leadership role played by Her Excellency in managing successfully the Ebola crises.
President Sirleaf acknowledged the RUFORUM Award won by Mr. Mahmud Johnson, a young Liberian entrepreneur and CEO of J-Palm Liberia initiative. J-Palm Liberia emerged as one of 15 (out of 756 from across the Continent) winners of the Young Entrepreneur’ Awards during the RUFORUM Biennial Conference, held in Cape Town, South Africa in October 2016. President Sirleaf congratulated Mahmud on his achievement. Her Excellency Sirleaf Johnson pledged her support to work with the RUFORUM to strengthen higher education in Africa. She noted that “when a country’s population is educated, it leads to development”. She accepted to provide a keynote address to higher education stakeholders, graduates students and others during the upcoming 6th African Higher Education Week and RUFORUM Biennial to be held 22-26 October 2018 in Nairobi, Kenya. Further, Her Excellency Sirleaf Johnson thanked the delegation for their visit to Liberia, which has recently emerged from many years of strife, but is now a vibrant and growing society, ready to engage with the world.
The RUFORUM delegation consisted of Prof. Brice Sinsin (Rector, University d’Abomey Calavi, Republic of Benin), Prof. Teresa Akenga (Vice Chancellor, University of Eldoret, Kenya), Prof. John Akec Apuruot (Vice Chancellor, University of Juba, South Sudan), Dr. Loveness Kaunda (Deputy Vice Chancellor, Mzuzu University, Malawi); Prof. Amadou Tidiane Guiro (Rector, Université Sine Saloum El hadj Ibrahima NIASS, Senegal), Prof. Mary J.N Okwakol (Vice Chancellor, Busitema University, Uganda), Dr. Mary Shawa (Member of RUFORUM Finance & Administration Committee and Principal Secretary, Ministry of Transport and Public Works, Malawi); Prof. Adipala Ekwamu (Executive Secretary, RUFORUM), Dr. Moses Osiru (Deputy Executive Secretary, RUFORUM), and Ms. Joan Apio (Communication Officer, RUFORUM). Click here to download the full press release.