The Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR) hosted a dinner for Vice Chancellors of RUFORUM member universities, International Advisory Panel, Technical Committee and other dignitaries. Ministers of Education present during the event include Hon. Bright Msaka from Malawi, Hon. John Muyingo from Uganda and Hon. George Kronnisanyon Werner from Liberia.
Amongst the distinguished speakers was LUANAR’s Vice Chancellor, Prof. George Kanyama-Phiri who welcomed the guests on behalf of the university. He noted that LUANAR is a founding member of RUFORUM and fully supports its philosophy of promoting higher education through capacity building in Africa which the university has benefited from a lot. He thanked the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Representative Mercy Karanja for their continued support in nurturing RUFORUM. He further thanked the Minister, Permanent Secretary and directors of Education, Science and Technology for helping end the strike which was at LUANAR.
Hon. Bright Msaka, SC and Minister of Education, Science and Technology in Malawi noted that the transformation of RUFORUM from ten founding universities, who decided to change the model of leadership, training, research and outreach in colleges of agriculture and domestic science to sixty six universities in twenty six African countries is remarkable. He congratulated Prof. Kanyama-Phiri and Prof. Adipala Ekwamu for the success of RUFORUM, pointing out that Prof. Adipala Ekwamu is a marvel for RUFORUM’s success. He continued to stress the importance of agriculture to Africa’s economy and therefore the need to give it importance. However, he noted that climate change, land degradation and loss of soil fertility are issues which need to be addressed because Africa needs to feed its growing population. It is his hope that universities will continue to make a difference in the lives of the population and that the vision started thirteen years ago will continue to be expand for the benefit of the continent. All in all, the universities were called upon to find new and innovative ways for Africa to sustain her growing population.
Written by Pauline Atim, Onsite Reporter for the RUFORUM AGM 2017.