Lusaka 25 September 2019
A delegation from the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM), a network of 118 universities across 38 countries in Africa paid a courtesy call on the Vice President and Acting President of the Republic of Zambia Her Excellency Inonge Wina in Lusaka on 25th September 2019. This Courtesy call was part of the agenda for the three day Zambia Higher Education Week activities held from 23rd -25th September 2019.
The Zambia Higher Education Week is part of the RUFORUM initiative for national dialogue on higher education among the member university States. Similar events were held in Liberia and Mali. The Zambia event was hosted by the University of Zambia (UNZA) in partnership with the, the Ministry of Higher Education, Ministry of Agriculture and the Zambia Agricultural Research Institution. Activities included a one-day Higher Education symposium in Lusaka, Zambia; the RUFORUM Board Executive Committee Meeting; a courtesy call on the Vice President; University of Zambia project site visits; and an interactive session with staff at the University of Zambia.
The Vice Chancellor of the University of Zambia Prof. Luke Mumba welcoming guests to the higher education week highlighted the three Ps (Peace, Policy and People with skills) needed to develop the agricultural sector, these were evident in the RUFORUM Agenda. The higher education day was officially opened by the Minister of Higher Education Hon. Brian Mushimba who applauded RUFORUM’s efforts in Zambia especially in advancing Africa’s response to higher education disparities and support to disadvantaged students and countries. He applauded the drive to mobilize the private sector to take an active role and invest in agricultural education transformation and the ongoing efforts to foster linkages between the higher education sector in Zambia and the RUFORUM network of universities. In his remarks, the Minister said,
Transformation of Higher Education in Africa is non negotiable, this is because the forces of globalization require new waves of knowledge generation including partnership for working in African Universities.
A team of Ten Vice Chancellors from RUFORUM member universities, the RUFORUM governance bodies and other stakeholders including, the Centre for Coordination of Agricultural Research and Development (CCARDESA), East African Farmers Federation and the Kenya National Qualifications Authority paid a courtesy call to the Acting Republican President, Her Excellency Inonge Wina at the cabinet office in Lusaka. The RUFORUM delegation was led by the RUFORUM Board Chair, Professor George Kanyama-Phiri, the Vice Chancellor, Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Malawi. In her remarks, the Vice President said that she was confident that the RUFORUM partners visit to Zambia would enhance the finding of solutions not only to food and nutrition insecurity but to the climate change challenges whose negative impact has been evident in Zambia. She noted that Zambia was keen to learn from experiences from across the continent.
Higher Institutions of Learning are the Knowledge Centres and therefore putting Science, Technology and Innovation as a priority would be key in solving the current problems that we are confronted with.
For the next steps, the Acting President directed the Minister of Higher Education to develop a Cabinet Memo to be tabled to the Cabinet. The Memo will among other things outline the RUFORUM Charter that was presented to her by Dr. Alice Mweetwa, Deputy Executive Secretary, RUFORUM. She further reiterated the need to work with RUFORUM to develop a framework for finding solutions to challenges in Zambia. Her Excellency pledged that the Government of Zambia would host the 22nd RUFORUM Annual General Meeting in 2026 because she was confident that it would add value to the Country through synergy and collaboration. She thanked the delegation for choosing Zambia and re-echored the Government’s commitment to supporting Higher Education, Science, Technology and Innovation in Zambia.
Related Story: CCARDESA and RUFORUM pays a courtesy call on the Vice President office in Zambia http://www.ccardesa.org/ccardesa-and-ruforum-pays-courtesy-call-vice-president-office-zambia