Cotonou, 1st December 2021- A delegation from RUFORUM led by the Executive Secretary Professor Adipala Ekwamu paid a Courtesy Call on Her Excellence Madam Chabi Talata, the Vice President of the Republic of Benin. The call followed an earlier visit to the Hon. Professor Eléonore Ladekan Yayi, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research and Hon Gaston Cossi Dossouhoui, Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries. The Courtesy call precedes the RUFORUM Triennial Conference and Seventh Africa Higher Education week hosted by the Government of Benin and Member Universities in Benin.
Prof Adipala appreciated the Government of Benin for work towards the improvement of Education and Agriculture and for accepting to host the 7th Africa Higher Education Week and the RUFORUM triennial Conference 2021 themed: “Operationalising Higher Education for Innovation, Industrialisation, Inclusion and Sustainable Economic Development in Africa: A Call for Action.”
Prof Adipala Ekwamu, introduced RUFORUM to Her Excellence the Vice President of the Republic of Benin, as a network of 143 universities in 38 African countries founded to galvanise joint efforts by African Universities to i) contribute to efforts to reduce poverty and food and nutrition security in Africa, ii) develop human capital for Africa especially at graduate and post-doctoral levels so that Africa has the requisite capacity to drive its development agenda; iii) develop a new generation of scholars and leaders for Africa who know Africa well, work/network across Africa, and believe in and love Africa.
Her Excellency Mariam Chabi Talata Zimé Yérima expressed gratitude for the work done by the RUFORUM Secretariat in the promotion of the development of Agricultural sector with a special focus on inclusivity. “To achieve development in the agricultural sector, women should be included at all levels. The time is now to work together towards the development of our Continent and there is no more time to waste.” said Her Excellency Mariam Chabi Talata Zimé Yérima.
Among the ideas discussed to take the partnership with RUFORUM forward is for Benin consider hosting the first ever RUFORUM Regional Node proposed to be in West Africa; the possibility of Benin reaching out to Mastercard Foundation under the Young Africa Works strategy; and, for Benin to consider participating in the new World Bank IDA funded African Higher Education Centres of Excellence initiative aimed at Strengthening Higher Education Agricultural Higher Education in Africa.
Attending this meeting among others was the Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Benin, Honourable Éléonore YAYI LADEKAN and other high ranking officials from Benin, including the Rector Prof. Avlessi Felicien and Prof. Carine Nelly KELOME Vice Rector of University of Abomey Calavi. Also in attendance was Prof. Brice Sinsin former Rector of the same University and other staff from Abomey Calavi, notably Professor Achile Assogbadjo the Chairperson of the Local Organisaing Committee for the RUFORUM Triennial Conference. From RUFORUM, Drs, Florence Nakayiwa and Alice Mweetwa, Deputy Executive Secretaries, Dr Sylvanus Mensah, Technical Specialist and Ms Evaline Acan Advocacy and Communication Officer attended.
The Vice President is expected to officiate at the RUFORUM Triennial Conference opening scheduled for Wednesday 08 December 2021 at the Palais De Congres in Cotonou Benin. She will in addition address the Promoting Inclusivity in Research for Development Conference session on 9th December 2021.