Kampala 17 December 2021: The Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) and the Inter-University Council for East Africa (IUCEA) today signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for collaboration in the advancement of research and quality postgraduate studies. RUFORUM is a consortium of 146 African universities operating within 38 countries spanning the African continent. The IUCEA is an institution of the East African Community, a Regional Economic Community comprising the Republics of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Uganda, and the United Republic of Tanzania. IUCEA was established by the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community which was signed on 30th November 1999 and came into effect on 7th July 2000.
The two parties have agreed to cooperate on building the initiatives on: “Cultivating Research and Teaching Excellence; Knowledge Hub for Networking, Partnerships and Advocacy; and, the focus on Transformative Higher Education to meaningfully contribute to Africa’s Growth and Development, which are in line with RUFORUM and IUCEA mandates and functions.
During the signing ceremony, which took place at the RUFORUM offices in Kampala, the Executive Secretary of IUCEA, Prof. Gaspard Banyankimbona, who was accompanied by 7 of his staff members, expressed his happiness about the agreement and committed to do more than what has been agreed on in the MoU. He said “signing the MoU is just the beginning of the formal partnership between the two institutions. I look forward to doing more than the MoU with RUFORUM”. The IUCEA team included the following staff: Dr. Jonathan Mbwambo, ACE II Project Coordinator; Dr. Cosam Joseph, EASTRIP Project Coordinator; Mr. Alex Mukunzi Ruharo, Senior Legal Officer; Ms. Juru Marie Eglantine, Senior Quality Assurance Officer; Dr. Benedict Mtassiwa, Chief Principal Exchange Programs, links and Partnerships; Mr. Alvin Manko, Information Systems Officer, and Ms. Agnes Asiimwe, Communications and Public Relations Office.
Prof. Adipala Ekwamu, who was accompanied by five of his staff members, was delighted about the diversity of nationality at the IUCEA, which he says mirrors what is being implemented at RUFORUM Secretariat. The following RUFORUM staff witness the signing ceremony: Prof. Majaliwa Mwajalolo, Manager – Regional Anchor Universities for Higher Agricultural Education (RANCH), Dr. Francis Otto, Manager – Knowledge Hub, Dr. Anthony Egeru, Manager – Training and Community Development, Dr. Runyararo Jolyn Rukarwa, Manager Research and Innovation and Ms. Becky Namubiru, Publication Assistant.
Dr. Patrick Okori, the Country Director of ICRISAT, Malawi, was also present. Prior to the signing of the MoU, Prof. Adipala highlighted the origin of RUFORUM and what RUFORUM stands for. He emphasized the fact that the organisation expanded from FORUM, which was initially supported by the Rockefeller foundation operating in five countries in East and Southern Africa to now 38 countries across Africa. RUFORUM, according to Prof. Adipala, was tasked to support capacity building in the various African countries and this is why RUFORUM is working with IUCEA to implement Strengthening Higher Agricultural Education in Africa (SHAEA), one of the five continental initiatives that were approved by African Ministers in December 2019 in Cape Coast, Ghana. He was happy that after the halting of the SHAEA and other initiatives for Africa, the subsequent appeals made by various African Governments, the World Bank finally accepted to relaunch SHAEA with ICUEA as the Regional Facilitating Unit. He expressed optimism that other countries will join the initial focus countries (Malawi, Mozambique and Ghana) in implementing the SHAEA as part of the ACE II special financing for Higher Agricultural Education in Africa.
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