Universities urged to drive Africa’s development agenda
Ivan Zhakata Herald Correspondent
GOVERNMENT has urged universities to drive the African development agenda by answering to human needs through scientific research and innovation.
Agenda 2063 is Africa’s development blueprint to achieve inclusive and sustainable socio-economic development over a 50-year period.
Addressing journalists ahead of Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM)’s annual general meeting which commenced in Harare this week, the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Professor Amon Murwira said the conference will address the future of the Africa continent when it comes to application science and innovation to food production.
RUFORUM is a network of major African universities whose mandate is to strengthen the quality and relevance of postgraduate training and research in agriculture, science, technology, and innovation through activities designed to improve the capacity of African universities.
The Forum will be engaging governments on strengthening Africa’s agri-food systems in the post Covid-19 era.
Minister Murwira said the conference came at a time when Zimbabwe was transforming its food systems.
“In Africa we believe that it is universities that should drive the development agenda and to drive the development agenda the universities must be answering to human needs because we believe in human needs based curriculum and one of the human needs which is prime is food,” he said.
“Everybody, no matter how complicated we are, we need food. So basically, this scientific research in this direction is very important and as the Government of Zimbabwe we support the efforts of RUFORUM in making sure that there is a tight network among African universities to address scientific issues around innovations in agriculture in science and technology that is related with the production of food.
“We are looking forward to a very productive week and we are looking forward to His Excellency the President, sometime in the middle of this week to officially open the RUFORUM and today we are basically going to do a welcoming session. We are happy to receive our colleges from across the continent and we are here to do science to fulfil our human needs, which is food and production systems.”
Minister Murwira said they were happy that RUFORUM was holding the scientific conference in Zimbabwe.
“RUFORUM consists of 157 universities across the continent and we are expecting to receive more than 10 ministers and we have already made arrangements,” he said.
“The highlights are that it is important that at this point where Zimbabwe is transforming its higher education from a consumptive system to a production oriented system which is education for innovation and industrialisation which is inherited in the education 5.0 and this moment is the opportune moment to start a serious discussion with Africa in the future of this continent when it comes to the application of science and innovation to food production. The major highlights are happening at a time when Zimbabwe is transforming its food systems.”
Minister Murwira, minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Development Dr Anxious Masuka, technical experts and vice chancellors from universities in Zimbabwe, among others are expected to be part of the participants at the AGM.