THE AFRICAN UNION (AU) AND REGIONAL ECONOMIC COMMISSIONS
The Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) has evolved from facilitating research and higher agricultural education, science, technology and innovation to advocacy as a voice for agriculture and related sciences higher education in Africa. At Continental level, RUFORUM has signed a memorandum of understanding with the African Union Commission in July, 2014 to support the implementation of “Priority Area One: Eradicating Hunger and Achieving Food and Nutrition Security" of the Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa (STISA-2024). STISA-2024 is part of the long-term people centered African Union Agenda 2063 which is underpinned by science, technology and innovation as multi-function and enablers for achieving continental development goals (read more). RUFORUM contributes as a technical implementing partner, to the Continental Annual Report of Activities (RACA) published by the African Union Commission Department of Human Resources, Science and Technology.
RUFORUM is an implementing partner of the Action Plan for transformation of education, science, technology and innovation in Africa with the leadership of the African Union Committee of Ten Heads of State and Government (AU-C10) championing education, science, technology and innovation. The AU-C10 was instituted by the African Union in 2016 after noting that education, science, technology and innovation remain the primary instruments that will enable Africa to effectively implement its long-term vision of a transformative Agenda 2063. The Committee is chaired by His Excellency Macky Sall, President of Senegal. The composition of the Committee includes two Presidents from each of AU’s Five Continental Regions and therefore draws its membership from Senegal, Chad, Egypt, Gabon, Kenya, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia, Sierra Leone, and Tunisia.
As part of its engagement in the AU-C10, RUFORUM facilitated the first Summit of the AU-C10 hosted by Government of Malawi at the Bingu International Convention Centre (BICC) in Lilongwe, from 2nd to 3rd November, 2018 under the theme “Enhancing Education, Science, Technology and Innovation for Africa’s Development. [ Download the draft C10 Action Plan [ English ] [ French ] [ Portuguese ], C10 Declaration English | French ] and RUFORUM-C10 Activity Plan for delivering on committments assigned by the Summit [English]
RUFORUM signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) to lead and coordinate graduate training, broader capacity development and transformation of higher agricultural education in the region through the Alliance for Commodity Trade and Investment in Eastern and Southern Africa (ACTESA). The two institutions work together to mutually contribute in their areas of strength to influence policy for capacity development and research especially in the area of agricultural development
RUFORUM engages Regional Economic Commissions in the African regions where it has member universities including eastern, central and southern Africa (including but not limited to East African Community, South African Development Cooperation, and Economic Community for West African States and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development). Representatives from these institutions always participate in Ministerial dialogues held at the RUFORUM Conferences.
THE FOOD AND AGRICULTURAL ORGANISATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS (FAO)
RUFORUM signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations in October 2017 to collaboratively develop the next generation of human resources and technologies. The cooperation was developed to strengthen the capacity of RUFORUM member universities to contribute to food and nutrition security, increasing sustainability, inclusiveness and resilience of agricultural and food systems, adapting to climate change for member states and achievement of Sustainable Development Goals, FAO’s country programme frameworks, regional initiatives, strategic programmes through better access to and exchange of knowledge and expertise in the technical, scientific and academic fields. The collaboration focuses on knowledge exchange and sharing of expertise; development of institutional capacities and technical competencies of RUFORUM member universities; engagement of academic and research community in evidence-based policy processes especially at the regional level; advocacy and raising awareness among African youth.
As part of this partnership, RUFORUM and FAO are implementing a Community Field Attachment Program Awards (CFAPA) for graduate students across Africa to disseminate research finding to the communities and develop solutions to rural development challenges based on the results from their research. As part of the policy engagement objective of the collaboration, FAO and RUFORUM have so far organized three events providing a platform for academia to influence agriculture and natural resource management policies in Africa. The first was discussion between Makerere University College of Agriculture and Environmental Science (CAES) with Uganda’s parliamentary committee on Food and Nutrition on 23rd May 2018 at Parliament of Uganda click here for details This meeting recommended that RUFORUM and the universities engage regularly to provide information to policy makers as well as attend on observer status at the all-sector review meetings hosted by the Prime Minister of Uganda. The second dialogue was hosted in the sidelines of the Six African Higher Education Week where RUFORUM Principals and Deans engaged with Pan African Parliament members. The meeting reiterated the same sentiments of the meeting in Uganda and called for action by both policy makers and academia but more so academia to double their effort to achieve Africa’s aspirations to be a hunger-free continent by 2025 through knowledge generation, quality education provision, policy advice and innovation that can address the challenges of the grassroots. For detailed highlights of the meeting please click here and here.
EUROPEAN COMMISSION (EC)
RUFORUM works closely with the European Commission to ensure that its programmes targeted for Africa are functional. Recently, RUFORUM and the European Commission Directorate of Research and Innovation co-organised an information session on available opportunities for European Union-Africa partnership under the Horizon 2020 and the Horizon Europe in Nairobi, Kenya at the sidelines of the Sixth African Higher Education Week in October 2018.