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By and | on 20 June 2017

Prof Brice Sinsin led a High-level Delegation from Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) to meet President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in Liberia.f Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf


Mr. Mambu Johnson who also attended the meeting presents his award to President Sirleaf.

Mr. Mambu Johnson who also attended the meeting presents his award to President Sirleaf.
Photo Credit: Mr. Ousman Diallo-EXECUTIVE MANSION
Monrovia, Liberia: President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on Friday received a high-level delegation from the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) at her Foreign Ministry Office in Monrovia. The RUFORUM Delegation was accompanied by Education Minister, George K. Werner who was also joined by the Ministers of Youths and Sports as well as Commerce and Industry.
According to an Executive Mansion release, President Sirleaf informed the group that such a high-level visit to Liberia following the deadly Ebola outbreak serves as a motivation for the country and reflects strong commitment from friends of Liberia abroad.
She noted that Liberia needs strong ties with RUFORUM to impact the country’s many tertiary institutions as well as efforts towards a productive scientific agricultural sector development. President Sirleaf also provided highlights on the country’s educational sector, noting some of the many challenges that currently exist.
The Liberian leader thanked the group for visiting Liberia and for their desire to partner with the country’s educational sector and eventually help in fostering a wide collaboration with African universities to mutually build capacity for the continent and strengthen all of its higher institutions of learning.
Speaking during the meeting, the head of delegation, Professor Brice Sinsin, Rector of the University of d’Abomey Calavi, Republic of Benin thanked President Sirleaf for the audience and indicated that all members of his delegation were in Liberia for the first time.
He then briefed President Sirleaf about the composition, goals and mission of RUFORUM and the reason for visiting Liberia. RUFORUM he said, is a network of 66 African Universities with a mission to engage the capacity of universities in support of Africa’s development particularly the Sustainable Development Goals and the African Union Agenda 2063.
Professor Sinsin congratulated President Sirleaf as the first woman President on the African continent and the first woman to serve as Chairperson of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government. He further congratulated the President for her role in establishing democratic processes and principles that have brought Liberia back to a well-recognized democracy on the continent.
“Let me also thank Your Excellency for the role played in managing successfully the Ebola crisis that your country faced in 2014. You are indeed a great and inspirational leader worth emulating,” he concluded.
In a related development, the meeting was also attended by young Liberian entrepreneur – Mr. Mambu Johnson who is a RUFORUM Award Winner. Mr. Johnson presented his award to President Sirleaf. 

RUFORUM Seeks Partnership with Liberian Universities

Some members of the team who spoke with this newspaper said Africa’s development needs will only be fulfilled through Africans, and one way to enhance development is to invest in science and technology and agriculture.

Dr. Moses Osiru, a member of the delegation, said RUFORUM is currently working with 66 universities in Africa and partnering with others in Europe, the United States and Japan, and is in the process of including Australia and China.

Mr. Osiru said collaboration with universities will enhance knowledge sharing and mobilization of resources to foster programs that RUFORUM is embarking on for Africa.

The RUFORUM delegation that visited Liberia comprised of Professor Brice Sinsin, Rector of the University of d’Abomey Calavi, Republic of Benin; Prof. Teresa Akenga, Vice Chancellor, University of Eldoret, Kenya; Prof. John Akec Apuruot, Vice Chancellor of the University of Juba, South Sudan; and Dr. Loveness Kaunda, Deputy Vice Chancellor, Mzuzu University, Malawi.

Others were Prof. Amadou Tidiane Guiro, Rector, Universitè SineSaloum, Elhadj Ibrahima NIASS, Senegal; Prof. Mary J.N. Okwakol, Vice Chancellor, Busitema University, Uganda; Dr. Mary Shawa, member of RUFORUM Finance & Administration Committee and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transport and Public Works, Malawi; Prof. Adipala Ekwamu, Executive Secretary, RUFORUM, Uganda; Dr. Moses Osiru, Deputy Executive Secretary, RUFORUM; and Ms. Joan Apio, Communications Officer of RUFORUM.

The delegation met President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the Ministers of Education and Commerce, and visited the University of Liberia, Cuttington University and the Booker Washington Institute (BWI).

“It is important to include Liberia in RUFORUM because of the good work the President of this country has done, and the second aspect is that the country is progressing and has a good quantity of natural resources, which we believe will be a good breeding ground for the work of RUFORUM.

“Thirdly we believe in the President of Liberia, and if we can make her our role model to be an ambassador for RUFORUM to help other African leaders educate Africa, we will be heading in the right direction,” Dr. Mary Shawa said.

Prof. John Apuruot of South Sudan said they have been following President Sirleaf’s works and see her as their role model. He also said it is important to include Liberia in RUFORUM because Liberia has a significant record of good governance and progress.

The objective of RUFORUM, according to Prof. Ekwamu, is to contribute to African Union’s Development Agenda of 2063 and to work to achieve the sustainable goals of the continent. He said RUFORUM’s approach to meeting these goals is to work with African universities in the areas of research and agriculture.

He said without food security, it is difficult for any development agenda to be achieved.
Africa is a continent with a huge population and natural resources, but lags behind in infrastructural and human development. Identifying the cause, Prof. Ekwamu attributed it to bad governance and use of power by leaders against the people to enrich themselves.

In their meeting with President Sirleaf, the organization in a release said they recommended the establishment of postgraduate programs to strengthen the capacity of university staff for knowledge generation and to support agricultural transformation in the country.

Furthermore, it recommended that universities explore the possibilities of links to other African universities through RUFORUM to provide a rapid response to the current staff skills gaps in research and training institutions and to rebuild national research capacity. The delegation said that BWI has all the basics in place with a core focus on community empowerment, but will require a long-term strategy to maintain the institution’s focus, as well as mechanisms to attract a wider pool of female students.


Author: and
Publication date: 20 June 2017

Prof Brice Sinsin led a High-level Delegation from Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) to meet President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in Liberia.
Credit: DiasporaEngager ( , 20 June 2017
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