Kenya (University of Eldoret) Her excellency president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf receives delegation from the regional universities forum for capacity building in agriculture to discuss high level skills development in Africa

Prof Teresa Akenga, our Vice-Chancellor, was part of a delegation from the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) that visited Liberia from June 14th – 16th, 2017. The trip was facilitated by the Counsel General of Liberia to Uganda, Dr. Thelma Awori. The purpose of the visit was to meet with leaders of key research and tertiary education institutions in Liberia and to dialogue with key government ministries on building high level skills to support agricultural led growth in Liberia. The high level delegation was received by Her Excellency Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of the Republic of Liberia on June 16th, 2017.

During the meeting with Her Excellency President Sirleaf, the delegation, led by Prof. Adipala Ekwamu, Executive Secretary of RUFORUM congratulated Her Excellency on being the first African woman elected President of Liberia and Chairperson of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS and for her role in establishing democratic processes and principles that have brought Liberia back to a well-recognized democracy on the continent. He also recognised the leadership role played by Her Excellency in managing successfully the Ebola crises.

The delegation requested Her Excellency to consider sharing her wide experience with African Vice-Chancellors and higher education leaders from across the continent. Her Excellency Sirleaf Johnson pledged her support to work with the RUFORUM to strengthen higher education in Africa. She noted that “when a country’s population is educated, it leads to development”. She accepted to provide a keynote address to higher education stakeholders, graduates students and others during the upcoming 6th African Higher Education Week and RUFORUM Biennial to be held in Nairobi, Kenya from October 22nd-26th, 2018. Further, Her Excellency Sirleaf Johnson thanked the delegation for their visit to Liberia, which has recently emerged from many years of strife, but is now a vibrant and growing society, ready to engage with the world.

As part of the visit, the RUFORUM delegation visited the Booker Washington Institute (BWI), University of Liberia, Cuttington University and the Central Agricultural Research Institute (CARI) of Liberia. The delegation met with management of the institutions visited, as well as Hon. George Kronnisanyon Werner, Minister of Education; Seklau E. Wiles, Acting Minister of Agriculture; Octavius T. Quarbo, Assistant Minister for Administration, Ministry of Agriculture; Att. Aogon F. Tingba, Deputy Minister for Administration, Ministry of Education; Amb. Marjon V. Kamara; Minister of Foreign Affairs; B. Elias Shoniyin, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs; Axel M. Addy, Minister, Ministry of Commerce and Industry; and Saah Charles N’Tow, Minister of Youth and Sports.

During the visit to the institutions our Vice-Chancellor identified a number of areas that the University of Eldoret would be able to collaborate with the University of Liberia. This is mainly in the areas of Agriculture and Natural Resources. The discussions between Deans of the 2 respective schools in Liberia and Eldoret will commence and will be done along with other opportunities that may arise in RUFORUM.

The RUFORUM delegation consisted of Prof. Brice Sinsin (Rector, University d’Abomey Calavi, Republic of Benin), Prof. Teresa Akenga (Vice Chancellor, University of Eldoret, Kenya), Prof. John Akec Apuruot (Vice Chancellor, University of Juba, South Sudan), Dr. Loveness Kaunda (Deputy Vice Chancellor, Mzuzu University, Malawi); Prof. Amadou Tidiane Guiro (Rector, Université Sine Saloum El hadj Ibrahima NIASS, Senegal), Prof. Mary J.N Okwakol (Vice Chancellor, Busitema University, Uganda), Dr. Mary Shawa (Member of RUFORUM Finance & Administration Committee and Principal Secretary, Ministry of Transport and Public Works, Malawi); Prof. Adipala Ekwamu (Executive Secretary, RUFORUM), Dr. Moses Osiru (Deputy Executive Secretary, RUFORUM), and Ms. Joan Apio (Communication Officer, RUFORUM).