Prof. Agbor: Education & STI are Critical to Africa’s Transformation

African Union Commissioner, Prof. Agbor makes her remarks during the PAUSTI graduation ceremony.

Her Excellency, African Union Commissioner for Human Resources, Science and Technology, Prof. Sarah Anyang’ Agbor, has said in the quest to promote knowledge based society, Africa cannot downplay the significance of education, science, technology and innovation in the transformation of the continent.

The Commissioner said this at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) where she presided over the Kenyan-based Pan African University Institute for Basic Sciences, Technology and Innovation (PAUSTI)’s 6th graduation ceremony, held jointly with the host institution’s 35th Convocation, on Friday, December 18, 2020.

She thanked the Kenya Government and the host institution as well as the African Union member states and partners for facilitating the education of young Africans.

“Over the years, African countries have sought to promote knowledge based society and we cannot overemphasize the importance of education, science, technology and innovation for the transformation of the Africa we want,” said Prof. Agbor.

Prof. Agbor interacts with JKUAT Chancellor, Prof. Joseph Ndung’u and Chair of JKUAT Council, Amb. Mahboub Mohamed

Prof. Agbor hailed the thirteen (13) PhD and thirty two (32) Masters graduands drawn from 20 African Union member states, noting “they were well trained and effectively prepared to offer lasting solutions to the challenges facing the continent.”

She told the graduands: “You are now part of an important human resource necessary for growth and development of Africa.”

The Commissioner further said, “Agenda 2063 recognizes that Africa’s sustained growth, competitiveness and economic transformation will require investments in new technologies and innovations and the spawning ground for such developments is our education, training and research institutions.”

The AU Commissioner was accompanied by the Pan African University Rector, Prof.  Belay Kassa, Director of Human Resources, Science and Technology at AU Commission, Dr. Mahama Ouedraogo and pioneer PAUSTI Director, Prof. Gabriel Magoma as well as the Director of Pan African University Institute for Governance, Humanities and Social Sciences in Cameroon, Prof Elizabeth Abenga.

The academic procession that include the African Union Commissioner and Pan African University officials arrive at the Graduation Pavilion. 

She told the 45 graduands that their graduation was;  “A testimony of how the African Union commits to empowering the youth through education,” and conveyed warm congratulations on behalf of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, H.E. Dr Moussa Faki Mahamat to the graduating class on their commendable achievements.

Prof Agbor reminded the PAUSTI graduands that they were new PAUSTI ambassadors and implored them “to incorporate and exemplify values for integrity, Pan Africanism, respect for life, peaceful co-existence and responsible citizenship.”

The graduands who hail from 20 African Union member states were challenged “to promote critical thinking, creativity, innovation and entrepreneurial mind-sets,” adding Africa needed their innovation output and skills.”

Believe in yourself and dream bigger. No matter how hard situations might seem after graduation pray and work towards your goals.

Do not envy anyone and trust in your capability to break forth and make a difference. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.

A section of PhD graduands follow the graduation ceremony

Present at the ceremony conducted in strict observance of the Covid-19 protocols on safety and health in public gatherings included select dignitaries from the host University led by the JKUAT Chancellor, Prof. Joseph Mathu Ndung’u, Chairman of the University Council, Amb. (Eng.) Mahboub Maalim Mohamed, Vice Chancellor, Prof. Victoria Wambui Ngumi, the Director, Research, Science & Technology in the Ministry of Education, Dr. Gideon Kivengea.

The theme of this year’s graduation ceremony was: Refocusing Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship for Excellence in Higher Education in the Era of COVID-19.”  Cumulatively, 2688 candidates from both JKUAT and PAUSTI graduated during the ceremony, the first to be held virtually.

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