Professor Adipala Ekwamun is retiring from RUFORUM after nearly two decades of service

Professor Adipala Ekwamun has announced his retirement from Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM), after serving the organisation for 18 years. 

He is retiring from the position of Executive Secretary at the end of December, having founded the organisation in 2003 and steered it to become one of the most visible university organisations on the continent. RUFORUM today is a key convener for university-policy dialogue. 

During his time at RUFORUM, Professor Ekwamun has made significant contributions to the advancement of higher education and research in agriculture and rural development, and his work has had a lasting impact on the field. 

Having been founded as a member-based organisation for collaborative undertakings by 10 Universities in 5 countries, RUFORUM has today expanded to 163 Universities in 40 African countries spanning all five geographical regions of the continent. 

It has also expanded its scope of work to embrace the broader STI ecosystem but with a niche and focus on supporting agricultural development and enhancing Food and Nutrition Security in the continent. Additionally, RUFORUM has established a vibrant academic mobility programme enabling students and staff to train and share experiences across the continent.

In his farewell message, Professor Ekwamun noted, “ We still have a high human capacity deficit in the continent; our research output is still low (only 2% of the global output) and unfortunately there is still rampant poverty and food and nutrition insecurity in the continent.”

Despite these challenges, he further stated that there is hope for the future, as we have the necessary institutions in place to drive change and African universities are increasingly playing a visible role in this process.

He will be succeeded by Dr Patrick Okori, formerly Principal Scientist with the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) where until mid this year he worked as the Deputy Director for Global Research Programme on Accelerated Crop Improvement.

Article by Jedidah Mwangi

Read the farewell message here