3 March 2020
Story by Jeanette Dadzie
Marketing and Public Affairs Officer
Office of Advancement and Public Affairs
The Africa University student community was represented by Student Representative Council President Mr. Shaideen Travers at the Sixth Session of the Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development at the Elephant Hills resort in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe from the 24th to the 27th of February 2020. The theme of the forum was, “2020-2030: A decade to Deliver a Transformed and Prosperous Africa through the 2030 Agenda and Agenda 2063.” The SDG sub- themes of people, prosperity, planet, peace, and partnerships were explored in a series of scintillating and engaging parallel workshops and discussions, where progress towards the achievement of the SDG’s was presented and paths towards accelerating their realization were explored, especially as they relate to the youth.
Africa University alongside SRC leaders from other universities including Harare Institute of Technology, the National University of Science and Technology, Lupane State University and the School of Mines gave their voice to the discussions and the call for a reimagining of education in Zimbabwe and Africa at the special session, “UN@75, The Future is Now: African Youth Engagement for the Decade of Action”. The call for the transformation of education is hinged upon the need to phase out outdated traditional modes of instruction and learning in the African context, whose main focus has been on teaching, learning and research, to now include innovation and industrialization.
Africa University has become a pioneer of innovation and industrialization in higher education curriculum development and programmes for the meaningful and lasting transformation of the continent. This is evident in the University’s drive to enhance industry- education linkages and partnerships with corporations in agriculture, telecommunications and information technology leading to the development and implementation of various memoranda of understanding that ultimately translate into enterprise development and critical skills training/development, creating graduates with purpose and relevance to the context of Africa.
Mr. Travers said, “I truly appreciate that AU is doing extremely well in the innovation space as a pioneer in the country. We have so much more to do and our work has only just begun.” Expanding further on his experience at the conference, Mr. Travers went on to say, “This was a truly inspiring experience and as the leaders of our respective universities, I and my colleagues decided that our participation in the achievement of the SDG’s as youth should not end here but should extend far beyond this. As such, before parting, we established a society from various disciplines whose focus is to identify and develop solutions driven by the youth that will address topical issues affecting all levels of the society. We have gone so far as to develop a concept paper addressing Agriculture, which as you know, is of great concern to the continent and Zimbabwe especially given the drought we have been experiencing and the larger implications of climate change. This concept paper has been presented before the Parliament of Zimbabwe and from there, we are eyeing implementation. Guaranteeing food security is the ultimate goal.”
Deputy Secretary of the United Nations Ms. Amina Mohammed, Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Kwesi Quartey and Honourable Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development, Professor Amon Murwira were some of the high level delegates in attendance at the forum.
The Regional Forum is an intergovernmental platform convened by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) in collaboration with the African Union Commission, the African Development Bank and the United Nations system to review progress, share experiences and lessons learned, and build consensus on recommendations in the form of key messages to accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Agenda 2063 of the African Union. These messages serve as Africa’s collective regional input to the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development convened annually under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council. The 2030 Agenda for sustainable development recognizes the imperative of major groups and other stakeholders’ involvement in the implementation, follow-up and review of the sustainable development goals (SDGs). In this regard the agenda, among others, calls for major groups to be brought together with governments, the private sector, and the United Nations system in the context of a revitalized global partnership to deliver on the ambitious sustainable development goals and targets that are at the core of the Agenda. (Source: https://www.uneca.org)