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Connecting Ideas | Strengthening Capacity | Innovation Solutions


Plenary and Session Speakers


During the conference a coalition of African intellectuals who will convene in order to brainstorm on the key priority action areas for consideration at the workshop: (i) Session 1: The Enabling Environment in Education - Excellence in Teaching and Learning; (ii) Session 2: Research - Scope and Reputation; (iii) Session 3: Building Reputable University Systems in Africa; (iv) Session 4: Knowledge for Development – Transforming Societies

Session 1: The Enabling Environment in Education -  Excellence in Teaching and Learning

Chair: Professor Abel Idowu Olayinka, Vice-Chancellor, University Of Ibadan
Presenters: Professor Mabel Opanda Imbuga, Vice Chancellor, Jomo Kenyatta University Of Agriculture And Technology

This session will focus on setting the stage for comprehensively improving the education system and creating effective teaching and learning environments in education; including the primary and secondary levels. The session significantly addresses the challenges facing education systems in Africa, examining the efficiency of existing legal frameworks, policy guidelines and instruments to ensure enabling learning environments and a rights-based approach to education. In addition, the session assesses the existing education quality improvement efforts in areas such as: quality assurance in curriculum development and delivery; faculty development; enhancing academic freedom; improving education policy and governance; as well as concentrating on the known and unknown issues regarding the importance for global competitiveness in order to have higher and more equitable levels of academic performance across countries.

Professor Abel Idowu Olayinka

Vice-Chancellor, University Of Ibadan

Professor Abel Idowu Olayinka attended the University of Ibadan, Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, London and the University of Birmingham, for his BSc, MSc and PhD, respectively. He had post-doctoral training at Technical University Braunschweig and at Technical University Berlin. He joined the academic staff of the University of Ibadan in April 1988, as Lecturer Grade II, and rose through the ranks to the grade of Professor on 1 October 1999. He has served as Head of the Department of Geology, Dean of the Postgraduate School, Chairman of Senate Curriculum Committee and representative of Senate on the Governing Council. He served as Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) from December 2010 to December 2014. He has supervised 11 PhD theses and 56 MSc dissertations. He has authored or co-authored 80 publications comprising articles in refereed scholarly journals, books, chapters in books and monographs. He has attended about 200 seminars, workshops and other scientific meetings in many parts of the world.

Professor Olayinka's professional accolades include being a Fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Science, Fellow of the Nigerian Mining and Geosciences Society (NMGS), Fellow of the Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists (NAPE), Fellow of the Nigerian Association of Hydrogeologists and Fellow of the Geological Society of London. He served as the foundation President of the West African Research and Innovation Management Association (WARIMA), from 2006-2015. He was appointed the 12th Vice-Chancellor, University of Ibadan with effect from 1 December 2015.

Professor Mabel Opanda Imbuga

Vice Chancellor

Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology

Professor Mabel Imbuga is the Vice Chancellor of Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, a Public University in Kenya, well known for its leading role in Agriculture, Science, Technology and Innovation on the African Continent. She is a Professor of Biochemistry, with over 35 years of teaching, scholarly and leadership experience. She holds several position both nationally and internationally, among them Chairperson Regional University Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM), Member of Pan African University Council, Board member Kenya University and Colleges Placement Board representing Public Universities, Board Member Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO), Board member Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE), Board Member Kenya Private Sector  Alliance (KEPSA), Co-Chair-The Committee on Data for Science and Technology- CODATA, Commissioner- Commission for University Education (CUE)-Kenya, Member of the Board of Trustees of Kenya Education Network (KENET), Jury member L’Oréal –UNESCO for Women in Science (FWIS), Chairperson of the Board of sorghum value Chain Development Corporation (SVCDC), Immediate former Chairperson of the Inter University Council for East Africa (IUCEA). Professor Imbuga has been a panelist for the Global Agenda – a TICAD VI side event by Japanese Broadcasting Corporation (NHK world), Former Chairperson of Inter University Council for Eastern Africa, Former chairperson of Vice Chancellors Committee- Public Universities Kenya, Former Director International Network of Women Engineers and Scientists representing English speaking Africa, Board member Taita Taveta University College (TTUC). Board Member Higher Education Loans Board (HELB), Former Board member of Technical University of Mombasa (TUM), Former Board member Multimedia University of Kenya (MMUK),  Former Board member Dedan Kimathi University of Science and Technology (DeKUT), Former Board member Meru University of Science and Technology (MUST). 

Professor Imbuga is a member of several professional associations across the world, a former president and founder of the African Women in Science and Engineering (AWSE), member International Conference of Women Engineers and Scientists (ICWES). She is currently the Chairperson of Forum for African Women Vice Chancellors (FAWoVC) a body that represents female Vice Chancellors of Universities in Africa.

Imbuga is a key resource in strategic management and leadership, with an MBA in strategic management from Esami Maastricht School of Management. She is a Pan Africanist and a key reformer in the Higher Education setup in Africa, having successfully driven a number of key projects, including strengthening the higher education stakeholder relations in Africa and the recent launch of Pan African University Institute hub of Basic Science Technology and Innovation (PAUSTI), housed in JKUAT, Kenya.


Session 2: Research - Scope and Scholarly Reputation

This session will focus on the challenges of that African universities face in developing and maintaining quality research and innovation. The session addresses the crucial importance of research influence, as well as the issues of insufficient time and wealth invested, and lack of established reputation of the research in order for the university to compete with the top global counterparts. Furthermore, the session examines the ways in which African universities can use state of the art, cost-effective, reputable research to reform and improve their research capabilities and research capacity.

Session 3: Building Reputable University Systems in Africa 

Chair: Dr. Fred Swaniker, Chief Executive Officer and Founder, African Leadership Academy and the African Leadership Network

This session will focus on the necessity for African universities to be considered as international institutions that attract students and scholars from all over the world and collaborate with leading departments and programs. The session addresses the importance of the university system in building a strong reputation in an increasingly competitive global space, the development of multicultural communities of students and staff, preparing the students for global political and social environments; as well as the development of international alliances in research, education and business.

Session 4: Knowledge for Development – Transforming Societies

This session will focus on strengthening the state of African universities and the indispensable role of the institutions to be key drivers in developing and transforming societies at all levels. The session also examines the need at the continental level to transform the academic ecosystem.



For more information on the sessions please see the conference agenda.

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