NAIROBI - President Paul Kagame, yesterday, called on African universities to invest more in science and technology, research and development, as well as development of business leaders in order to
drive the continent’s growth and prosperity agenda.
Speaking at the celebrations to mark the 40th anniversary of the United States International University (USIU) in Nairobi, President Kagame pointed out that although Africa had seen exceptional growth of university education in the last 20 years; “the continent is radically different from that of past generations, and, therefore, universities have to adapt to the ever changing demands, in order to seize opportunities of this new century.”
The President noted that Africa has under-invested in business leaders in comparison to Europe, Asia and particularly the United States which has ten times the number of MBA programmes Africa has, with only one third of Africa’s population.
“We need to seize the new investment opportunities in Africa by training entrepreneurs with a
strong sense of responsibility, accountability and a commitment to service, for both the public and private sector,” he said.
President Kagame outlined several conditions that would enable universities to be more effective including aligning courses offered with national policy; developing closer ties to the private sector and
surrounding communities; sharing beneficial research; and seeking new funding sources especially from the private sector which absorbs a significant share of graduates.
President Kagame, told the students that the sense of limitless possibilities possessed by young people is needed now, more than ever before, particularly in Africa. He urged them to recognise their potential as the next generation of leaders and act on the need to find innovative solutions to the continent’s challenges.
The President went on to outline the qualities of a leader that Universities today should produce.
“A person who holds themselves and others to the highest standards; who understands their context and can participate in solving Africa’s complex challenges and creating prosperity.”
President Kagame called for greater cooperation among those involved in higher education, pointing out that “It is the African way to see ourselves as a community - the advancement of one should benefit the whole. By seizing the opportunities before you today, and being mindful about how they can also positively impact others, our continent will be able to keep pace with the rest of the world and confidently face the future.”
Following the anniversary celebrations, President Kagame paid a courtesy call to President Mwai Kibaki at the state house in Nairobi.