AFRICA IS WELL-ENDOWED TO BUILD VIABLE, SUSTAINABLE ACADEMIC INSTITUTIONS, SAYS VC
The Vice Chancellor of the University of Calabar, Prof. Zana Akpagu has said that Africa is well-endowed, in terms of manpower, mineral resources, environmental and climatic conditions to build viable, resourceful and sustainable academic institutions that can be the envy of other surrounding continents.
Prof. Akpagu who is also the Chairman of U6 Consortium of African Universities stated this at the 7th International Conference of the U6+ Consortium tagged ‘UNICAL 2019’, held at the institution’s Senate Chamber with the theme’’ Harnessing Africa’s Potentials in Science, Technology and Humanities for Sustainable Development’’.
He said that gone are the days when Africans looked up to their colonial masters for territorial development, adding that it is heart-warming to observe that, in every sphere of life whether in the Americas, Europe, Asia or the Carribeans, for any major breakthrough, the brains behind are Africans.
This came as he described the U6+ as a consortium of academics from leading African Universities where members brainstorm on Research and Development initiatives in Africa.
He said the University of Calabar joined the Consortium in 2016, at the University of Cape Coast, Cape Coast, Ghana, making it the 7th member, hence the name U6+ Consortium.
The Vice Chancellor expressed optimism that this years’ conference will showcase Africa’s contributions in Science, Technology and Humanities for betterment of humanity globally and particularly Africans.
To achieve this noble objective, he urged all members of the consortium to strengthen their bond and collectively resolve to provide the best in Science, Technology and Humanities for Africans.
Chairman of the occasion and Deputy Governor of Cross River State, Prof. Ivara Esu, in his welcome address, said the world has apparently been reduced to a global village today largely to the exploits of Science and technology.
He said that the exploits in Science and Technology has not only exposed the backwardness of many countries, but has also posed increasing challenges to us as African academics to do what it takes to catch up with the front liners even with the less developed world.
The Deputy Governor further stated that it is for these reasons that most governments and higher institutions of learning are according Science and technology greater attention, in the hope that youth and students would stumble on new discoveries and utilize such opportunities to achieve scientific breakthroughs that would help in bringing their various societies to a generally accepted pedestal.
Prof. Esu said that the theme of the conference truly represents Africa’s hope of advancement in science and technology, as well as in the humanities.
He called on African Universities to look beyond their individual country borders and effectively collaborate with each other across the continent, saying that domesticated knowledge and research do not advance the frontiers of human civilization.
This is even as he hailed the major objective of the U6+ Consortium, which is primarily to enhance cooperation among member institutions in line with University core mandates of teaching, research, knowledge dissemination and community service.
He added that any African society desirous of growth must, as a matter of urgent necessity, embrace the teaching of science and technology, a discipline that has not only radically altered human thought and our everyday interactions, but has also taken human civilization to new digital heights as well as making life more meaningful.
According to him, African Universities should seek ways of harnessing the continent’s potentials by patterning in the present and defining the future of its technological growth.
Also speaking, the International Coordinator of the U6+ Consortium, Prof. Grace Adepoju described as ‘symbolic’ the 7th conference being hosted by Unical which is the seventh member of the consortium.
She said Unical is blessed with team of highly resourceful and knowledgeable who are capable of taking the U6+ Consortium to enviable heights.
The Permanent Secretary, Cross River State Ministry of Education, Mrs. Aniedi Ekpenyong, in her remarks, said Africa is blessed with human and natural resources and if properly harnessed will result in massive development.
She said if Africa must aspire to be in the league of developed nations, it must strive hard to develop the potentials of youths.
The US Ambassador’s Distinguished Scholar, Prof Hilary Inyang to Ethiopia also delivered the keynote address on the topic, ‘’ Upgrading Science, Technology and Entrepreneurship Systems for African Sustainable Development’
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