UP officially announced as ANAFE SA-RAFT Focal Institution
By Martie Maree
Posted on 13 September 2010
Prof Robin Crewe (Vice-Principal: Research and Postgraduate studies), Dr Aissétou Drama Yayé (Executive Secretary: ANAFE), Prof Cheryl de la Rey (Vice-Chancellor), Prof John Saka (Chairperson: ANAFE) and Prof Anton Ströh (Dean: Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences).
"The official announcement of the University of Pretoria (UP) as the ANAFE SA-RAFT Focal Institution is the beginning of a strong and resilient relationship based on networking and strengthening partnerships. Together we can make an even bigger contribution using all the different networking platforms," said Prof Cheryl de la Rey, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Pretoria. The official announcement and handing over of the ANAFE office equipment took place on 6 September 2010.
The Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences at UP had been selected as the Southern Africa region's Focal Institution for ANAFE (African Network for Agriculture, Agroforestry and Natural Resources Education). The University competed with other regional Universities to get the bid.
Prof John Saka, Chairperson of ANAFE, also emphasised the importance of networking and building relationships, and said that ANAFE is proud to be associated with UP. “This is going to be an excellent partnership through which value will be added and cutting-edge technology transferred.”
The mission of ANAFE is to ‘improve Agricultural and Natural Resources Education for Impact on Development’. A good example is the focus on Agroforestry, which has resulted not only in the teaching of Agroforestry as part of agriculture or natural resource management programmes in many colleges and universities, but also as a separate discipline. In order to fully achieve sustainable development in African countries, agricultural and natural resource education on tertiary level is of critical importance.
Prof Saka reiterated factors why UP was selected as the ANAFE SA-RAFT Focal Institution. The deciding factors included the impressive, state of the art research facilities, the strong human resource availability, long history in training from undergraduate to PhD levels, the strong publication record, sound financial management policy, strong focus on entrepreneurial training and development, and the close integration existing between the university and industry. The aim is to establish four focal Institutions in Eastern and Central Africa (ECA), Southern Africa (SA), the Sahelian countries (Sahel) and the Africa Humid Tropics (AHT), to enhance human resource development through post-graduate education. Being selected as one of these institutions is a great honour and will benefit the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences’ post-graduate training significantly.
ANAFE is a decentralised organisation. Membership surged to 128 colleges and universities in 34 African countries. It conducts its work through four regional chapters called RAFTs (Regional Agricultural Fora for Training). There is one RAFT each in Eastern and Central Africa (ECA), Southern Africa (SA), the Sahelian countries (Sahel) and the Africa Humid Tropics (AHT). National chapters are known as NAFTs (National Agricultural Fora for Training).
The University of Pretoria will be the Southern African centre for all agricultural and natural resource training and research transformation activities through ANAFE. The University will run the regional programme as well as link up with the continental programme. This should be seen as an excellent opportunity to improve the visibility and influence on the capacity building front of the University of Pretoria while contributing to the development of the continent and achievement of food security.