The purpose of African universities and colleges is being the intellectual fire power for development in the continent. This is according to Prof. Patrick Lumumba, also known as PLO Lumumba, during a lecture to celebrate Africa Day.
During the session hosted by the Central University of Technology, Free State (CUT) this afternoon, the author and expert in Public Law highlighted the need for innovations in sciences in order for sustainable development to take place.
“Our institutions of higher learning cannot keep playing catch-up while the continent remains consumer-based instead of innovative. Africa has to be present in science, maths and engineering. We are talking about our universities making strides in robotics, artificial intelligence among others,” said Prof. Lumumba.
Streaming from Kenya, Prof. Lumumba also expressed that the Covid-19 pandemic has exposed shortcomings in health and agriculture, as many countries throughout the continent that are forced to go under lockdown, are facing pressure.
“In the midst of the current crisis many health facilities are below par and there is a dependency on other continents for simple medical equipment, including masks,” he said.
“As we know that agriculture is the backbone of our economies, the sector has to be mechanised. So, agricultural universities have to embrace technology and there is aneed for extensive research in order to create sustainable food solutions,” added Prof. Lumumba.
CUT Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Henk de Jager, emphasised that the institution remains a hub of international intellectual development with a mix of students and staff from about 30 African countries.
“Africa Day is about celebrating the diversity of the continent and commonality with the rest of the world. At CUT we strive to give our students international experiences,” he said.