Frequent Asked Questions

  1. Is Ruforum 2030 Vision the overarching framework for SHAEA?
    • The Vision and the SHAEA project are linked as the latter is one of the mechanisms we see to implement the broader vision. How much does the Vision represent the broader continental priorities on ag higher education? We might hear some concerns that they are not represented by that vision, especially in West Africa. Should we think about emphasizing the broader points on how that vision came out of the AU science and technology agenda?
  2. Engagement Strategy with regional organizations
    • This is a related point to the above. We have talked about the need to engage with the regional organizations (CORAF, ASARECA, other?) We have invited FARA to bring that perspective on the RSC. How will we deliberately engage with the key regional organizations to ensure broad support for the project? We need to minimize any risk of perception of SHAEA as an exclusive membership project… Universities that are not part of RUFORUM have already approached us telling us their perception was that this is only for RUFORUM members and they may feel troubled by that so we should address this early on
  3. Eligibility to apply to become a regional anchor vis a vis RUFORUM membership.
    • We have discussed before that a university did not have to be a RUFORUM member to apply through the call for proposals. Should we require that they become a RUFORUM member once they do? It would be ideal as that may facilitate participation in RUFORUM mechanisms and would bring more benefits, but we should probably not require that. The regional anchors could still be invited to the annual meetings of RUFORUM etc even if they are not members. Should we make that a clear first criterion so that we dispel any doubt and concern?
  4. Core gaps areas
    • Our concept is that the regional anchors will (i) strengthen the agriculture programs across the board, making them inter-disciplinary and practically relevant. By inter-disciplinary, we mean mainly integrating the business, economics, ICT and institutional curricula in the science/technical agriculture programs, and (ii) provide regional leadership in the key gaps areas. Regional anchor university candidates can select one or several (up to 3) key gaps areas to develop their programs around, so as to make this an attractive package for students, and have relevance at the sub-region. As a reminder, these are the areas that were identified as the gaps based on agriculture deans and broader stakeholder (?) consultations across the continent (was the private sector also consulted??):
      1. Agribusiness and Entrepreneurship {probably of interest for Cote d’Ivoire and Mozambique.. and all others so maybe this might become a cross-cutting lens}
      2. Agri-food Systems and Nutrition {probably of interest for Malawi}
      3. Rural Innovations and Agricultural Extension {probably of interest for Cameroon and Ghana}
      4. Agricultural Risk Management and Climate Change Proofing {probably of interest for Malawi}
      5. Agricultural Policy Analysis {probably of interest for Ghana}
      6. Statistical Analysis, Foresight and Data Management {probably of interest for Cote d’Ivoire – with a regional lead program on Statistics in Abidjan}
  5. How will the project help push the new ag frontier – Digital Agriculture and the use of Disruptive technology to leap frog in Ag?
    • This is an exciting new area that will attract future graduates and complements well the sustainability angle, and the entrepreneurship focus. We may want to promote including it as a cross-cutting dimension in (almost) all regional anchors.
  6. How will the key gaps areas be defined?
    • Universities will be invited to submit their proposals in the key gaps areas where they have or intend to develop a comparative advantage. At the same time, the national consultation process is very important to promote the selection of the key gaps areas that are going to be most relevant for the sub-region, and areas in which they can really have leadership, and where students from the sub-region will come to study. Thus, we must emphasize the critical importance of the national consultation process.
  7. Complementarity with ACE programs where both projects are active in agriculture.
    • Universities that receive support under ACE for agriculture centers of excellence can still qualify for SHAEA. The rationale is that we are creating something much broader through SHAEA and focusing on the entire schools of agriculture (inspired by the Silicone Valley for agriculture idea). We will need to evaluate this on a case-by-case basis to ensure that there is enough capacity by the university to absorb the funding meaningfully and bring the institution to the level of continental leadership on ag. {This point was consulted upon with the ACE team leaders}
  8. Eligibility to apply – and track record as a leading agricultural program.
    • It is necessary for the institutions to have a very strong foundation, and so strong graduate level agriculture programs. They do not currently need to be at the PhD level.
  9. Multiple proposals per university or a single proposal.
    • If the proposals are strategic, addressing the key gaps areas as informed through the consultative process, we would probably expect one proposal per institution but remain open to discussion.
  10. Engaging agriculture sector and resources management models.
    • We have built in incentives for the project to allocate significant resources to engaging the agriculture sector (ministries of agriculture, think tanks). Resources can be implemented either through a PIU of another ongoing project managed by Ministry of Agriculture (e.g. piggy back on WAPP implementation arrangements…) or be disbursed to/implemented through the anchor university in a service provider model. For example, the project could support the development of the strategic vision and gaps analysis for the ministries of agriculture to identify the capacity building/training needs, or skills needs for the sector. Those activities (consulting, travel etc) could be funded through the funding held by the anchor university earmarked for this, or provided to Min Agriculture but without the need to create a separate Project Implementation Unit.
  11. Strategic partnerships.
    • We have built in incentives for the project to allocate significant resources to building strategic partnerships. We will expect each university to develop multi-year strategic collaboration programs with 1-3 partners. We would like to promote high quality partnerships and deep engagement. In parallel, we have had dialogue with key partners for almost a year and will support the universities preparing their proposals with getting informed about the nature of those possible partnerships (?????) so that those ideas are reflected in the proposals.
  12. How do we define a regional anchor?
    • Universities that will engage in regional leadership on the key gaps areas, helping change the paradigm of agricultural education, and achieving that impact at scale through the RUFORUM+ network. We need to work on the “+” through a deliberate engagement strategy with the other regional institutions and outreach. The universities will be accredited as a ‘regional anchor’ upon successful achievement of (?) the key benchmarks, so they have to earn that status.