Africa Center of Excellence ACE2


The Inter-University Council for East Africa (IUCEA) and Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) today signed a Memorandum of Understanding to collaborate on the advancement of quality postgraduate studies and research.

IUCEA and RUFORUM have collaborated on various higher education matters in the past, however, today’s MoU is a formalisation of the collaboration between the two institutions for the period of five years from 2021 to 2026.  One flagship initiative under this collaboration will be the implementation of the Eastern and Southern Africa Higher Education Centers of Excellence Additional Financing (ACEII-AF) project. ACEII-AF will strengthen agricultural higher education in project participating countries.

Prof. Gaspard Banyankimbona, Executive Secretary, IUCEA noted that RUFORUM has the capacity in higher education. “We are ready to partner with RUFORUM. We operate in the East African Community region and beyond and we hope to tap into your experience in the African region to reach out to other stakeholders at quality assurance level, research level and we also know that RUFORUM is strong at community engagement,” he said.

Prof. Banyankimbona said that IUCEA has great ambition especially now that the IUCEA board has just approved its Strategic Plan for 2021-2026. “We want to bring on board all the universities in the region and be able to create an impact. That is where we need RUFORUM in attracting more institutions to become members of IUCEA. After five years there should be visible impact to come out of this engagement.”

Prof. Adipala Ekwamu, Executive Secretary, RUFORUM, noted that several African governments had supported the idea of an initiative on strengthening agricultural higher education.

“If you are talking about African development you must focus attention on agricultural development because most countries are dependent on agriculture. Ministers met in 2019 and made a special appeal to the World Bank through the African Union to operationalise the strengthening higher agricultural education initiative in Africa. Several countries reached out to the World Bank,” he said.

The request was subsequently approved by the World Bank which recently selected IUCEA as the Regional Facilitation Unit for the ACEII-AF.  “We are happy to work with you to ensure that we have a successful implementation of this initiative. It is really important to our countries,” said Prof. Ekwamu.

So far, the ACEII-AF has four participating countries but more African countries are welcome to join.

IUCEA and RUFORUM will cooperate broadly in higher education in line with the Continental Education Strategy for Africa (CESA) 2016-2025, the AU Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa 2024 (STISA-2024). They will convene joint regional stakeholders’ meetings involving higher education policy makers and regulators and Promote multi-disciplinary academic staff exchange and capacity building programmes, among others.

Note to Editors


Inter-University Council for East Africa (IUCEA) is the strategic institution of the East African Community (EAC) responsible for the development and coordination of higher education and research in the region. It’s a membership institute for both public and private universities, university colleges and other degree granting institutions operating in the Partner States of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda. Currently there are 132 member-university institutions from the EAC Partner States. IUCEA facilitates networking among universities in East Africa and outside the region. IUCEA also facilitates maintenance of internationally comparable quality education standards in East Africa so as to promote the region’s competitiveness in higher education.


The Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) is a consortium of 143 African universities operating in 38 countries on the continent with a mission to ‘strengthen the capacities of Universities to foster innovations responsive to demands of smallholder farmers through the training of high quality researchers, the output of impact oriented research and the maintenance of collaborative working relations among researchers, farmers, national agricultural research institutions’.

For more information contact

Agnes Asiimwe – Communications Officer, IUCEA., +256 783 724 489