The 7th edition of the U6+ consortium international conference of leading African universities has opened in Calabar, Cross River State capital.
U6+ is a consortium of academics from leading African universities, which comprises the University of Cape Coast Ghana; University of Eldoret Kenya; University of Gambia Banjul, Gambia and Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Town South Africa.
Others include University of Ilorin; University of Calabar, Kwara State University Malete, and Michael and Cecilia Ibru University all in Nigeria.
Professor Ivara Esu, the Chairman of the conference and Deputy Governor of Cross River State, described the forum as important for the growth of the continent since it provides African academics the opportunity to brainstorm on ways to tackle challenges in science and technology.
Professor Esu remarked “the forum prepares your minds towards the most proactive ways of tackling present challenges and the ever expanding frontiers of knowledge occasioned by advances in science and technology”.
He noted that advancements in science and technology globally should spur academics to “do what it takes to catch up with the front liners. That is why most governments and higher institutions accord science and technology greater attention”.
According to him, “African universities must look beyond their individual country borders and effectively collaborate with each other across the continent.
“I hail the major objective of the U6+ Consortium, which is to enhance cooperation among member institutions in line with university core mandates of teaching, research, knowledge dissemination and community service”, he said.
He further urged, “African universities should seek ways of harnessing the continent’s potentials by defining the future of its technological growth. African youths must be encouraged to deploy the totality of their creative elements to science”.
Harnessing African potentials in Science
Professor Zana Akpagu, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Calabar, in a welcome address, said the theme “Harnessing Africa’s Potentials in Science, Technology and Humanities for Sustainable Development” was to emphasize the array of resources in the continent.
Akpagu said “the year’s theme was chosen based on the fact that Africa has what it takes, in terms of manpower, mineral resources, environmental and climatic conditions to build enviable, resourceful and sustainable academic institution”.
He explained that the consortium was hinged on joint partnership on research, curriculum development, seminars, workshop, conferences and academic exchanges among staff and students of the collaborating universities.
The host Vice Chancellor said the five days conference would provide scholars the opportunity to showcase Africa’s contributions in science, technology and humanities for the betterment of the people.
Other Vice Chancellors from member universities presented goodwill messages at the ceremony, which was held at the Senate Chambers of the University of Calabar.