Panel 13

Engaging Africa Diaspora in Knowledge Transfer through Networking

Panel organisers: Linley Chiwona-Karltun, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences SLU. Association of African Agricultural Professionals in the Diaspora (AAAPD), Europe Division and Fred Asiegbu, University of Helsinki, Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, Finland. Association of African Agricultural Professionals in the Diaspora (AAAPD), Europe Division.

E-mail: Linley.Chiwona.Karltun@slu.se

There is consensus that collaboration, partnerships and networks can be powerful tools for bringing about change through the sharing of ideas, experience, knowledge and skills. In today’s society, one is inundated with information through various traditional and social media platforms using mobile phones, Facebook, snapchat, twitter and WhatsApp groups, networking is a fundamental component for being successful. According to studies in organizational behavior networking ability is not only important for career success — "networking is also crucial for getting things accomplished and making change inside organizations in both the public and private sector." One well-known example is LinkedIn the world's largest professional network with hundreds of millions of members. LinkedIn’s mission is to connect the world's professionals to make them more productive and successful. The Association of African Agricultural Professionals in the Diaspora (AAAPD) is an organization founded in 2008 and launched in 2010 at the World Bank, DC with the assistance of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It comprises a database of multi-disciplinary African Professionals in the Diaspora, many of them academicians, researchers, extension specialists, agricultural economists and development agents. AAAPD’s mission is to provide a platform for collaboration and partnerships to share and exchange information in agricultural research, extension, training through dialogue to enhance African smallholder farmers productivity and rural development.  In this panel, we will discuss how the Africa Diaspora is contributing to building collaborations, partnerships and knowledge networks in academia as well as the use of ICT in profiling and fostering distance learning. The session will also debate issues that may strengthen the power of partnerships and networking between Africa Diaspora and African scholars. This session welcomes papers that go beyond the general debate on African Diaspora and their role in Africa’s development by identifying specific niches where their participation is marginal. In the process, we aim to build bridges between African agricultural institutions with other partners. This bridge could play pivotal roles in the transference of knowledge, technology and collaborative efforts.

There is consensus that collaboration, partnerships and networks can be powerful tools for bringing about change through the sharing of ideas, experience, knowledge and skills. In today’s society, one is inundated with information through various traditional and social media platforms using mobile phones, Facebook, snapchat, twitter and WhatsApp groups, networking is a fundamental component for being successful. According to studies in organizational behavour networking ability is not only important for career success — "networking is also crucial for getting things accomplished and making change inside organizations in both the public and private sector." One well-known example is LinkedIn the world's largest professional network with hundreds of millions of members. LinkedIn’s mission is to connect the world's professionals to make them more productive and successful. The Association of African Agricultural Professionals in the Diaspora (AAAPD) is an organization founded in 2008 and launched in 2010 at the World Bank, DC with the assistance of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It comprises a database of multi-disciplinary African Professionals in the Diaspora, many of them academicians, researchers, extension specialists, agricultural economists and development agents. AAAPD’s mission is to provide a platform for collaboration and partnerships to share and exchange information in agricultural research, extension, training through dialogue to enhance African smallholder farmers productivity and rural development.  In this panel, we will discuss how the Africa Diaspora is contributing to building collaborations, partnerships and knowledge networks in academia as well as the use of ICT in profiling and fostering distance learning. The session will also debate issues that may strengthen the power of partnerships and networking between Africa Diaspora and African scholars. This session welcomes papers that go beyond the general debate on African Diaspora and their role in Africa’s development by identifying specific niches where their participation is marginal. In the process, we aim to build bridges between African agricultural institutions with other partners. This bridge could play pivotal roles in the transference of knowledge, technology and collaborative efforts.

Approved abstracts panel 13

1. Third Culture Feminism: towards a paradigm of ambivalence, particularity and multiplicity

Authors: Linley Chiwona-Karltun, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden & Caroline Wamala Larsson, Stockholm University, Department of Computer and Systems Sciences/DSV, Sweden.
E-mail: linley.karltun@slu.se and wamala@dsv.su.se

People who identify with third culture identities have lived their formative years outside their country of passport or birth. They have been exposed to a diversity of cultures, languages, education and in various aspects are located in what Brah (1996) refers to as the “diaspora space”. This is a position that encompasses difference, multiplicity and marginality, a space that celebrates diversity and particularity. When third culture people return to their passport countries or birth countries, the “pervasiveness of different” persists even in these contexts. Building upon this notion of diaspora space, we challenge the experiences of those who position their identities as third culture or diaspora spaces with a feminist lens. A feminist approach to third culture identity allows for an interpretive frame of situatedness of lived experiences especially as the social also happens to be a matter of gender relations.  We draw on autoethnographic reflections as we develop the contours of third culture feminism. Third cultural feminism accounts for a variety of experiences, while challenging the hegemonic constructions of third culture identities and contributes different readings of the same. We discuss these issues and contextualize meanings in lived experiences.

2. BUILDING SYNERGIES FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT THROUGH NETWORKING WITH AFRICAN DIASPORA: “Realities, Challenges and Prospects for sub-Saharan Countries”

Authors: Nathan Kanuma Taremwa & Alfred R. Bizoza, University of Rwanda (UR), Rwanda.
E-mail: nk.taremwa@gmail.com

In the recent years, raising awareness for building synergies and complementarities between the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Africa’s Agenda 2063 has become a global concern. The UN General Assembly adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and in the same direction, the African countries have adopted Agenda 2063, the 50 year Transformative Agenda. In order to move towards the “Africa We Want in 2030, 2063 and Beyond”, African Union (AU) considers such synergies through capacity building as one of the strategic ways that will catapult socio-economic transformation in Africa.

The primary objective of this study is to investigate the realities, challenges and prospects Africa’s Higher Education Institutions (AHEIs) and how building synergies with African diaspora can serve as a tool to bridge the knowledge and skills gap.   A systematic approach will be adopted with content analysis. To fast track Africa’s development agenda, the African Union’s continental education strategy for Africa (CESA 16-25) calls for a paradigm shift towards transformative education and training systems to meet the knowledge, competencies, skills, research, innovation and creativity required to nurture African core values and promote sustainable development. In this respect, some regional bodies such as the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) has embarked on networking and partnerships with other institutions and scholars especially from the European Union (EU) and United States of America (USA) to build capacity especially in agricultural sciences up to Masters and PhD level. By 2015, RUFORUM alone had trained over 212 PhD students, 1,283 M Sc graduates through Member Universities and over 250 publications. Building synergies through networking with African diaspora will thus steer-up innovation and also contribute towards the continental education strategy for higher education in Africa. In Rwanda, the government has committed more funds for capacity building especially in vocational training, and further training to the Masters programmes and PhDs in order cope with the challenge of youth unemployment especially after graduation. Networking with African diaspora will thus create more opportunities for the youths to engage in research for development, training for impact and innovation through shared resources.

Keywords: Building synergies, Sustainable development, Networking, African diaspora, sub-Saharan countries.

3. Leadership and Entrepreneurship in Agribusiness Development (LEAD) for Youth across Africa.

Author: Ngolia Kimanzu, Salvation Army, Sweden: International Development.
E-mail: ngolia.kimanzu@fralsningsarmen.se

In sub Saharan Africa, agriculture is the lifeblood of most of the economies. There are half a billion Africans or some 65% of the population (more than 80% in some countries, who depend on small-scale farming as their primary livelihood source.  Many farmers often do not however produce enough to feed their families throughout the year.

Agriculture cannot realise its great potential for growth if productivity is not increased and the main opportunities along the agriculture value chain are not tapped. Agriculture is also an essential driver of economic development and an area of great opportunity for young people in Africa.

In Africa over 200 million people are aged between 15 and 24, the youngest population in the world. Low profitability, poor security of tenure, and high risks are some of the reasons Africa’s youth are not engaged in agriculture. Growing youth unemployment and declining crop yields mean engaging youth in agriculture should be a priority.

This challenge has motivated the Association of Africa Agriculture Professionals in the Diaspora (AAAPD) to seek innovative ways to position the youth at the forefront of agricultural growth and transformation. The strategy will be to provide new opportunities for youth in agriculture and its value chains. Strategies to be employed include leadership and entrepreneurship development through linking youth with universities both in Africa, the USA and Europe where AAAPD is currently very active and operational.  Agribusinesses in the USA and Europe will also be engaged to provide mentorship and offer potential business links with selected youth led agribusinesses in Africa.

The impact of the LEAD programme in agriculture will be seen in the impact on sustainable economic growth and the reduction of malnutrition and poverty.

4. Agroforestry as a tool for climate change mitigation

Author: Mohamed Elfadl, Viikki Tropical Resources Institute, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.
E-mail: Mohamed.elfadl@helsinki.fi

Agroforestry is a set of land use practices, in which trees are grown in combination with crops and/or livestock in spatial or temporal arrangements is emerging as a promising option to sustain agricultural productivity and mitigate climate change through different mitigation strategies and by efficient use of resource has the potential for alleviating some environmental and economic problems associated with modern agriculture. Agroforestry innovative technologies have the potential to contribute significantly to climate change mitigation by improved cropping practices and greater numbers of trees on farms.  Trees accumulate CO2 in their various parts of a tree such as bole, branches, foliage, roots and bark during photosynthesis.

Examples from Africa already show that a “win-win” situation for promoting agroforestry and mitigating climate change can be created by encouraging the use of agroforestry systems. Agroforestry mitigation practices as a result of better soil nutrient and water use, reduced deforestation and residue burning, and improved tolerance to adverse climatic events are essential mechanisms in this solution. The normal carbon sequestered by these practices has been estimated to be 9, 21, 50, and 63 Mg C ha-1 in semiarid, sub-humid, humid, and temperate regions.

According to IPCC, GHG emissions from agriculture and agriculture driven land use changes, is in the range of 7.3 to 12.7 Gt of CO2 equivalent (CO2e) globally per year which is approximately 24% of total global anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, of which about 74% of from developing countries and through agroforestry rates of range between 5.5-6 Gt CO2e can be sequestered annually. On average, the expected contribution from the smallholder farmers range from 1.5-3.5 Mg C ha-1 yr-1 with most of this potential in the tropics.

The carbon sequestration potential of agroforestry systems is estimated to be between 12 and 228 Mg C ha-1 with a median value of 95 Mg C ha-1.  Globally, suitable land for agroforestry estimated as (585–1215×106) ha, with quantities of 1.1–2.2 Pg C could be removed from the atmosphere over the next 50 years. The role of agroforestry practices in climate change mitigation can be realized to its full potential by overcoming various technical, financial and institutional barriers.

5. Next Leaders' Initiative for Sustainability

Author: Jovin Hurry, ​NELIS (Next Leaders' Initiative for Sustainability).
E-mail: jovin.hurry@nelis2020.net; info@nelis2020.net

NELIS aims to empower, connect and inspire young leaders for global to local actions. NELIS argues that only by linking a new generation of sustainability practitioners across the world in a collaborative network, will humanity be able to shift towards a more humane and ecologically sound model of social and economic development. NELIS works Towards One World in Harmony.

African practitioners in the core team have stepped up to build collaboration, partnerships and networks to boost local initiatives. For e.g. in Nigeria, the local chapter initiated a Bootcamp 2018 to empower the locals to share local realities and fed back that info to the online network via Facebook in their Next Leaders Africa group. Moreover, in Mauritius, the local chapter initiated with an UN agency a masterclass for sustainability entrepreneurs whereby the press, ministers and EU Ambassador were invited. The outcomes were fed back to the network via the Facebook Insider Connect.

The Africans are building this platform of collaboration in closed sessions next June 2018 in Japan during the global summit in closed sessions, to ensure there is a two-way communication between Africa and the rest of the world, in concrete initiatives, that empower local professionals. They are building a database of the latter to forge ahead during the next African Summit 2019, that will now include more Africans from other countries.

The paper outlines the template and strategies for this kind of ground-up execution through platform building with other sub-networks, united in a common cause, which allows for others to know the power of African knowledge and expertise.

Link - https://www.nelis2020.net/

6. Potential of ICT To Facilitate Digital Learning, Profiling and Distant Education in an Emerging Countries

Author: Anthony-Claret Onwutalobi, Lahti University of Applied Science, Finland.
E-mail: ionyclaret@gmail.com

The Internet no doubt has revolutionized the way most people in the developed world live. For the most part, it has form an integral part of both the economic, political, and social lives, altering the way we purchase goods, the way we bank, and the way we communicate with one another, the way we build friendship and networks, the way we get job opportunities and even the way we become well known or famous.

But despite this astonishing advanced usage of ICT and internet technologies, and the corresponding benefits it provides, opportunities as such have not been distributed equally across emerging countries. These disparities, no doubt have caused emerging nations to miss out on the tremendous political, social, economic, educational, and career opportunities created by the digital revolution.

The Africa Diaspora however, aware of these challenges and the opportunities that are available in the use of ICT in profiling and fostering distance learning, are constantly examining the ICTs and particularly the prevalent social media platforms and are devising strategy to create more awareness among the African scholars to benefit from this technologies and to encourage them in building a strong social media presence that will fosters distance learning, increase their web profile and provide a platform for building collaborations, partnerships and knowledge networks.

Therefore, the authors debate will highlight more on the importance of fostering digital opportunities and social inclusion by enhancing the use of ICTs for profiling, capacity-building, empowerment, governance and social participation; to strengthen capacities for scientific research, information sharing and building collaborations and partnerships to enhance learning opportunities through access to diversified contents and delivery systems to support the transformation to knowledge societies.

7. Transformatory power of biotechnology: The potential, prospects and challenges for competitive improvement of Africa's Bio-economy

Author: Fred Asiegbu, Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.
E-mail: Fred.Asiegbu@helsinki.fi

Biotechnology and its allied areas of bioresource science is a rapidly developing field of study with considerable benefits not just for the environment, diagnostics and human health but also in crop improvement, bioenergy and timber production. However, according to a recent report (1, 2), the implementation or adoption of many of these modern technologies in Africa is constrained due to several reasons; from lack of funding, inadequate technical manpower, inadequate infrastructure, limited access to new equipment to lack of mutual beneficial and sustainable partnership with international research organizations and institutes. No doubt, novel innovations in this emerging technology, have the potential to tackle the imminent challenges currently faced by the continent in agricultural food production, health, renewable energy, climate change mitigation, environmental and economic sustainability. It also has the potential to speed up the development of sustainable bio-economy programs in Africa. Many of these challenges could also be overcome through increased investment in human capacity training in biotechnology, improvement in infrastructure and access to low cost affordable technologies(1). This is in addition to strategic awareness and incorporation of biotechnology teaching in educational curricula for secondary schools and university training. In this presentation, I will show that biotechnology is not a new concept as it has traditionally been practised in many African countries. Several institutions in Africa have active biotechnology programs but there is need for a critical mass in order to have the desired impact. I will also outline how traditional and emerging modern biotechnology could be harnessed for sustainable improvement of Africa bio-based economy. I will discuss the potential role of diaspora in mediating such knowledge transfer.

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