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Unisa charting the way for Africa’s development

Exploring new partnerships and participating in high-level discussions at the Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF) 2021, the Unisa delegation, led by the Principal and Vice-Chancellor (VC), Professor Puleng LenkaBula, met with Cote d'Ivoire's Honourable Minister for Trade and Industry,  Mr Souleymane Diarrassouba, on 18 November.

(left to right): Mohlatsi Khosi (Lecturer in Philosophy), Prof Iqbal Jhazbhay (Acting Director of Projects in the VC’s Office), Prof Puleng LenkaBula (VC), Côte d'Ivoire Representative, Prof Edith Phaswana (Director of Graduate Academic Programmes in TM-School), Dr Oupa Mabusela (Director Legal Affairs in VC’s Office), and Prof Pinkie Mabunda (Deputy Dean of Education).

The meeting tied in with the IATF’s aim to provide a platform for interaction and networking with a view of advancing intra-African trade and investment. Both parties used the opportunity to discuss possible areas of cooperation such as education, and natural and human resource development.

Professor LenkaBula introduced the members of the Unisa delegation and their areas of expertise. The Unisa delegation included, among others, representatives from the College of Education (CEDU), the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences (CAES) and the College of Human Sciences (CHS).

The VC explained that it was important to highlight the critical role CEDU plays in South Africa’s teacher education as it produces half of the country’s teachers. The college was also making a significant contribution towards the delivering of postgraduate students in education in Africa.  The college was represented by its Deputy Executive Dean, Professor Pinkie Mabunda.

The VC said the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences would become an essential partner to any aspirational and developmental trajectory on the continent which has a rich biodiversity of fauna and flora and abundant mineral resources.  CAES was represented by the Executive Dean, Professor Solomon Magano.

Souleymane Diarrassouba (Cote d'Ivoire's Honourable Minister for Trade and Industry)

The College of Human Sciences, which was home to qualifications that were designed to accelerate human development, was represented by the Executive Dean, Professor Kgomotso Masemola.  

In his address Diarrassouba said given the rights to host the 2022 IATF, a partnership with Unisa would be important not only for his country but also the Continent. Diarrassouba underscored the importance of investing in human capital.

He said education was compulsory in Cote d'Ivoire and also mentioned that the country planned to establish more universities by 2025. “Our country is open to cooperate with other countries. We have a strong relationship with South Africa and I think it’s time to develop our cooperation in the education sector, ” said Diarrassouba.

Speaking at the meeting, Professor Iqbal Jhazbhay, Acting Director of Projects in the VC’s Office, emphasised the value and importance of a partnership between the respective parties. He said  Côte d'Ivoire was one of the largest economies in the West African Economic and Monetary Union. Linking to the topic of African language matters which was discussed during the meeting, Jhazbhay, who previously served as an ambassador to the state of Eritrea, said that this could be a sustainable investment in the future of Africa.

*By Lesego Chiloane-Ravhudzulo, Journalist, Department of Institutional Advancement

Publish date: 2021-11-21 00:00:00.0