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SIERRA LEONE'S AMBASSADOR TO BELGIUM CALLS FOR OPEN SPACE FOR RESEARCH PROGRAMMES
Paul Mansaray
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SIERRA LEONE'S AMBASSADOR TO BELGIUM CALLS FOR OPEN SPACE FOR RESEARCH PROGRAMMES

SIERRA LEONE'S AMBASSADOR TO BELGIUM CALLS FOR OPEN SPACE FOR RESEARCH PROGRAMMES

Sierra Leone's Ambassador to Belgium has called for an open space to give African universities and students access to research programmes during the interactive forum, ‘Meet the Ambassador’, held by the Africa Platform of the Ghent University in Belgium, marking their 15th year of establishment.

In his statement, Ambassador Samuel Tamba Musa spoke on the collaboration between Embassy and Academia, stating that the two practices and ways of working are different as Embassies have their own agenda that is sometimes different from the priorities of Academia.

He, however, maintained that there are areas of common interest, especially in terms of strategic and project partnerships as well as strategic relationship building. But this can only happen if Embassies and Academia interact effectively, underpinned by shared goals, mutual acquaintances and co-creation from design to implementation.

He added that having gone through the list of  affiliated Univerisities  of the Platform, only one West African country is affiliated with the programme. He called on the team to look into the issue and open the space for other West African countries to participate in the programmes.

The Sierra Leone Ambassador also noted there is a need for engagement to ascertain finding the priorities of various Embassies to find opportunities for delivery that can link to each country’s national development plan. Ambassador Musa pointed out that every Embassy has a programme they are following, through collaborative engagements and effective communication.

He reiterated there are opportunities to come together, primarily to discuss the issue of strategic engagement and strategic project implementation, looking at the areas of research opportunities and donor funding, which were issues raised during the round table discussion. This, he stated, is very critical as the two can come together to build capacity, especially for African Universities.

Ambassador Tamba Musa further stated that Universities should not be caught up in straight-jacket situations, and as the world evolves, they should be open to modern criteria to meet the modern-day situation.

Giving a general overview of the AUGent Africa Platform and achievements over the past 15 years, Professor Karen Buscher said the Ghent University Association is a platform aimed at building academic collaboration with African institutions, making Africa's research readily available to the non-academic community.

Speaking about the objectives of the platform, he mentioned that it unites all Africa-related expertise at Ghent University Association, distributes information on academic activities linked to Africa and the African diaspora, and facilitates and empowers collaboration with African institutes on the level of teaching and research, adding that they have about 450 members across the University and in all faculty with more than 420 projects running across Africa.

Professors from the UGent Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Education and International Affairs, Sciences and International Plant Biotechnology Outreach, Engineering and Architecture and Academic Network for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Policy all testified about the various projects they are doing and their work.

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