News

December 22, 2023

African varsities, Russia sign pact to drive industrial growth

African varsities, Russia sign pact to drive industrial growth

An agreement has been signed with Russia by members of the Committee of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities (CVCNU) and African Vice-Chancellors.

The Secretary-General, CVCNU, Prof. Yakubu Ochefu, in a statement made available to newsmen in Abuja on Friday, said that the agreement was aimed at addressing challenges in the African education system.

Ochefu said that the agreement was geared towards emphasising a shift from an agrarian to an industrial economic model.

He said that the agreement titled “Subsoil of Africa” was signed during a ceremony at St. Petersburg Mining University on Dec. 13 in Russia.

According to him, the Nedra consortium, a Russian counterpart focusing on education of subsoil use, expressed interest in further cooperation, signalling a new partnership level between Russia and Africa.

“The collaboration involves over 130 organisations from 42 African countries, focusing on higher education, scientific institutions, geological communities, and mining companies.

“The agreement also fosters academic exchanges and knowledge transfer, addressing the specific needs of African countries in fields like mineral prospecting,” he said.

He said that Prof. Paul Omaji, the Vice-Chancellor, Admiralty University Ibusa -Delta State, disclosed that the establishment of the consortium was a crucial mechanism for Africa’s development.

Omaji is also the President of the Subsoil of Africa Consortium of Higher Education Institutions.

Also, Vladimir Litvinenko, Rector of St. Petersburg Mining University, which is over 250-years-old, highlighted the importance of technical universities focusing on priority goals and the need for a different higher education model in Africa.

“The consortium plans to establish Russian university branches in mainland African countries, offering education in the Russian language.

“Key areas of cooperation include forming joint scientific teams, creating engineering centres and undertaking specific industrial projects related to mineral resource exploration and processing.

“The consortium’s mission extends to developing model laws for subsoil use management, emphasizing state regulation to ensure African countries benefit more from resource exploitation,” he said.

In the same vein, Alexei Demidov, Chairman of the Council of Rectors of Higher Education Institutions in St. Petersburg, stressed “the readiness of local universities to support partners in Africa.”

“The agreement reflects a shared commitment to advancing education, fostering equitable collaboration, and addressing the African continent’s economic challenges,” he said.

Participants expressed optimism about collaborating with Russia, highlighting its lack of colonial history and its potential for fair income distribution.

NAN