President Yoweri Museveni has pledged Sh10 million towards the construction of the William Ruto Institute of African and Leadership Studies at Makerere University.
The Ugandan President made the commitment on Saturday morning when he met Dr Ruto at Mubende State Lodge, Kampala.
“This institute would go a long way in Africans deepening their knowledge base and furthering research that would transform Africa,” said Mr Museveni.
He said time had come for Africa to tell its own story in its own way for its own future.
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If we can invest in our institutions, he explained, we can come up with solid policies that would shape our development agenda.
The Deputy President, who arrived in Kampala on Friday evening, later laid foundation stone for the Institute, which seeks to develop innovative approaches to teaching and learning about Africa.
Present were Uganda Ministers Kahinda Otafiire (EAC) and Frank Tumwebaze (Gender) and Makerere University Vice Chancellor Prof Barnabas Nawangwe.
Others were Governor Jackson Mandago (Uasin-Gishu), MPs Kimani Ichungwa (Kikuyu), Mwatib Mwashetani (Lunga Lunga) and Charles Njagagua (Mbeere North).
According to Makerere University, the William S. Ruto Institute would also forge partnerships with similar Institutes in the world to deepen the understanding of Africa and contribute to the discussion, analysis and resolution of developmental challenges facing the continent through research.
Dr Ruto said he was immensely humbled by being associated with “this magnificent addition to the storied achievements of Makerere University.”
He noted that his presence in the institution was the culmination of a pilgrimage to a shrine of patriotic, enlightened Pan-African awakening.
“One key paradox of our time is the persistence of dysfunction in some parts of the world amidst the tremendous progress made elsewhere,” he said.
The Deputy President observed that Africa appeared to be increasingly isolated as the focal antithesis of the broad global trend with majority of the world’s poor residing in the continent.
“Our challenges have a lot to do with our institutions, and the way they (dis)connect with the rest of the world,” he argued.
For sustained economic growth to be realised through increased productivity, Dr Ruto said technology uptake, innovation and intensified access to education and skills needed to be cultivated.
He said Africa-specific curriculum, and not a copy and paste of other societies, would bring a turnaround in the continent.
“There is nothing exceptional about Africa that explains its exclusion from the broad wave of global progress,” the Deputy President said.
He said it was time to shift from the tradition of Africa, Africans and African problems as objects of study by western scholars.
Dr Ruto said the new Institute would become the cornerstone of an Africa-led revolution in higher education and research.
“Its impact would reverberate throughout the world as knowledge would be empowered and here, knowledge shall empower.”
At the same time he called on the need to fast track the East Africa political federation as part of the efforts to unite the region.
Dr Ruto said it is through East African federation that would address the challenges facing the region including economic, social and political.
He said the move would give the residents the opportunity to exchange ideas on how well they can manage their politics besides exploiting existing business opportunities in the region in peaceful political and environmental environments.