Professor Theresia Nkuo-Akenji, RUFORUM Board Chair and Vice Chancellor University of Bamenda in Cameroon today announced the appointment of Dr. Patrick Okori as the next RUFORUM Executive Secretary effective 01 January 2023. He will replace Prof. Adipala Ekwamu who has been serving as the Executive Secretary since the founding of RUFORUM in 2004 by 10 Universities Vice Chancellors in five countries of Eastern and Southern Africa (Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Uganda and Zimbabwe). RUFORUM has since expanded to 150 Member Universities in 38 African Countries spanning the African Continent. RUFORUM core function is to support strengthening human and research capacity in the areas of agriculture, science, technology and innovation.
Dr. Patrick Okori is a Ugandan national who received his doctoral degree from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Uppsala in 2004. He received his BSc Agriculture and MSc Crop Science degrees from Makerere University in Uganda in 1994 and 1997, respectively. Patrick is an international academic expert in curriculum and program design, educator, trainer, research innovator and scientific leader. During his formative years, Patrick worked at Makerere University, where he played a key role in institutional reform, both in research and training. Patrick led the review and development of graduate training programmes in genetics and plant breeding, leading to the recognition by East African Community in 2007 of Makerere University’s Plant Breeding Centre, as one its Centres of Excellence. Subsequently, the World Bank recognized and supports it as one of its African Higher Education Centres of Excellence. As a science leader, Patrick established one of the largest multi-disciplinary research programme at Makerere University to underpin training and research. In 2012, Patrick was recognized by Makerere University for his contribution to rebuilding the image of Makerere University.
Patrick is a Principal Scientist with the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-arid Tropics (ICRISAT). ICRISAT is one of the main international agricultural research centres in dryland research. He is the Deputy Director of ICRISAT’s Global Research Programme on Accelerated Crop Improvement and currently manages it as the Interim Program Director. He is an expert in plant breeding whose team has commercialized over 30 varieties of legumes, especially groundnut, that are widely grown in eastern and southern Africa. Patrick is also an expert in technology scaling-out, whose team reaches out annually to over 50,000 households with different products and services (seed systems, agribusiness development, and market led development management). As a science leader he has also led the revamping of groundnut breeding and research for development programmes in Malawi, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Kenya, DR Congo, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Patrick is also a thought leader who has been involved in high level planning, strategy and visioning for national, regional, continental and global agencies. He has contributed to new thrusts and visioning of futures at Makerere University, RUFORUM, ASARECA, FARA, COMESA, AU (AU-NEPAD- CAADP country investment plans), the CGIAR and ICRISAT. Early in his career, Patrick was part of the team that developed the Eastern Africa’s premier agriculture bio-policy and bio-innovation research programme, called BIOINNOVATE. In 2016, Patrick was recognized by RUFORUM for significantly contributing to the vision and implementation of capacity-building programmes for Africa. He led the conceptualisation and design of the RUFORUM Regional Training Programmes, many of which have since transitioned to become Africa’s Higher Education Centres of Excellence.
Patrick is also familiar with the engagement of Africa’s development partners both in agriculture and human resource development. RUFORUM takes this opportunity to welcome Dr Okori as its next Executive Secretary.