The Botswana University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (BUAN) on Friday inaugurated its second Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor after it transitioned into a fully-fledged university.
Vice President Slumber Tsogwane was inaugurated as the university’s new chancellor while Professor Jasper Rees was installed as the new vice-chancellor. Tsogwane replaces former president, Ian Khama.
The inauguration was supposed to have been held last year but was pushed forth to accommodate the COVID-19 restrictions put in place to combat the spread of the virus.
Speaking at the inauguration, Tsogwane said he was honoured to be appointed as chancellor during the university’s fifth anniversary.
He went on to point out that when the country attained independence, agriculture was the mainstay of the economy hence the need to establish the college which is now a university.
“Over the years, the contribution of agriculture has declined to two percent from 40%,” Tsogwane highlighted. He said under his leadership he intends to help develop BUAN’s capacity to produce the future of the highest calibre of skills and minds that can address food production challenges the country faces.
Tsogwane commended the university and its business development division for various partnerships with the private sector aimed at developing agriculture as a business in the country.
He said this will assist in the expansion of value chains such as vegetables and fruits through the use of digital platforms, renewable energy, water management and precision agriculture, which will ensure food security and sustainability in the future. Rees, on the other hand, said the inauguration marked an important moment as they work towards a research-intensive future. After working in the academic sphere for more than three decades, he said his appointment at the university might be his last.
“We have in the last year worked hard on new strategic directions, and I want to talk about four of the major strategic areas we are going to develop as the university,” Rees said.
He added they want to become a research-intensive institution and to that end, they have appointed 10 new senior professors in the last year alone.
Other interventions include their graduates who became entrepreneurs developed through initiatives like INCU-HIVE, driven academic excellence in order to meet the needs of a knowledge-based economy and getting closer to becoming an agile university.
Rees pointed out that they also want to create an institution that is sustainable in the long term by coming up with ways to utilise the resources available to the university to bring in revenue and reduce their reliance on government.
President Mokgweetsi Masisi was amongst the delegates who graced the occasion alongside chancellors and vice-chancellors from other universities and some ministers along with their delegations.