The University of Ghana, Legon has conferred an honorary Doctor of Law on Former United Nations (UN) Under-Secretary-General, Dr. Kandeh Yumkella, for his commendable service to Africa and humanity.
The honour climaxed the 2017 Aggrey-Fraser-Guggisberg Memorial Lecture Series which he, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All, delivered on Tuesday and Wednesday.
This brings to five the number of honorary degrees the Sierra Leonean agricultural economist, academic and politician has, and 37 the number of personalities the University has honoured since the inception of the lecture series in 1957.
The annual lecture series, in commemoration of James Kwegyir Aggrey, Alexander G. Fraser and Gordon Guggisberg, founding fathers of Achimota School, is a platform for distinguished African personalities to discuss topical issues.
This year’s edition saw the lecturer speaking on three topics: “Africa: A Continent of Hope, Opportunity and Transformation,” “Challenges for Energy Transitions” and Transforming Africa’s Agriculture and Agribusiness.”
The Vice-Chancellor of the university, Professor Ebenezer Oduro Owusu who conferred the degree on Dr Yumkella, praised him for his contribution to the welfare of Africa through various capacities at the UN.
In his acceptance speech, Dr Yumkella dedicated the degree to his wife, Mrs Philomena Yumkella, who was present at the ceremony and expressed gratitude to the university for inspiring him, through the honour, to do more for Africa and the world.
In a two-part lecture prior to the conferment of the award, he indicated the need for an energy revolution in Africa as energy contributed highly to the development of the continent and the welfare of the people.
He said many Africans relied on biomass for cooking and other domestic activities which exposed them to various health risks and expressed worry why Africa should have problems with energy when it had nearly 30 per cent of oil discovery in the world.
He said the continent needed to harness its resources and deal with energy issues by transiting to renewable forms of energy and putting in place sustainable measures to increase power supply to all communities.
On agriculture, Dr Yumkella said Africa could unleash its full potential, if it, among other factors, enhanced agriculture productivity through increased access to fertiliser and sources of irrigation and invested more in the sector.
By Jonathan Donkor