News & events


25 October 2023

AYGS 2024 Conference preparatory masterclasses: November

Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)

Leveraging AfCFTA for Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development in Africa

On 6-7 March 2024, the 18th Africa Young Graduates and Scholars (AYGS) Conference will be held in Nairobi, Kenya.

Building up to the event, the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) is hosting a masterclass series to provide a comprehensive understanding of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and its potential to drive inclusive growth and sustainable development in Africa. All selected delegates are required to attend those classes that pertain to their conference papers and presentations.

The masterclasses will be conducted online, and is open to the public. Register for the November masterclasses here.

Led by the HSRC’s Africa Institute of South Africa, these classes kicked off in October 2023, and will run through January 2024, covering four key thematic areas:

Governance, peace, and security in the implementation of the AfCFTA: This session will explore the role of good governance, peace, and security in the successful implementation of the AfCFTA. It will discuss how a stable political environment can facilitate trade and economic growth, and how the AfCFTA can contribute to peacebuilding efforts in the African region.

Agriculture and food system transformation: This section will focus on how the AfCFTA can catalyse the transformation of Africa’s agriculture and food systems. It will examine the potential of intra-African trade in enhancing food security, promoting agricultural innovation, and driving sustainable development.

The role of science, technology, and innovation in the implementation of the AfCFTA: This session will highlight the importance of science, technology, and innovation in leveraging the benefits of the AfCFTA. It will discuss how technological advancements can facilitate trade, improve competitiveness, and foster innovation.

The role of the AfCFTA in catalysing climate action, green economy, and just transition: This session will explore how AfCFTA can contribute to Africa’s efforts to combat climate change, promote a green economy, and ensure a just transition. In addition, it will discuss the potential of trade policies in promoting sustainable practices and green technologies.


Prof Nomali Ngobese, Associate Professor in the School of Geo and Spatial Science, Unit for Environmental Sciences and Management, North-West University

Professor Nomali Ngobese, a Plant Physiologist, is an associate professor in the School of Geo and Spatial Science, Unit for Environmental Sciences and Management, at North-West University (NWU). Nomali works towards optimising agricultural practices to improve crop yields and nutritional value and specialises in cultivating potatoes and underutilised plants to promote crop diversity in agriculture and build resilient food systems. This work aims to alleviate poverty and hunger, which are SDGs 1 & and 2 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Nomali was originally trained as a Plant Biologist, working on plant conservation until her MSc. She later became an applied scientist in potato cultivation and French fry processing at PhD level, which she obtained in Bioresources Systems from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Before joining NWU, Nomali was Deputy Head of the Botany and Plant Biotechnology department at the University of Johannesburg.

Dr Mmboneni Muofhe, Deputy Director-General (DDG), Socio-Economic Innovation Partnership, Department of Science and Innovation in South Africa (DSI)

Dr Mmboneni Muofhe is the Deputy Director-General (DDG) of the Socio-Economic Innovation Partnership at the Department of Science and Innovation in South Africa. Previously, Dr Muofhe was the Deputy Director-General for Technology Innovation (2013-2022) and the Deputy Director-General for International Cooperation and Resources (2012-2013) in the Department. Dr Muofhe is experienced in policy development and implementation of science, technology and innovation.  Dr. Muofhe holds a PhD in Management of Technology and Innovation, a Master of Business Administration and a Master of Science. Dr Muofhe is currently leading the pilot implementation of the recently established Innovation Fund, which aims  to bridge the funding gap between research, technology development, and translation of research outputs and products and services that address socio-economic challenges. Dr Muofhe is a member of the Steering Committee of the World Health Organisation’s mRNA Technology Transfer Hub, entrusted with building vaccine manufacturing capabilities in low- and middle-income countries. Dr Muofhe is also the Principal of the South African Group on Earth Observations (GEO), a member of its Executive Committee and one of its four Co-chairs. 

Prof Fatai Aremu, Professor of Political Science, University of Ilorin, Nigeria

Fatai Ayinde Aremu is a Professor of Political Science, at the University of Ilorin, Nigeria. He obtained a B.Sc. in Political Science from the University of Jos, an M.Sc. of Political Science from Usmanu Dan Fodio University in Sokoto and a PhD in Asia Pacific Studies at the Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University in Japan, where he was awarded a certificate of excellence for outstanding quality of research.

Fatai Ayinde Aremu was Senior Technical Advisor on Policy and Legislative Advocacy at a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation-funded advocacy and social accountability project. This project, Partnership for Advocacy in Child and Family Health (PACFaH), was  anchored by  the Development Research and Projects Centre (dRPC) in Abuja, Nigeria. In that position, he coordinated and conducted  several studies, training programmes, and top-notch policy engagement on health sector budgets, health policies, and legislation. Before joining dRPC, he was the Head of the Socio-Political Unit at the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies, National Assembly in Abuja, where he conducted policy research and training activities on policy-engaged research, bill analysis, and budget tracking for legislators, legislative aides and parliamentary staff. As part of the ongoing reform and modernisation of the federal civil service in Nigeria, Professor Aremu designed, organised and facilitated retreat programmes for the Federal Ministries of Information and Culture, as well as the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment. He aided both ministries in sensitising and educating federal civil servants on the implementation of the Federal Civil Service Strategy and Implementation Plan 2021-2025 (FCSSIP25).

Robert Tama Lisinge, Chief, Energy Infrastructure & Services Section, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Robert Tama Lisinge is an engineer and a regional infrastructure development strategist. He is currently the Chief of the Energy, Infrastructure and Services Section of the Private Sector Development and Finance Division of ECA, based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Lisinge is also a trade and transport facilitation specialist and a leading road safety expert in Africa. Robert has over 20 years’ experience undertaking research, providing technical assistance, and advising African countries and organisations in these areas. Robert’s section is responsible for the Economic Commission for Africa’s work on energy and transport. This work is focused on the regulatory environment of electricity markets, tracking the progress of SDG7 on universal energy access in Africa,  public-private partnerships for financing energy projects, and just energy transition. In this regard, the section occupies itself with the implications of energy transition, including the transition to hydrogen technologies for Africa, as well as energy transition in the transport sector. Among many accomplishments, Robert has been actively involved in all major infrastructure development initiatives in Africa since 2000, including the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA), NEPAD Presidential Infrastructure Champion Initiative, and infrastructure and services flagship projects of the African Union’s Agenda 2063, including the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM). He is currently the Acting Director of the Division, which focuses on crowding in private sector investment in African countries, particularly in the area of infrastructure.

If you missed the first Masterclass series, you can watch the classes in the playlist below:

Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)

Related Articles