Colorado State University Research Colloquium Focuses on Benefits of Research to Africa, Colorado

How can research at Colorado State University fit into economic development in Africa? “Africa Rising: New Research and Enterprise Solutions to Old Development Problems,” this year’s annual CSU Research Colloquium, poses answers about how research can provide economic opportunity and a bridge to stability.

The colloquium is slated from 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 30, and 8:15 a.m.-2 p.m. Thursday, March 31, in the Main Ballroom of the Hilton Fort Collins, 425 W. Prospect Road.

“The role of the land-grant university is evolving to become increasingly internationally focused. CSU research and outreach, in addition to focusing on Colorado, also is funded by federal agencies including the Department of Defense, U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. State Department. We can use our cutting-edge research to worldwide benefit,” said Hank Gardner, associate vice president for research at CSU.

“Taking a creative look at how that shift can impact one continent – such as Africa – poses a fascinating challenge and a significant, mutually beneficial opportunity for all partners.”

The research colloquium spans disciplines and encourages collaboration and discussion about crucial research at CSU. The university’s research, some of which already focuses on Africa, has the potential to further impact energy, natural resources, water, medicine and economic stability on that continent.

“I’ve very recently traveled to Africa to meet with university and public officials about CSU’s research. It’s striking to me how unrest and transition in North African countries has focused leaders there on employing their youth, economic development and entrepreneurship,” said Carl Hammerdorfer, director of the university’s Global Social and Sustainable Enterprise and executive director of the Center for Advancement of Sustainable Enterprise and chairman of the Colloquium on Africa.

“Almost all of the 20-something adults I’ve spoke to want a chance to get a decent job or start a business,” Hammerdorfer said. “So it is very timely that CSU is holding this colloquium, focusing on development opportunities that can arise from our work and research. I believe we are living through a period of great opportunity for CSU to play an important global role in fostering prosperity. Seizing this opportunity is important for millions in Africa, and it also represents significant economic growth opportunity for us here in Colorado.”

CSU’s research and outreach in Africa already spans infectious disease to small textile and trade business development to conservation efforts through a veterinary program to vasectomize elephants. In fact, since September 2009, more than 80 employees have traveled to various countries in Africa on university business.

The program for “Africa Rising” includes two keynote addresses by African dignitaries:

– Haron Wachira, an Ashoka Fellow who recently was recognized with Head of State Commendation by Kenya President Mwai Kibaki for his contributions to addressing water problems in that country, will speak at 9 a.m. March 30. Wachira will discuss the opportunities, pitfalls and successes of his partnership with Kenya’s rural poor when he developed a startup company to provide opportunities to produce value-added products.

-Timothy Nzioka, regional representative and senior advisor to the US African Development Foundation President, will discuss “Enterprise Opportunities for the Poorest of Poor” at 8:15 a.m. Thursday, March 31. His current duties focus on strategies to increase incomes for the rural poor.

Additional program highlights include a panel of CSU professors and guests discussing “Building Business in Africa: Opportunities and Challenges”; “Environment, Conservation and the Economics of Tourism Development”; “Fair Trade, Economics and Gender in Africa’s Emerging Industries”; and “Infectious Disease Impacts and Opportunities.” Ajay Jha, CSU professor in the Department of Agriculture and Resource Economics, will discuss “Opportunities for Land Grants in International Development,” and Robin Reid, director of the Center for Collaborative Conservation at CSU, will discuss collaborative conservation. A senior Department of Defense medical research representative will share information about possible collaborations regarding preventive medicine research in Africa.

The colloquium also will highlight African arts, poetry and dancing shortly before a reception on Wednesday evening. Student posters also will be recognized during an awards presentation.

For a full program and registration information, visit