Mali Higher Education Delegation Visits MSU
Mali is seeking to position itself as a leader for higher education in West Africa, which will allow to retain its best students as well as to attract those from the Region. The Malian government wants to strengthen its own local expertise through better higher education as well. To achieve these goals, Mali is considering revisions of its curricula, material and teaching methods. It is also addressing the professor/student ratio issue.
With the support of the World Bank, a delegation of Malian personalities from the Ministry of Higher Education and from several Malian universities visited MSU for expertise, advice, and possible collaborations. These high profile officials met with MSU’s high level administrators, and with faculty and students.
MSU was selected for this visit because of its land grant tradition that connects research, teaching, and outreach. MSU’s expertise in capacity building applied to African countries is also well-recognized, with years of active field work and policy counselling. MSU has established strong relationships with Mali, with an-ongoing presence in the country since the 1980s. For example, MSU has contributed to the creation of an Agricultural Economics degree program at the Rural Polytechnic Institute (IPR). More recently, MSU AFRE’s Food Security Group has been coordinating Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Food Security Policy (FSP). With the “Mali Food Security Policy Research Program,” FSP has been involved in capacity building for students from IPR to conduct applied agricultural economics research with a focus on food security policy issues. In collaboration with the Alliance for African Partnership (AAP), the FSP’s Mali team organized this Malian delegation visit, December 12–13, 2016. 
The tour consisted of presentations by administrators and faculty, brainstorming workshops, a visit of MSU’s facilities, and a meeting with Malian students. The discussions covered a wide agenda: higher education system governance and regulation, institutional performance and accountability, higher education financing, academic autonomy and relevance of educational programs to the needs of society and the economy, staff development and educational quality, research and relationship between higher education institutions and the various sections of the economy and society at large.
This initial Malian visit permitted to already identify several areas for potential collaborations with MSU, such as technical IT infrastructure, and training in various areas: leadership and management, collaborative and networking best practices, statistical analysis (i.e., econometrics, bio-statistics), labs for a veterinarian doctoral program, and fundraising strategies. We are planning the next steps for such collaborations and look forward to further exchanges with Mali.
 The MSU Malian delegation visit was organized by
Véronique Thériault and Bino Témé, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics, Mali Food Security Policy Research Program
Jamie Monson and Amy Jamison, Alliance for African Partnership
Stephen Esquith, Dean, Residential College in the Arts and Humanities
Nathalie Me-Nesope and John Staatz, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics