Nelson M. IJUMBA

BSc (Eng) (Hons), University of Dar es Salaam: 1977

Presently an Emeritus Professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of Rwanda in Rwanda and an Honorary Professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of KwaZulu Natal in South Africa, Nelson Mutatina Ijumba is an alumnus—a past graduate—of the University of Dar es Salaam of the graduating class of 1977. Within the University of Rwanda, he is based in the African Centre of Excellence in Energy for Sustainable Development (ACEESD), where he is an appointed International Research and Innovation Programme Manager of the ‘Africa Hub’ jointly owned by the University of Rwanda and Coventry University in the United Kingdom.

Nelson was born on 7 November 1952 in Kagera region. He obtained his early education at a village school Kashenye Lower Primary School (from 1960 to 1963), proceeding thereafter to Salvatorian Convent Middle School (1964-1966) in Dar es Salaam, where his father was working at that time. From the middle school, he was admitted to Kibaha Secondary School for the four years of ordinary-level secondary and two years of advanced-level secondary education (i.e. forms one to six, from 1967 to 1972). With a track record of academic performance and high-level passes—particularly in the science subjects of mathematics, chemistry and physics—he was admitted at the University of Dar es Salaam in 1973 to undertake a degree programme in engineering in the Faculty of Engineering (today known as the College of Engineering and Technology). He completed his undergraduate studies in 1977, earning a BSc degree (with honours) in electrical engineering and, at the same time, being retained in the department of electrical engineering as a tutorial assistant pending enrolling into a postgraduate programme and attaining higher qualifications for permanent terms as an academic member of staff. Thus, in the next year (1978), he left for UK on a scholarship for a master’s degree programme at the University of Salford. He successfully completed it in 1979.

On return from studies in UK, Mr Ijumba was fully involved in teaching and research activities in a number of projects, only leaving later in the early 1980s for a graduate, doctoral study programme at the University of Strathclyde in the United Kingdom. He successfully completed the programme and earned a PhD in electrical engineering in 1987.

Back at the University of Dar es Salaam, Dr. Ijumba dedicated himself fully to teaching, research and to the consultancy activities of his department and Faculty and rose through the ranks from Tutorial Assistant (1977-1979) to Assistant Lecturer (1979-1982), to Lecturer (1982-1987) well to Senior Lecturer (1987-1989).

In 1989, he got a teaching appointment from the University of Nairobi in Kenya, where he served first as senior lecturer (1989-1992) and subsequently rose to Associate Professor (October 1992-August 1995).  As from August 1995, Ijumba moved to the University of KwaZulu Natal in South Africa to take up an appointment as Associate Professor in Electrical Engineering, a position he held until January 2000, when, in terms of programme management, he became ‘Professor and Director’ at the School of Engineering (January 2000 to December 2002) and thereafter ‘Professor Dean’ at the Faculty of Engineering (January 2003–December 2008) and ‘Professor Deputy Vice Chancellor Research’ at university level, from January 2009 to December 2013).

Professor Ijumba had to leave KwaZulu Natal in order to take up a position offered by the University of Rwanda, in January 2014, as Professor and Deputy Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Research. Since January 2020, to date, he is Emeritus Professor at the University of Rwanda, based in the African Centre of Excellence in Energy for Sustainable Development (ACEESD). He serves as manager of the international research and innovation programme at the Rwanda-based ‘Africa Hub’ of Coventry University in UK. The Africa Hub was established in 2021 to help develop strategic partnerships with organisations in Sub-Saharan Africa in supporting the global aspirations and innovations in higher education institutions, government bodies and/or research institutions. While in Kigali, Rwanda, Professor Ijumba remains also honorary professor of electrical engineering at the University of KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. As a matter of appreciation, for quite a few years in the 1990s and 2000s, Professor Ijumba visited UDSM to render service as an external examiner in the College of Engineering and Technology.

The over 45 years of Nelson’s career are a tale not only of research and consultancy services mostly in electrical power systems, high voltage technology and innovation but also of a journey in search of green energy, energy efficiency and exploitation of renewable energy resources. The University of Dar es Salaam—Nelson’s alma mater—is no doubt happy with the record of work.