More than 500 executives from academia and industry across Africa attended a conference to discuss the way forward for higher education on the continent on Monday.
Participants at the 14th General Conference and Golden Jubilee celebrations of the Association of African Universities (AAU), which started in Accra, will also reflect on what steps to take in the future.
Opening the conference, the Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo said Africa recognized the critical role played by the universities in developing and promoting knowledge societies fueled by skilled human capital.
He has therefore asked universities in Africa to engage more with the private sector, governments and development agencies to remain relevant in the current global dispensations where universities are becoming entrepreneurial.
The AAU is the apex organization and principal forum for consultation, exchange of information and cooperation among institutions of higher education in Africa.
The Accra-based AAU was founded on November 12, 1967, in Morocco by 34 of the then existing 46 higher education institutions in Africa.
Today, the association has a membership of 386 African higher institutions from 46 countries in Africa and one outside the continent.
President Akufo-Addo said as the AAU moved into the next 50 years, it could facilitate its progress faster through the triple helix of university-industry-government partnerships.
“African governments are optimistic that you will continue to be a key player and instrument to facilitate achieving the African Union’s vision of an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the global arena,” he said.
The head of education at the African Union Commission, Beatrice Njenga, said the AU could not achieve its vision of integration if the higher education community resisted intra-African collaboration and mutual recognition of qualifications.
The Secretary General of the AAU, Etienne Ehouan Ehile, said the group was excited to witness African governments coming together through the partnership for skills in applied science, engineering and technology to commit resources for the training of 10,000 PhDs.
He said the purpose of the association would continue to be shaped and realized through the cooperative efforts of all its members, partners and diverse higher education stakeholders. Enditem