Prof. Olusola Oyewole, the Secretary-General of the Association of African Universities, on Thursday 3rd March 2022 paid a courtesy call on the Chief Executive Officer of Afrobarometer, Dr. Joseph Asunka at the latter’s office in Accra, Ghana.
The visit was at the invitation of Dr. Joseph Asunka for the two organisations to explore possible areas of mutual interest for collaboration. Present at the meeting were Prof. Emmanuel Gyimah-Boadi, Board Chairman of Afrobarometer, Maame Akua Amoah Twum, Communications coordinator for Anglophone West and North Africa, Ms. Linda Theresa Abbey, the executive assistant to the CEO and Dr. Hamadziripi Tamuka Moyo, Ph.D Moyo, Director of Capacity Building who joined the meeting virtually from Southern Africa.
The AAU delegation, which was led by Prof. Oyewole, comprised the Project Director of the World Bank ACE for Development Impact Program, Dr. Sylvia Mkandawire, and the AAU TV Manager, Mr. Ransford Bekoe.
The AAU delegation was briefed by Prof. Gyimah-Boadi on the aims and objectives of the organisation and its impact in Africa since its establishment in 1999. He explained that the organization sets out to Africanise the study of African society through ordinary African citizens to enable them speak for themselves on matters of common interest to society. From a humble coverage of 12 African countries, Afrobarometer will be rolling out its 9th round of a standardized survey instrument on democracy, governance, the economy and society, and is set to cover almost 40 African countries. The standardization of the survey instruments is to allow for comparability and trends analyses over time.
The CEO of Afrobarometer, Dr. Asunka intimated that while Africa is still deficient in quantitative data analysis skills, Afrobarometer offers a platform for academics and students to train and upgrade their skills and use its free data for teaching, research and scientific publication. Afrobarometer highlighted that due to the continental reach and wide membership of African universities to the AAU, the Association of African Universities is a suitable partner to training the African faculty and students in quantitative data analysis. The AAU can also be a collaborative partner in Afrobarometer’s Summer School programmes which is run on selected themes such as gender, democracy and governance, taxation and climate change at the University of Cape Town campus.
Prof Oyewole, AAU’s Secretary-General, reiterated the roles of universities in the development agenda of Africa and noted that the AAU’s mission is to enhance the quality and relevance of higher education on the continent and strengthen its contribution to development hence the opportunities offered by Afrobarometer to build capacity in higher education are very laudable. The Association with therefore leverage its role as the African Union’s lead agency on higher education in the implementation of the Continental Education Strategy for Africa (CESA) to draw academics to adopt data from Afrobarometer for their academic teaching and research.
On AAU’s specific areas of interest for collaboration, the Secretary-General identified tracking of the SDGs as a priority. The other areas of interest noted were:
To move this expression of interest forward, Prof. Olusola Oyewole voiced out the need for the two organisations to develop a defined project (s) to implement these. The two organisations agreed on the need to change the narrative by presenting home-generated data to governments so that policy decisions are based on verifiable data.
Afrobarometer is a non-partisan, pan-African research institution that conducts public attitude surveys on democracy, governance, the economy and society in 36 countries, repeated on a regular cycle. Find out more about Afrobarometer here – https://afrobarometer.org/about