Press Release – The Association of African Universities (AAU) and the University of Nottingham sign a Memorandum of Understanding to Advance Academic Excellence in Africa and Europe

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Press Release – The Association of African Universities (AAU) and the University of Nottingham sign a Memorandum of Understanding to Advance Academic Excellence in Africa and Europe

Accra, Ghana and UK, February 7,  2023 – The Association of African Universities (AAU), Africa’s apex higher education organization established in November 1967, has signed a five-year Memorandum of Understanding with the University of Nottingham, a top-ranked university in the UK founded as University College Nottingham in 1877 and granted a royal charter in 1948, to promote collaborations that will mutually benefit higher education institutions in both Africa and Europe.

This MoU mandates the University of Nottingham to provide an office space with a dedicated Desk Officer to centrally coordinate AAU’s existing and emerging partnerships in Europe while the two institutions also work together to develop mutually acceptable proposals as co-applicants to potential funders.  Equally important, the MOU obliges the AAU to provide guidance to Nottingham on the Association’s new focal areas, including but not limited to the promotion of technical and vocational education and training; the promotion of the AAU Africa Research, Innovation and Development (AFRID) Network that seeks to mobilise African institutions and researchers to generate a critical mass of human resources to support continental initiatives; and the strengthening of the AAU multimedia platform, the AAU Television, as Africa’s premier continental television station that promotes African scholarly works. The two institutions have also agreed, under the MOU, to collaborate in specific areas to advance academic excellence such as staff, researchers and students’ capacity building, quality assurance, resource mobilization, ICT and other infrastructural development.

The AAU Secretary-General, Prof. Olusola Bandele Oyewole, and the Pro-Vice Chancellor for Global Engagement of the University of Nottingham, Prof. Robert Mokaya OBE, respectively appended their signatures to the agreement for their institutions. Expressing his excitement about the Agreement,  Prof. Oyewole noted that despite the AAU having a number of partnerships with institutions in Europe, “University of Nottingham has become a home and focal point to AAU member universities and its other networks for effective partnerships with European counterparts, particularly with the University of Nottingham itself that has emerged as a world-class, research-intensive university whose research transforms lives and shapes futures.

The partnership will be hosted by the University of Nottingham’s School of Education and led by  Professor Juliet Thondhlana, who is also the UNESCO Chair in International Education and Development. Juliet Thondhlana, Professor of International Education and Development at the University of Nottingham said: “International collaboration is essential to teaching and research. The university is developing a new strategy for engaging with partners in Africa, at the core of which is developing equitable partnerships with collaborators, so we are delighted to be partnering with the AAU to advance research and innovation across our continents. I look forward to seeing what we can achieve together as our collaboration grows further.”


About the Partnering Organizations


  1. The Association of African Universities (AAU)

The Association of African Universities (AAU) is the apex higher education organization in Africa and represents the voice of Africa’s higher education on regional and international bodies. Established in Rabat (Morocco) in 1967, the AAU currently has a membership of over 400 institutions of higher learning across all the linguistic and geographic divides of Africa. Its headquarters is in Accra, Ghana and it currently has two regional offices – East Africa Regional Office ( hosted by the University of Khartoum in Sudan)  and the North Africa Regional Office (hosted by the Al Azhar University in Egypt), as well as a Country Office in Abuja, Nigeria. It also has agreements with institutions in North America and China to establish nodal Desk Offices.

The AAU supports African universities to deliver quality higher education and, as its niche, creates a platform for networking among its members. The Association enjoys a unique capacity for convening most of the higher education community in Africa to reflect and consult on key issues affecting education on the continent. The thrust of its base is the nimble deploying of advocacy, commissioning of studies, and acting and becoming the clearing house and intelligence arm for these higher education institutions on the continent.

The AAU operates in four languages namely, English, French, Arabic and Portuguese. It endeavours to raise the quality of higher education in Africa and strengthen its contribution to Africa’s development by fostering collaboration among its member institutions; providing support to their core functions of teaching, learning, research, and community engagement; and facilitating critical reflection on, and consensus-building around, issues affecting higher education and the development of Africa.

 2. The University of Nottingham

Ranked 18th in the UK by the QS World University Rankings 2023, the University of Nottingham is a founding member of Russell Group of research-intensive universities. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience as it prides itself on unlocking the potential of students. It has a pioneering spirit, expressed in the vision of its founder – Sir Jesse Boot, which has seen it lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia – part of a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement.

The University is among the best universities in the UK for the strength of its research, positioned seventh for research power in the UK according to REF 2021. The birthplace of discoveries such as MRI and ibuprofen, its innovations transform lives and tackle global problems such as sustainable food supplies, ending modern slavery, developing greener transport, and reducing reliance on fossil fuels.

The University is a major employer and industry partner – locally and globally – and its graduates are the second most targeted by the UK’s top employers, according to The Graduate Market in 2022 report by Highfliers Research. It led the Universities for Nottingham initiative, in partnership with Nottingham Trent University, a pioneering collaboration between the city’s two world-class institutions to improve levels of prosperity, opportunity, sustainability, health and wellbeing for residents in it’s city and region.


Media Contacts:

Association of African Universities

Mrs. Felicia Nkrumah Kuagbedzi

Senior Communications & Publications Officer



University of Nottingham

Katie Andrews

Media Relations Manager in the Faculty of Social Sciences



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