Reflecting on 2023 with Profound Gratitude to our Stakeholders

Call for contributions – “Inspirational Stories from African Universities”
December 15, 2023
Re-Register – AAU-British Academy Writing Workshop for Sub-Saharan Africa (Early Career Researchers)
January 9, 2024
Call for contributions – “Inspirational Stories from African Universities”
December 15, 2023
Re-Register – AAU-British Academy Writing Workshop for Sub-Saharan Africa (Early Career Researchers)
January 9, 2024
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Reflecting on 2023 with Profound Gratitude to our Stakeholders

Dear Esteemed Members, Development Partners, and Stakeholders,

As we come to the end of 2023, the Association of African Universities (AAU) extends its deepest appreciation to you for your unwavering commitment and immense support to us throughout this transformative year. On behalf of the Governing Board and the entire AAU team, from the Secretariat, North and East Africa Regional Offices, and our nodal offices outside Africa, I am delighted to share our Season’s Greetings Card and Video with you and to offer a glimpse of the profound impact and key successes we jointly achieved during the year.

In alignment with our strategic vision for 2021–2025, guided by our Strategic Plan, we express our optimism that the collaborative spirit and support demonstrated in 2023 will seamlessly continue into the forthcoming year and beyond. Together, we are dedicated to realizing our Key Results Areas and fortifying African Higher Education’s role as a catalyst for socio-economic development on national, regional, and global fronts. As we step into 2024, a new chapter unfolds, presenting an opportunity to renew our collective commitments and steadfastly contribute to the realization of the Continental Education Strategy for Africa (CESA 16–25), Agenda 2063, the Global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and other pivotal blueprints and action plans.

We wish you happy holidays!Compliments of the season!!Key Highlights of 2023

  1. Successful hosting of the 2023 Conference of Rectors, Vice-Chancellors, and Presidents of African Universities (COREVIP), July 4-7, Namibia:  In collaboration with the University of Namibia, the AAU hosted its 22nd biennial COREVIP, focusing on the theme ‘Advancing Excellence in African Higher Education’. The conference assemblage of almost 500 participants comprised chief executive officers of African universities and various high-profile representatives from higher education networks, development partner institutions, and other strategic partner organisations from Africa and beyond. Access the conference report and photos for further information.
  2. Africa Universities’ Day 2023 and AAU at 56 Years’ Celebrations: This year’s theme for the celebrations, “Artificial Intelligence (AI) in African Higher Education Institutions (HEIs)”, underscored the critical need for HEIs in Africa to adopt progressive strategies to guide the usage and integration of emerging technologies such as AI and leverage the opportunities they offer to improve educational outcomes. A week-long schedule of activities, from Monday, November 6, through Friday, November 10, 2023, featured during the celebrations.  These were organised in a hybrid format, with the virtual events held via Zoom and streamed on AAU TV and the physical events hosted at the Secretariat in Accra, while the main celebration was hosted at the Academic City University College in Accra, Ghana. Preview the Photos and videos from the sessions.
  3. Twelve Higher Education Institutions Successfully Joined AAU’s Membership in 2023: Between February 2023 and August 2023, the Secretariat received several applications through its online submission form. Following the review of these applications, and in line with the AAU’s Constitution, a total of 12 universities—11 from Africa and 1 from the United Arab Emirates (admitted as an associate member)—were admitted by the AAU’s governing structures. Furthermore, in line with our membership benefits commitments, the AAU’s membership unit organized a face-to-face members-only capacity-building workshop targeting university registrars and administrators. This event was hosted at the AAU’s Secretariat in Accra, Ghana, from November 7–8, 2023, and brought together 85 participants from 12 African countries.
  4. The AAU established strategic partnerships during the year under review. It signed an MOU with the Women’s University of Africa based in Zimbabwe to establish the AAU Southern Africa Office and another with the University of Nottingham in the UK to establish the AAU European Office. Again, the AAU signed MOUs with the Asociación Colombiana de Universidades (ASCUN) based in Colombia and the Latin America and Caribbean Space for Higher Education (ENLACES) based in Panama to make the Association’s presence felt in Latin America; and with the University of Toronto in Canada to enhance collaboration with North America. The AAU partnered with the Perivoli Africa Research Center (PARC) based at the University of Bristol in the UK and some strategic African educational networks such as ARUA and CODESRIA to launch the “Charter Framework for Transformative Research Collaborations between Africa and the World” during the COREVIP. The Charter is an Africa-centred framework for advancing a transformative mode of research collaboration that will serve to advance and uphold the continent’s place in the global production of scientific knowledge. Some of these partnership arrangements have started to yield results. The MOUs with the China Association of Higher Education (CAHE) signed in December 2022 led to the launch of the China-Africa Universities Exchange Mechanism at the COREVIP in Namibia in July 2023, under which over 50 African universities have been listed to pair with their Chinese counterparts to collaborate in various academic endeavours. The Secretary-General has since visited China three times, leading delegations to contribute to the discourse on Sino-Africa academic collaborations.Again, the AAU Office at the University of Nottingham has initiated several activities, including the AAU-UoN webinar series on Data Ethics, the development of capacity-strengthening training modules for academics, and drawing other strategic partners like the Association of Commonwealth Universities on board for joint proposals and projects. Another strategic partnership that has yielded fruits is a consortium under the leadership of the Steinbeis Europa Zentrum of Germany that submitted a proposal under a HORIZON-CL4-2023-HUMAN-01-92 call and won a three-year grant to implement a project titled “Strengthening the Europe-Africa Digital Ecosystem Through Increased R&I Cooperation (SEADE)”. The AAU has recently joined the United Nations Academic Impact, a United Nations initiative to align institutions of higher education, scholarship and research with the United Nations and with each other.
  5. Significant Milestones Recorded by The Africa Higher Education Centres of Excellence for Development Impact (ACE Impact) Project:  Serving as the Regional Facilitation Unit, the AAU and stakeholders of the ACE Impact project recorded impressive results at the 9th ACE Impact Regional Workshop and Higher Education Forum in Marrakech, Morocco, in May 2023.  These events convened stakeholders to review the project at midterm and strengthen project implementation and effectiveness. In addition, partnerships were explored between the ACEs and universities in Morroco with an aligned vision in terms of thematic focus. Similarly, the ACE Impact hosted its 10th Regional Workshop, in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, where it launched the 10th Anniversary celebrations.  Overall, the project made significant progress during the year under its key indicators related to publications, training of PhD and Master’s Students, Accreditation of Courses, attraction of Female and Regional Students, Generation of Revenue, among others. Visit the project website for more information.
  6. The third phase of the Harmonisation of African Higher Education, Quality Assurance and Accreditation (HAQAA) Initiative kick-started in 2023 marking the beginning of a five-year period.  This initiative is being implemented on behalf of the European and African Union Commissions by the Association of African Universities, OBREAL GLOBAL, German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA). HAQAA 3 has 5 working areas: Higher Education Data Policy, Advancing the African Credit and Transfer System (ACTS), Capacity Building and Training for Internal Quality Assurance (IQA) and External Quality Assurance (EQA), Supporting the Pan-African Quality Assurance and Accreditation Agency, Regional Integration and Policy Dialogue. Visit the project website for more information.
  7. The AAU and Partners Started Implementation of Two Research-Focused Projects Under the Science Granting Councils Initiative This Year: (1) The Research and Innovation Project and (2) the ‘Developing Policy Frameworks and Enabling Structures for Public-Private Partnerships in Research and Innovation’ Project. AAU has been involved in the Science Granting Councils Initiative (SGCI) since its inception in 2015.  SGCI aims to strengthen the capacities of councils from 17 participating African countries to support research and evidence-based policies to contribute to economic and social development in Africa. Funders of the initiative include Sida, IDRC Canada, the Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office (FCDO), NRF South Africa, DFG, and Norad.
  8. Extension of the Demographics of African Faculty—East Africa Community (DAF EAC) Project:  Having concluded DAF EAC phase 1 this year, the project implementing consortium, comprised of the Association of African Universities, the Inter-University Council for East Africa (IUCEA), Education Sub-Saharan Africa (ESSA) and the Population Reference Bureau (PRB) secured funding from the Carnegie Corporation of New York to extend the implementation of the project.  The focus for this phase is on – cultivating a culture of data collection, analysis, and management for faculty planning in the East African Community. It is being implemented from November 2023 to October 2025. Overall, DAF seeks to systematically analyse the staffing challenges in sub-Saharan Africa. This involves using administrative data and policy norms to describe the current context and forecast the future supply of and demand for faculty.  The DAF EAC Research Report Generated under Phase I can be accessed from this link.
  9. AAU and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) collaborated on several initiatives this year:  These included jointly launching the Universal Acceptance Readiness Project, an initiative under the Coalition for Digital Africa, in April 2023,  celebrating the maiden Universal Acceptance (UA) Day on March 28, 2023, and organising two technical workshops in April and July for ICT Directors of AAU member universities. Furthermore, the AAU hosted ICANN’s second Africa Engagement Forum on July 25–27, 2023, in Ghana. This forum’s aim was to encourage the active involvement of African community members in Internet governance by promoting their participation in ICANN.
  10. The African Women in Higher Education Network (WoHEN) commemorated this year’s International Women’s Day with an interview on AAU TV’s flagship program, AAU Talks, bringing in knowledgeable guests to discuss the theme, “Leveraging Technology and Digitalization to Achieve Gender Parity in Higher Education.”. (March 2023). Click here to access the interview video.
  11. AAU-eLearnAfricaLMS project made good progress during the year. The project organized its 2nd cohort of the Leadership in University Transformation webinar series, the 1st cohort of the Transforming University Communication in a Digital Era webinar series, and 1st and 2nd cohorts of the Introduction to Public Policy Making and Analysis webinar series. Please follow the eLearnAfrica Project via this Link.
  12. Promotion of Research, Innovation, and Digital Culture in Central Africa (PRICNAC) is one of the twelve (12) projects funded under the ACP Innovation Fund of the Organization of African, Caribbean, and Pacific States Research and Innovation Programme (OEACP R&I), with financial support from the European Union (EU). AAU is an implementing partner of PRICNAC. This year, a third call for project proposals was launched on May 15, 2023. In July 2023, key stakeholders and consortium members of the project convened to shortlist ten (10) micro-projects. A grant-holders meeting and matchmaking workshop was also held in Douala, Cameroun, from September 27–29, 2023. Read more about this project via this link.
  13. The African Jobs Board project recorded impressive results this year. The project chalked up the following successes over the 2022/2023 period: 2,329 total jobs were posted on the Jobs Board platform, and over 200 new profiles created for employers.  The platform also recorded 458 job alerts and 5,138 applications to the jobs posted. Click here to read more about the project. Furthermore, the African Jobs Board team also organized the 5th edition of the Enhancing Human Capital webinar under the theme: The Role of Artificial Intelligence in the Future of Higher Education in Africa: A Complement or Supplement to Human Efficiency. The video to this webinar, hosted in November 2023, can be accessed here
  1. The Francophone African Network of National Quality Assurance Agencies (RAFANAQ) together with the African Quality Assurance Network (AfriQAN) and the National Quality Assurance Agency of Guinea, organised a quality assurance workshop on the links between External Quality Assurance (EQA) and Internal Quality Assurance (IQA) to foster effective development of national quality assurance systems in Africa. The workshop was organized in Guinea, Conakry from July 19th to 21st, 2023, and was attended by more than 40 participants from six different countries in Africa.
  2. The African Quality Assurance Network (AfriQAN) organized a forum in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, from November 28 to 30, 2023, under the theme “Potentials of Quality Assurance in Advancing Excellence in Higher Education in the Digital Era”. The forum was an opportunity to discuss and share experiences on issues related to online teaching and learning, quality assurance of doctoral education, and research. It attracted participants from 18 different countries in Africa, including CEOs and representatives of quality assurance agencies, quality assurance networks, quality assurance regional organisations, higher learning institutions, and the HAQAA 3 team. Read more from here
  3. The AAU Secretariat recorded a significant augmentation in its staff capacity with the addition of key professionals. Prof. Frederick Ato Armah was welcomed as the Director of Research and Programmes, along with Mr. Michael Aidoo and Ms. Elsie Frimpong, who have enriched the AAU’s Communication team. These new additions further fortify the AAU’s dedication to excellence and advancing its mission.

These highlights, among several other activities and impacts made by the AAU in 2023, were achieved with the support of all our stakeholders. Together, we will move the AAU and African Higher Education to the next level in the coming years.THANK YOU ALL! Yours in the Service of Higher Education in AfricaProfessor Olusola Bandele OyewoleSECRETARY GENERALAAU – The Voice of Higher Education in Africa!

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