The Association of African Universities (AAU) has reaffirmed its commitment to work closely with Africa’s private sector to promote economic transformation of the continent and contribute towards achieving the Africa we want, as targeted by the African Union’s Agenda 2063.
In a meeting held between the AAU and the Africa Private Sector Summit (APSS) representatives on 6th October 2021, the two parties acknowledged that economic transformation cannot materialize without the institutions that produce the requisite skill set and human resources – higher education institutions.
Strategically positioning higher education to make it relevant to industry has been a key priority of the AAU. Earlier in March 2021, the Association signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Pan African Chamber of Commerce and Industry to promote the continental integration of Africa through education, trade, and investment under the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) trade agreements and the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
In the Memorandum of Understanding, a special Africa Education Trust Fund (AfETF) to support African Universities and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions to meet the professional manpower skill set demands of the continent is expected to be launched.
The AAU has been an advocate for effective university-industry linkages in view of the synergies such collaborations build for socio-economic development. The AAU has, over the years of its existence, deployed advocacy tools through its programmes with member universities, conferences and capacity building workshops, to make higher education more responsive to the overtures from the private sector.
The Chairperson of the APSS, Mr. J Wendell Addy used the meeting with the AAU to extend an invitation to all universities in Africa and other stakeholders to participate in the upcoming hybrid Africa Private Sector Summit holding on October 19 -22, 2021 in Accra, Ghana and also virtually.
For his part, the Secretary General of the AAU, Prof. Olusola Bandele Oyewole reassured the meeting and stakeholders of the Association’s commitment to working with the private sector to ensure that academia has a strong presence and plays a critical role in the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agenda. “The AAU will also play its expected roles as outlined in the MoU signed with the Pan African Chamber of Commerce and Industry for the benefit of our member institutions and stakeholders” Prof. Oyewole added.