Frontiers of Knowledge in Science and Technology

At the inaugural meeting of the African University Leaders’ Forum, Vice-Chancellors of fifteen African Universities met in Cape Town from the 19 th to the 21st of November, 2006 to discuss the role of higher education in promoting economic growth in Africa today. They focussed in particular on the immense potential of information and communication technologies to transform the teaching, learning, and research environments in African universities, and the capacity of those technologies to stimulate large changes in Africa’s growing economies.

At the end of their discussions the Vice-Chancellors highlighted critical challenges facing higher education and society in Africa.

  • Africa’s greatest asset is its human talent
  • Harnessing this talent will require new and large investment at all levels of education
  • Information and knowledge are the greatest contemporary levers of sustainable development
  • This recognition underscores the cardinal role of higher education
  • The fullest benefits of higher education will be in greater equitable access, high quality teaching and research infrastructure, greater institutional autonomy within a framework of public accountability
  • Greater economic growth will occur in a more participative human environment and in more deregulated economies which allow for greater social inventiveness
  • A key historic feature of modern Africa is the emergent and increasingly vibrant African private sector
  • African higher education must engage closely with this emergent sector
  • Working with government, the private sector, and civil society, higher education must press for a high intensity information and communication technology environment across the African continent
  • Networked African universities must consolidate their role at the centre of a new and changing continent

The Vice-Chancellors acknowledged the renewed interest in higher education by African leaders who have included it as one of the key areas of focus in the African Union’s recent Plan of Action for the Second Decade of Education for Africa (2006-2015).

The Partnership for Higher Education in Africa supported the forum of Vice-Chancellors in Cape Town. African University Leaders will work in partnership with these foundations (Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Ford, Hewlett, MacArthur, Mellon, and Rockefeller foundations) to advance African higher education within the framework of the challenges identified.

Key partners also include the Association of African Universities, the African Academy of Sciences, and the United States National Academy of Sciences.

The AfricanUniversity Leaders’ Forum was attended by Vice-Chancellors-

Shehu Usman Abdullahi | Ahmadu Bello University (Nigeria)
Attaheru Jega | Bayero University (Nigeria)
Njabulo S. Ndebele | University of Cape Town (South Africa)
Matthew Luhanga | University of Dar es Salaam (Tanzania)
B. Mazula | University of Eduardo Mondlane (Mozambique)
Jophus Anamuah-Mensah | University of Education, Winneba (Ghana)
C.N.B. Tagoe | University of Ghana (Ghana)
Sonnie Gwanie Tyoden | University of Jos (Nigeria)
Olive Mugenda | University of Kenyatta (Kenya)
Malegapuru W. Makgoba | University of KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa)
Livingstone S. Luboobi | Makerere University (Uganda)
David K. Some | Moi University (Kenya)
Michael O. Faborode | Obafemi Awolowo University (Nigeria)
Don M. Baridam | University of Port Harcourt (Nigeria)
Loyiso Nongxa | University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)