Making Higher Education Work for Africa


Harvard University, together with USIU-Africa and Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program (CADFP), the Ford Foundation, University of Johannesburg, and the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa, partnered in organizing a Conference on the Role of the Diaspora in the Revitalization of African Higher Education, which took place at Harvard University’s Center for African Studies, in the U.S. city of Boston. 

The two-day conference which ran from Thursday, March 30 to Friday, March 31, interrogated some of the key changes, disruptions, challenges and opportunities facing higher education in general and African higher education in particular. In his opening remarks Vice Chancellor Prof. Paul Zeleza, who is also the Chair of the Advisory Council of the Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program, underlined the importance of the African diaspora terming it, an “indispensable player in the revitalization of Africa's rapidly growing, and increasingly differentiated and diversified higher education sector.”

He also noted the increasingly critical role to be played through academic engagements stating that, “…the diaspora can facilitate capacity building for Africa's mushrooming universities, enhance their innovation, and promote their globalization.”

The conference’s keynote remarks were delivered by former Tanzanian President H.E. Jakaya Kikwete who is also the Chancellor of Africa’s most prestigious universities – the University of Dar es Salaam, while Kenya’s Education Cabinet Secretary Dr. Fred Matiang’I was a speaker during the conference’s opening plenary session. Mr. Fred Swaniker (Founder and Chairman of the African Leadership Academy, African Leadership Network, and African Leadership University) will deliver the endnote address. 

Dr. Lola Odubekun (Chair of the University Council), Mr. Kris Senanu (University Council member) and Amb. Prof. Ruthie Rono (DVC - Academic & Student Affairs) also attended the landmark conference together with other high-profile delegates from the higher education sector in Africa and the United States.

The conference closed with a collective deliberation on how to build on the experiences, successes, and lessons of the CADFP to implement one of the key priorities from the First African Higher Education Summit held in Dakar in March 2015 - the establishment of the 10/10 program to sponsor 1,000 African academics in diaspora across all disciplines every year, for 10 years, to universities and colleges across the continent.

The Conference Report below details the discussion and outcomes of the Conference on the Role of the Diaspora in the Revitalization of African Higher Education. The paper below entitled, Making Higher Education FinanceWork for Africa, is a post-conference paper co-authored by  Dr. Celestin Monga, Chief Economist at the African Development Bank.

(Republished from: USIU-Africa explores African diaspora contribution at Harvard Conference)