ARUA Revealed How to Solve Africa's Problems

Prof. Ernest Aryeetey

The African Research Universities urged all African leaders to work together and pay extra attention to university research advances.

This idea was presented during the fourth ARUA biannual international conference, themed 'Reimagining the Future of Higher Education in Africa,' which took place at the University of Lagos, Akoka.

In an interview, Prof. Ernest Aryeetey, the Secretary-General of ARUA, emphasized that there was a lot of qualitative research in Africa that wasn't making its way into industries.

He told the African leaders that there's no way that they would ignore local research and expect development.

The Punch reported that he said, “It is important that African governments whether in the North, South, East or the West understand that whatever problems they face, will not be solved without innovation and innovation only comes from research. So, you cannot ignore your universities or the sources of the research innovations and expect to solve your problem, it is not going to work. So, put your money where your mouth is, invest in higher education, and ensure that the higher institutions do the right thing and everybody will be happy.

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“There is a lot of good research being done in Africa that is not finding its way to industry and not reflected in the policy. What it means is that the African government not only has to support the research but also engage the researchers in making sure that what is being done is relevant, is producing results that can be used, and that when the results are available the policy should reflect it.”

In her opening remarks, UNILAG Vice-Chancellor Prof. Folasade Ogunsola emphasized that over the years, ARUA has been at the forefront of redirecting collective thinking towards intentionally addressing Africa's existential crisis, saying that if Africa is to change, it must begin with the mind.

“The University of Lagos aligns with this goal and our research and development culture prioritises addressing urgent societal challenges, particularly within the framework of global agreements while pursuing an overarching agenda to be a ‘Future-ready’ university.

“Universities are the place where a desired future can be imagined – and our business today is to imagine a desired future for Africa and going beyond that, to establish the steps required to produce a new generation of African thinkers and doers that can take us to this desired future.”

Prof. Adam Habib, Director of the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, continued by saying that universities worldwide needed to collaborate, train in specific areas, and ensure that information was suitably updated.\

“Our history is different, our architecture is different, our institutional knowledge is different and so we need to bring our knowledge system together as part of a collective humanity. We today need to come together as a human community but we’re divided like never before and unless we figure out that, we are in trouble.”

Prof. Grace Otinwa, Chairman of the Local Organizing Committee, stated that the topic connected powerfully with the continent's transforming path.

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