While Africa has 13.4 per cent of the entire world population statistics show it produces only 1.1 per cent of world scientific knowledge and most of them end up working in developed economies because of better pay, greater infrastructure among others.
However, in a move expected to up Africa’s science and technology and innovation the African Development Bank’s (AfDB) Wednesday, July 24 approved an African Development Fund (ADF) grant of US $ 45 million to support the creation of a Pan African University (PAU).
The AfDB says the pan African university will have five Pan African Institutes in East, West, Central, North and Southern Africa which will focus mainly on science, technology and innovation.
According to said Agnes Soucat, Director of the Human Development Department, AfDB, “Thousands of students all over Africa will benefit from this project. This is truly an amazing regional effort to help African universities achieve world-class status. It will increase the pool of African scientists and researchers not only to serve the needs of the continent but to help youth become competitive in international labour markets,”
It’s not that there are no universities in Africa but the problem is quality. The best African university ranks 113th globally and of the top 400 universities worldwide, only four are in Africa, an are luckily or unluckily all in the Republic of South Africa.
Using established academic networks of already existing post-graduate and research institutions the PAU will offer Basic sciences, technology and innovation in East Africa, Earth and life sciences including health and agriculture in West Africa, Governance, humanities and social sciences in Central Africa, Water and energy sciences including climate change in North Africa and Space sciences in Southern Africa.
The university will aid in capacity building, value addition of the continents natural resources and enhance competitiveness and youth employment.
Its other major step towards establishing the African Higher Education and Research Space by contributing to efficient regional higher education governance system; improved quality of higher education at the regional level creating strong links with the labour market; equitable access to quality higher education in science, technology and engineering fields; and increased number of institutions achieving world-class status.
With a governance structure for both central and country level management, AfDB says the first three three PAU thematic institutes will be based in Kenya, Nigeria and Cameroon:
1. PAU Institute for Basic Sciences, Technology and Innovation (Kenya)
2. PAU Institute for Life and Earth Sciences (Nigeria)
3. PAU Institute for Governance, Humanities and Social Sciences (Cameroon).