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How to solve Africa’s problems – ARUA

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The African Research Universities Alliance has called on African leaders to collaborate and pay more attention to research innovations from universities.

This notion was made at the fourth ARUA biennial international conference, titled, ‘Reimagining the future of higher education in Africa,’ and held at the University of Lagos, Akoka.

Secretary-General, ARUA, Prof. Ernest Aryeetey, in an interview, explained that there was a lot of quality research in Africa that was not finding its way into the industries.

He advised leaders that it would be impossible to ignore homegrown research and expected development.

“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.

“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.”

Also speaking, Vice-Chancellor, UNILAG, Prof. Folasade Ogunsola, in her opening remark emphasised that over the years, ARUA had been at the forefront of redirecting collective thinking towards intentionally addressing the existential crisis that bedeviled Africa, saying, if Africa was going to change, it must start from 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.”

Director, School Oriental and African Studies, University of London,  Prof. Adam Habib, added that the universities needed to come together around the world to work together, to train on skill, and to make sure knowledge was appropriately adjusted.

“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.”

Chairman Of Local Organizing Committee, Prof. Grace Otinwa, said the theme resonated deeply with the transformative journey envisioned for the continent.

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