The Innovation for African Universities program comprises 24 project partnerships with universities in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and the UK, and will aim to develop skills graduates require to build sustainable industries, companies and services.
“We can… enable universities to become key champions for innovation and entrepreneurship”
“By bringing together universities from across the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa with organisations supporting innovation and entrepreneurship in the region, we can facilitate an exchange of learning, ideas, knowledge and connections to enable universities to become key champions for innovation and entrepreneurship,” Moses Anibaba OBE, regional director Sub-Saharan Africa British Council, said.
Three Centre of Excellence partners – University of Nairobi, Bayes Business School at City University of London and ChangeSchool – will manage the program and facilitate the exchange of learning across the network.
The project is a “wonderful piece of innovation from the British Council”, suggested Neil Marshall, development director at ChangeSchool.
“Instead of them telling people in African universities what to do, [the British Council] has asked African universities what is best to do to enable higher education and the entrepreneurial ecosystem in four different countries, to work better together for the economy and the people of that country.”
Partners involved in the 24 successful 2021 IAU network projects will receive up to £60,000 funding.
Higher education institutions will foster stronger peer to peer connections and share best practices and knowledge aiming to enhance students’ employability and support economic development across Sub-Saharan Africa.
Partnerships include London School of Economics and George Okoye University in Nigeria, London South Bank University and Mangosuthu University of Technology in South Africa, Imperial College London and University of Ghana, and many more.
“These partnerships serve diverse beneficiaries that are often not included in modern entrepreneurship empowerment programs,” said Sam Kamuriwo, Bayes Business School, City University of London.
Mary Kinoti of University of Nairobi added the program will “create businesses and employment opportunity among the youth in Africa”.
Program developers highlighted that many young Africans lack the opportunities, training and support to develop their ideas for businesses and enterprise. Sub-Saharan Africa’s youth population is expected to double to over 830 million by 2050, they emphasised.
“The IAU program offers a great opportunity for universities in Sub-Saharan Africa to spur innovation and entrepreneurship culture and mindset among the academia and students,” Kinoti said.
“At the British Council we recognise the key role universities can play in the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Africa, helping enable African youth to become the job creators of tomorrow and drivers of economic development in the continent,” Anibaba added.