African Research Universities Alliance launches 5-year strategic plan

BY: Emmanuel Bonney
Photo credit: arua.org.za
Photo credit: arua.org.za

The African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA) has launched a five-year strategic plan for 2022 to 2027.

The launch followed the end of a three-day capacity building workshop for institutional planning & research managers of ARUA member universities.

The goals in the strategic plan are the establishment of the African University, establishing strong links with industry and other sectors, producing good quality PhD graduates, ensuring 75 per cent of faculty in member universities have at least a PhD and advocating funding and increasing the number of Centres of Excellence.


Launching the plan, the Chairman of the Board of ARUA, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, indicated that the strategic plan had come up at a time where African universities had been labelled as less competitive, and hence the need to significantly enhance the quantity and quality of the research.

He said African universities needed to double up in the research that they did.

Professor Nawangwa who launched the strategic plan was optimistic that the strategic plan would provide the necessary direction.


The Secretary-General of ARUA, Prof. Ernest Aryeetey, said the strategic plan was expected to guide ARUA to move towards achieving its vision.

That vision, he said, was to make African researchers and institutions globally competitive while contributing to the generation of knowledge for socio-economic transformation of the continent.

He acknowledged the cooperation the network had received from former vice-chancellors of the University of Cape Town and the University of Witwatersrand, Prof. Max Price and Prof. Adam Habib respectively; as well as current vice-chancellors who continued to support ARUA.


Prof. Aryeetey elaborated on the four areas that ARUA had been pursuing its vision and upon which the strategic plan had focused.

The areas are enhanced research, enhanced graduate support and training, institutional capability for research management, advocacy and leverage.

For each of those areas, Prof. Aryeetey showed how ARUA intended to meet those objectives, most of which centre around ARUA’s Centres of Excellence model.


The Vice-Chancellor of Rhodes University, Prof. Sizwe Mabizela, and the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Lagos, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, who joined virtually, indicated that they were excited about the plan and what it meant for ARUA member universities.

The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cape Town, Prof. Mamokgethi Phakeng, was equally elated about the direction of the strategic plan.

The colourful ceremony had VCs and DVCs from member universities as well as representation from various ARUA partners, including the Carnegie Corporation of New York (CCNY), Education Sub-Saharan Africa (ESSA), The Guild of European Research- Intensive Universities (The Guild), UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), Universitas 21 (U21), the University of Oslo, Africa CDC, The Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU), among others, attending largely via zoom.