African Research Universities Alliance Launches 5-year Strategic Plan

The African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA) has launched its Strategic Plan for the next five (5) years (2022-2027). The Plan, which was launched in Accra, took place at the end of a three (3) day Capacity Building Workshop for Institutional Planning & Research Managers of ARUA member universities including the University of Ghana (UG).

The hybrid event was chaired by ARUA Board Chair, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, Vice-Chancellor of Makerere University. In his opening remarks, Prof. Nawangwe was elated that the launch was taking place and congratulated ARUA Secretary-General and all who had worked so hard to achieve this. Prof. Nawangwe indicated that the Strategic Plan has come up at a time where African universities have been labelled as less competitive and there was the need to significantly enhance the quantity and quality of research they do. Prof. Nawangwe concluded by saying that African Universities needed to double up in their research capacities, and he was optimistic that the Strategic Plan will provide the necessary direction.

Prof. Ernest Aryeetey, Secretary-General of ARUA and former Vice-Chancellor of UG, in his presentation said that the Strategic Plan is expected to guide ARUA move towards achieving its vision of making African researchers and institutions globally competitive while contributing to the generation of knowledge for socio-economic transformation in Africa. 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 continue to support ARUA.

Prof. Aryeetey elaborated on the four (4) areas that ARUA has been pursuing its vision and upon which the Strategic Plan has focused. The areas are (i) enhanced research, (ii) enhanced graduate support and training, (iii) institutional capability for research management, and (iv) advocacy and Leverage. For each of these focus areas, Prof. Aryeetey showed how ARUA intends to meet these objectives, most of which centre on ARUA’s Centres of Excellence model. Some of the more specific goals in the Strategic Plan include the establishment of the African University, establishing strong links with industry and other sectors, producing good quality PhD graduates, ensuring 75 percent of faculty in member universities have at least a PhD, advocating for funding and increasing the number of Centres of Excellence.

Members of the Executive Committee of ARUA gave brief comments about the Strategic Plan. Prof. Sizwe Mabizela, Vice-Chancellor of Rhodes University and Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, Vice-Chancellor, University of Lagos, who joined virtually indicated that they were excited about the Plan and what it meant for

ARUA member universities. Prof. Mamokgethi Phakeng, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cape Town, sent in a recorded message as she was unable to join virtually. She was equally elated about the direction of the Strategic Plan.

The formal launch of the Strategic Plan was performed by Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, amid spontaneous applause from the audience.

The vote of thanks was moved by ARUA Network Manager and former Director of Public Affairs Directorate, UG, Mrs. Stella A. Amoa, who acknowledged the team who had worked on the document, Dr. Brian Chicksen (University of Pretoria), Prof. Ernest Aryeetey, Dr. Emmanuel Adu-Danso and Dr. Emmanuel Abbey, in addition to the staff of ARUA. Also acknowledged were partners, collaborators, stakeholders and friends of ARUA.

The colourful ceremony had Vice-Chancellors and Deputy Vice-Chancellors 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 by zoom. Participants attending the capacity building workshop and representatives from the University of Ghana and media organisations attended physically.

UG is a foundation member of the 16 Member Universities of ARUA and has benefitted from ARUA’s initiative to support capacity building for vaccine development in Africa. ARUA awarded WACCBIP a US$ 500,000 grant in December 2020 to build capacity for vaccine research as the Western Africa Hub. The grant application was facilitated by the Office for Research, Innovation and Development (ORID), with initial funding from the Open Society Foundation.

As a result of this grant, WACCBIP was able to procure state-of-art next-generation sequencing equipment, the Illumina NextSeq2000, which was unveiled at a short ceremony organised on the sidelines of the 2021 WACCBIP Research Conference. With this new platform, researchers at WACCBIP carried out Ghana’s first-ever genome sequencing.


Please click here to access the Presentation Slides by Prof. Ernest Aryeetey

Please click here to access the ARUA Strategic Plan Document

Please click here to watch a video of the event