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African diplomats visit Future Africa Institute at UP to forge research alliances

Posted on December 09, 2019

More than 30 African ambassadors and high commissioners to South Africa were recently given an introduction to research institute and campus Future Africa at the University of Pretoria’s (UP) Hillcrest Campus.

The event provided a platform to share information about opportunities for students from other African countries to become fellows for the various programmes on the advancement of sustainability science implemented at the research institute. 

“Future Africa is a place for connections, building communities, getting to the next level of science and embracing new knowledge,” said the newly appointed Director of Future Africa, Professor Cheikh Mbow. “This centre was created to bridge the institutional gap in academia, and is reconnecting academia with development. We aim to connect with African universities that want to make a difference on the continent. Extensive research and partnerships are important – that is what Africa needs – hence the introduction of the Future Africa institute and campus to African foreign ambassadors and high commissioners today.”

Director of Future Africa Professor Cheikh Mbow and  UP Vice-Chancellor and Principal Professor Tawana Kupe at the event.

The institute promotes a transdisciplinary approach to problem-solving by bringing together researchers and partners from various disciplines and sectors. It also intends to address complex societal challenges and contribute to the achievement of Africa’s sustainable, inclusive and equitable development.

“The Future Africa institute and campus is a continental asset for developing research, which lays the foundation for the industries of tomorrow,” said UP Vice-Chancellor and Principal Professor Tawana Kupe. “It also addresses the wicked challenges and stresses that Africa and the world are facing. These include the reduction of biodiversity, various climate change impacts, a rapidly expanding population of unemployed youth, and growing inequality.” He added that all research and innovation programmes at the institute focus on achieving a brighter future, underpinned by the ethos of sustainability, diversity and equality.     

“With this campus, we hope that African countries will come together and work as a whole in their respective fields of research to fast-track Africa, because we have so many challenges that need to be sorted out,” said Isaïe Ntirizoshira, High Commissioner of Burundi to South Africa.

“I look forward to seeing research collaboration with the Future Africa centre, and to seeing more collaboration and partnerships with African universities regarding interdisciplinary research,” said Kabiru Bala, High Commissioner of Nigeria to South Africa. “Most African countries are marching towards obtaining sustainable goals, so this establishment is one of the good examples of moving forward as a developing country.”

- Author Xolani Mathibela
Published by Hlengiwe Mnguni

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