Universities and economic development in Africa presents the synthesis and includes the key findings of case studies of eight African countries and universities. The analysis and discussion presented in the book draw three main conclusions.
First, there was a lack of clarity and agreement (pact) about a development model and the role of higher education in economic development, at both national and university levels, in all eight cases. There was, however, an increasing awareness, particularly at government level, of the importance of universities in the global context of the knowledge economy.
Second, research production at the eight African universities was not strong enough to enable them to build on their traditional undergraduate teaching roles and make a sustained contribution to development via new knowledge production. A number of the universities had manageable student–staff ratios and adequately qualified staff, but inadequate funds for staff to engage in research. In addition, the incentive regimes did not support knowledge production.
Third, in none of the countries in the sample was there a coordinated effort between government, external stakeholders and the university to systematically strengthen the contribution that the university can make to development. While at each of the universities there were exemplary development projects that connected strongly to external stakeholders and strengthened the academic core, the challenge remains how to increase the number of these projects.
The study on which this book is based forms part of a larger study on higher education and economic development in Africa, undertaken by the Higher Education Research and Advocacy Network in Africa (HERANA). HERANA is coordinated by the Centre for Higher Education Transformation (CHET) in South Africa.