Stellenbosch University (SU) bestowed an honorary doctorate on one of Africa's giants in higher education, Prof Ernest Aryeetey, at its December graduation. He received the degree Doctor of Commerce (DCom), honoris causa, on Thursday (8 December 2022) at an in-person graduation ceremony for the Faculty of Economics and Management Sciences.
Aryeetey, who hails from Ghana, was honoured for his discerning and innovative leadership in the higher education sector in Africa, his commitment to creating platforms to build research and innovation capacity on the continent and for sharing his expertise through his scholarly contributions.
In his acceptance speech, Aryeetey thanked SU for the honorary degree and said he is under no illusion about its significance. “I'm very much touched by the gesture and I'm very happy for the recognition of the work that we are all doing together in this region. I believe the importance of it will resonate around the region."
Aryeetey referred to the African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA) and emphasised the important role of higher education institutions in addressing the challenges Africa faces.
“We strongly believe that in order to attain the Sustainable Development Goals, Africa needs to change the way it manages its economies. The only way you can do this change is by building the knowledge systems you require for that, and also using these more effectively."
He lauded SU for contributing much more to ARUA than was expected at the beginning.
More about Aryeetey
As a well-respected thought leader in higher education, Aryeetey has made an enormous contribution to the sector, not only in his home country of Ghana, but also across Africa.
Aryeetey is the founding secretary-general of the ARUA, a network of universities that focuses on building research capacity on the continent. Following its establishment, he spearheaded the identification of 13 research areas to facilitate interdisciplinary research collaborations and established 11 ARUA centres of excellence. This includes the ARUA Centre of Excellence in Energy at SU.
A professor of Economics and former vice-chancellor of the University of Ghana (2010–2016), Aryeetey has held academic appointments at the School of Oriental and African Studies (London) and at Yale University and Swarthmore College (both in the United States). His research focuses on the economics of development, and he is well known for his work on informal and microfinance in Africa.
Aryeetey is a member of the governing council of the United Nations University (UNU) and a former chair of the advisory board of the UNU World Institute for Development Economics Research (Helsinki).
- Photo: Prof Ernest Aryeetey at the graduation ceremony. Photographer: Stefan Els