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AUDA-NEPAD launches Centre of Excellence to upscale home-grown innovations in Africa launches Centre of Excellence to upscale home-grown innovations in AfricaAUDA-NEPAD, CSIR & SU<p>​<strong style="text-align:justify;"><em>​</em></strong><span style="text-align:justify;">The African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD), in partnership with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and Stellenbosch University (SU), have launched a Centre of Excellence in Science, Technology and Innovation to upscale and commercialise home-grown innovations on the continent.</span><br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The AUDA-NEPAD Centre of Excellence in Science, Technology and Innovation (AUDA-NEPAD CoE-STI) is one of five centres of excellence, which are the African Union's (AU) instruments for leveraging knowledge and science-backed innovations to support accelerated implementation of Agenda 2063. The other centres of excellence are focused on rural resources and food systems; climate resilience; human capital and institutions development; and supply chain and logistics.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Under the unique tripartite partnership, the AUDA-NEPAD CoE-STI aims to leverage the research and science capabilities from the continent and connect this to policy and implementation efforts to respond to continental development priorities.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Over 40 home-grown innovations have already been identified. These are innovations coming out of long-running programmes in SU and CSIR, and represent widely tested and proven technologies or practices ready for upscaling and/or commercialisation across the continent. The innovations cover a wide spectrum of solutions in areas such as health, renewable energy, agriculture, water, and sanitation to support countries in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Building Africa's science, technology and innovation capacities for accelerated and sustainable growth and development is a strategic priority for South Africa's new Decadal Plan for Science, Technology and Innovation.  South Africa is, thus, honoured to host the new Centre of Excellence, which the Department of Science and Innovation is looking forward to cooperate with, building on our historic support for pan-African science programmes.  The Centre of Excellence should also serve as catalyst for enhanced and deepened intra-African cooperation, responding to the challenges presented by Covid-19 and leveraging opportunities such as the new African Continental Free Trade Area", said Daan du Toit on behalf of Dr Blade Nzimande, Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">“The Covid-19 crisis has shown that Science, Technology and Innovation play a vital role in fighting the devasting impact of the pandemic. The continent needs to look inwards to develop, strengthen and upscale innovations that could help fight the pandemic and build greater resilience in the post-Covid era. Through the CoE-STI partnership with CSIR and SU, AUDA-NEPAD is proud to act as a channel to connect African innovators to governments and clients to roll-out and localise these home-grown solutions. The AUDA-NEPAD Centres of Excellence will bring innovative and agile solutions to scale in critical sectors affected by the pandemic," said Dr Ibrahim Mayaki, CEO of AUDA-NEPAD.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“The establishment of this centre signifies the beginning of a huge task that we have set for ourselves, which is to unearth innovations on the continent. In fact, not just to unearth these innovations, but to make sure that they contribute to alleviating the triple challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality in Africa. Our partnership with AUDA-NEPAD and Stellenbosch University will boost Africa's research, development and innovation (RDI) capacity, as well as contribute to the development of technologies and their deployment for socioeconomic transformation in Africa," said Dr Thulani Dlamini, CSIR CEO.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“I am really excited by what is happening on African soil, with African collaboration and partnerships. If we work together, the possibilities of what we can achieve are endless. Africa driving its own agenda, converting its enormous potential into actual products and services making a positive difference to the lives of our continent's 1.3 billion people is not a far-fetched idea", SU Rector and Vice Chancellor, Prof Wim de Villiers, Vice Chancellor.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The AUDA-NEPAD CoE-STI provides a continental platform for supporting and sourcing of funding and other resources for the up-scaling, dissemination and localisation of proven innovations from research and partner organisations. The centre will connect African-driven knowledge and research hubs with other knowledge and research ecosystems across the continent. Furthermore, it will act as a platform for innovators to access alternative options regarding how to reach their clients when rolling out new solutions.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The catalogue of innovations will be published on the <a href="">website.</a></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><strong> </strong></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><strong>For further information:</strong></p><p style="text-align:justify;">AUDA-NEPAD: Abiola Shomang <a href=""></a></p><p style="text-align:justify;">CSIR: David Mandaha <a href=""></a></p><p style="text-align:justify;">SU: Refiloe Nkhasi <a href=""></a></p><p style="text-align:justify;"> </p><p style="text-align:justify;"><strong>For technical information, please contact</strong>: Mr Martin Bwalya, Dr Ndumiso Cingo, Dr Nico Elema at <a href=""></a></p><p style="text-align:justify;"> </p><p style="text-align:justify;"><strong>About AUDA-NEPAD</strong></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The African Union Development Agency-NEPAD is the technical body of the African Union. The mandate of AUDA-NEPAD is to facilitate and coordinate the implementation of regional and continental priority programmes and projects and to push for partnerships, resource mobilisation, research and knowledge management. Through AUDA-NEPAD, African countries are provided unique opportunities to take full control of their development agenda, to work more closely together and to cooperate more effectively with international partners. <a href=""></a></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Follow us on social media:</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Twitter: @NEPAD_Agency</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Facebook:</p><p style="text-align:justify;">YouTube: AUDA-NEPAD</p><p style="text-align:justify;"> </p><p style="text-align:justify;"><strong>About CSIR</strong></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The CSIR, an entity of the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, is one of the leading scientific and technology research, development and implementation organisations in Africa. Constituted by an Act of Parliament in 1945 as a science council, the CSIR undertakes directed and multidisciplinary research and technological innovation, as well as industrial and scientific development to improve the quality of life of all South Africans. For more information, visit</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Follow us on social media:</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Twitter: @CSIR </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Facebook: CSIRSouthAfrica</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Instagram: CSIRSouthAfrica</p><p style="text-align:justify;">LinkedIn: Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Youtube: CSIRNewMedia</p><p style="text-align:justify;"><strong> </strong></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><strong>About Stellenbosch University</strong></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Stellenbosch University (SU) is a leading public higher-education institution in South Africa, which marked its centenary in 2018. With a wide range of local and international partners and stakeholders, SU has a vision to be Africa's leading research-intensive university, globally recognised as excellent, inclusive and innovative, that advances knowledge in service of society. As an institution, SU consistently ranks amongst the top three universities in South Africa and Africa and the top 1 percent in the world.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">For more information: <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Follow us on social media:</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Twitter: @StellenboschUni </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Facebook: Stellenboschuniversity</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Instagram: stellenboschuni</p><p style="text-align:justify;">LinkedIn: Stellenbosch University </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Youtube: Stellenbosch University</p><p style="text-align:justify;"> <br></p><p>​<br></p>
Africa has numerous challenges, but also many opportunities has numerous challenges, but also many opportunitiesCorporate Communication & Marketing / Korporatiewe Kommunikasie & Bemarking [Alec Basson]<p></p><p>Tuesday (25 May) was Africa Day. In opinion pieces for the media, staff at Stellenbosch University point out that even though Africa faces numerous challenges, it also has many opportunities to achieve sustainable economic development, peace and prosperity. Click on the links below to read the articles as published.</p><ul><li>​Dr Chris Jones (<a href=""><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style="">Daily Maverick</strong></a>)</li><li>Prof Firoz Khan (Daily Maverick: <a href=""><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style="">Part 1</strong></a> & <a href=""><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style="">Part 2</strong></a>)</li><li>Prof Hester Klopper (<a href="/english/Documents/newsclips/Klopper_CapeTimes_2021.pdf"><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style="">Cape Times</strong></a>)<br></li></ul><p>​<br></p>
Excellence in science, technology and innovation for Africa in science, technology and innovation for AfricaWim de Villiers<p><em>An Africa Day op-ed by Prof Wim de Villiers* published by </em>Business Day <em>on 25 May 2021</em><em>. </em><a href=""><em class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0"><strong>Click here</strong></em></a><em> for that version, or read it below.</em><br></p><p>In light of <strong>Africa Day</strong> on 25 May, and with the 20<sup>th</sup> anniversary of the establishment of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (<strong>NEPAD</strong>) coming up in July, now is the perfect time to take a fresh look at socio-economic advancement on our continent.</p><p>The world is in turmoil: politically, socially and economically. The COVID-19 pandemic has widened some of the cracks in society at large, and the African continent has certainly not been spared any of it. </p><p>Although our continent has many challenges, we also have certain things in our favour. Let me mention just two. We have a habit of “leapfrogging" to the latest technologies and approaches to not only keep up with the rest of the world, but take the lead. And there is already plenty of cooperation taking place on both the geopolitical level and within sectors that are crucial for development. </p><p>In higher education, exciting new developments all over the continent, including at Stellenbosch University (SU), suggest that reports of the demise of the “Africa rising" narrative may have been premature.</p><p>Developmental challenges are what systems scientist Charles W Churchman called “wicked problems" – highly complex questions comprised of interwoven issues whose potential solutions require creative, interdisciplinary thinking. And sociologist David Cooper uses the concept of a “quadruple helix" to identify the partners needed to address societal challenges: the state, industry or businesses, higher education institutions and other civil society structures. We all have to work together.</p><p>The good news is we do not have to reinvent the wheel – we already have examples of solid <strong>collaboration on our continent</strong>. For instance, the five Centres of Excellence (CoEs) established by the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) bring various stakeholders together in addressing interconnecting themes: climate resilience (based in Cairo, Egypt), rural resources and food systems (in Dakar, Senegal), human capital and institutions (in Nairobi, Kenya), supply chain and logistics (to be established in a Central African country), and science, technology and innovation (in Stellenbosch, South Africa). </p><p>The <strong>CoE for Science, Technology and Innovation (STI)</strong> was set up in November as a trilateral partnership between <strong>AUDA-NEPAD</strong>, South Africa's Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (<strong>CSIR</strong>) and <strong>SU</strong>. Its location is no coincidence – the Centre is based at the heart of the Stellenbosch innovation ecosystem.</p><p>Tapping into their longstanding collaboration, SU and the CSIR have already selected over <strong>40 knowledge-based innovations and technologies</strong> for rapid upscaling. These represent widely tested and proven technologies or practices which are ready to be taken to the next level – for instance, screening technologies for drug discovery; epidemiological modelling; initiatives around climate change; innovations in water, energy and food security; online learning; and electronic payment systems. </p><p>By implementing home-grown solutions for real-world change across Africa, the AUDA-NEPAD CoE-STI will help realise the goals of the AU's <strong>Agenda 2063</strong>, which have been divided into four areas: industrialisation and wealth creation, shared prosperity and transformed livelihoods, human capital development and transformed institutions, as well as natural resources management and environmental resilience. </p><p>Another example of collaboration bearing fruit for Africa is the <strong>School for Data </strong><strong>Science and Computational Thinking</strong> established at SU in 2019. Writing in <em>CIO Africa</em>, tech journalist Jeremy Daniel recently observed, “The importance of data science burst into the public consciousness in 2020, as the world battled to come to grips with the scale of the pandemic. Suddenly, everyone was an amateur data scientist with theories and charts to back it up. But trained African data scientists have been hard to find."</p><p>The SU School for Data Science and Computational Thinking works across faculties, encouraging interdisciplinary research and teaching. This July, the School will offer a week-long course taking anyone with basic computer skills to the point where they can build a sophisticated machine-learning model. Participants aiming for certification will subsidise the cost of those who want the skills but cannot afford the fees.</p><p>This will help meet the demand for data science that is exploding across the continent. Last year, the South African government announced its goals to train one million young people in data science related skills by 2030.</p><p>I am really excited by what is happening on <strong>African soil</strong> with <strong>African collaboration</strong> and partnerships. If we work together, the possibilities of what we can achieve are endless. Africa driving its <strong>own agenda</strong>, converting its enormous potential into actual products and services making a positive difference to the lives of our continent's 1,3 billion people is not a far-fetched idea.</p><p><em>* Professor Wim de Villiers is Rector and Vice-Chancellor of Stellenbosch University, a founding member </em><em>of the African Research University Alliance. </em><em>He also serves as </em><em>Vice-Chair of Universities South Africa.</em></p><p>​<br></p>
New book tells interesting story of global economic history book tells interesting story of global economic historyCorporate Communication & Marketing / Korporatiewe Kommunikasie & Bemarking [Alec Basson]<p>How did Einstein help create Eskom? Why can an Indonesian volcano explain the Great Trek? What do the late King Zwelithini and Charlemagne have in common? <br></p><p>These are just some of the interesting questions Prof Johan Fourie from the Department of Economics at Stellenbosch University explores in a new book published recently.<br></p><p>Entitled <em>Our Long Walk to Economic Freedom</em>, the book, which has been written from a South African perspective, is an accessible global economic history spanning everything from the human migration out of Africa 100,000 years ago to the Covid-19 pandemic.<img src="/english/PublishingImages/Lists/dualnews/My%20Items%20View/Longwalk.JPG" alt="Longwalk.JPG" class="ms-rtePosition-2" style="margin:5px;width:249px;height:381px;" /> <br></p><p>Through short and easy-to-read (and sometimes even entertaining) stories about historical events and trends, Fourie tries to answer one of the main questions in economics, namely why some countries are rich and others slow to catch up.<br></p><p>He says the book also discusses new scholarship that is starting to pay more attention to Africa's economic history.</p><p>“Africa's economic history is always at the margins of global economic history. That is for two reasons: many consider Africa to have always been poor and, as such, not worth studying. That is just bad history. <br></p><p>Another reason is that in many cases, historians of Africa have been forced to use sources and methods that economists find difficult to work with. They have thus largely ignored those sources. More recently, this is changing, and it is resulting in a much more fertile field of study."<br></p><p>Fourie points out that several chapters of <em>Our Long Walk to Economic Freedom</em> deal with South African history – and the lessons we should learn about what gave rise to (or prevented) a better life for all. </p><p>“Of course we should not only learn from our own history, but perhaps these lessons also help to understand where we are as a country – and might even give us some roadmap about where we should be heading."<br></p><p>“I think humanity has come to the following two revelations: that we can use our knowledge of nature to produce more and better things, and that, secondly, these things that we produce should not be limited to an elite," adds Fourie.<br></p><p>He says that we are profoundly more productive than we were only a century earlier and far more people than ever before are benefiting from this productivity. <br></p><p>“Yes, not everyone is doing so equally, and yes, we have to be concerned about how our actions affect the natural environment, but the fact that we live longer, more healthier lives with higher incomes also allow us to invest in those things that we value, including the environment."<br></p><p>Fourie emphasises that we still have some way to go before we attain economic freedom. <br></p><p>“As long as there are still people that are unable to escape structural poverty, that are unable to find the job they want, unable to obtain the education their ability allows, and unable to live the life they want to lead, we have not yet reached the end. We are certainly making progress, but we are not there yet."<br></p><p>According to Fourie, <em>Our Long Walk to Economic Freedom</em> will appeal to a wide audience.</p><p>“I've tried to make the academic publishing of economic history journals accessible to as wide an audience as possible. I've also infused the more quantitative evidence with anecdotes from history. I think readers will enjoy the new perspectives on histories they thought they knew."<br></p><ul><li><em>Our Long Walk to Economic Freedom</em> is available from bookstores, Takealot, Loot and Amazon Kindle.<br></li></ul><p>​<br></p>
SU maintains steady performance on global university rankings maintains steady performance on global university rankingsCorporate Communication & Marketing / Korporatiewe Kommunikasie & Bemarking [Alec Basson]<p></p><p>Stellenbosch University (SU) is maintaining its steady performance on the global university rankings and consolidating its place among the world's best tertiary institutions. Having appeared on three major university rankings in 2020, it now also features on the 2021/22 list of top 2 000 universities compiled by the <a href=""><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style="">Centre for World University Rankings</strong></a><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style=""> </strong>(CWUR). This latest achievement puts SU among the top 1,4% of universities globally.</p><p>This year, CWUR ranked 19 788 institutions, and those that came out on top made the global 2 000 list. SU is ranked at number 435 – only slightly lower than last year – and is one of 13 South African universities on the list.<br></p><p>The CWUR list, which has been issued annually since 2012, is regarded as the largest academic ranking of universities globally. Tertiary institutions are scored on four criteria – quality of education (25%), alumni employment (25%), quality of faculty (10%) and research performance (40%) – without relying on surveys and universities' own data submissions. <br></p><p>In March this year, SU ranked among the world's top universities on the Times Higher Education Emerging Economies University Rankings as well.<br></p><p>​<br></p>
PERIPERIi U teaches and talks about disaster risk reduction U teaches and talks about disaster risk reductionMujahid Gabier; Periperi U<p>​<strong>The PERIPERI U consortium has had a busy start to 2021 with a month-long online course as well as the launch of a new discussion series.</strong><br></p><p><strong>In February 2021, the PERIPERI U</strong> network, for which Stellenbosch University (SU) provides the secretariat in partnership with the World Bank, hosted an online short course for 45 participants from the Southern African region. The course was aimed at strengthening disaster risk reduction skills and knowledge among SADC-based emerging researchers, early-career practitioners and PhD students with an interest in disasters, risk and resilience.</p><p> The network had designed the course to be presented over four weeks. Participants tuned in for two to three online sessions per week, which were taught using a variety of media and techniques. In line with the global trend in delivering short courses since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting lockdown, participants' time was divided between online teaching and discussion sessions, periods of self-study, and tasks that had to be completed for accreditation purposes. Each week was structured around a specific theme, and sessions were taught by lecturers and other experts from SU (as the host institution), but also included contributions from academics from the PERIPER U consortium.</p><p> Week 1 was spent introducing key concepts and terminology associated with disaster risk reduction. Participants also examined the complex risk environment in Africa and heard why disaster risk reduction and financing were essential. In week 2, the focus shifted to disaster risk financing in the African context, including case studies illustrating the application of financing tools. Week 3 focused on risk assessment, specifically data needs, availability, collection and analysis, as well as tools to support risk analysis, such as geospatial analysis, new and disruptive technologies, social media and big data. The final week was devoted to community-based risk assessment, and how to work with communities in a participatory way to collect location-specific data. Audio-visual materials and case studies were used throughout to illustrate processes and tools.</p><p> <strong>In addition, PERIPERI U </strong>partners have launched a new online discussion series, <em>PERIPERI U Talks</em><strong>, </strong>to discuss disaster risk-related topics and themes with a broader community in Africa and beyond. Online t<em>alks of 40 to 60 minutes each</em> are planned to take place once every two weeks via Zoom and will also be livestreamed via various social media platforms to allow for wide audience engagement. The first session on 8 April 202  featured Dr Ricardo Zapata-Martí from the EU  a designation consultant to EU, senior advisor, PARTICIP Post-Crisis Assessment and Recovery Planning: Support Office of the EU who discussed his recent experiences in assessing the effects and impacts of COVID-19 and provided some personal reflections on lessons learnt from the pandemic.</p><p><br></p><p>For more on upcoming PERIPERI U   Talks sessions and how to get involved, please visit the PERIPERI U website at <a href=""></a>.</p><p>​<br><br></p>
ACS Emerging Scholars Initiative online and on the go Emerging Scholars Initiative online and on the goBrent Abrahams; Coordinator: Emerging Scholars’ Initiative<p>​​​<strong><em>Launched in 2020, the Africa Centre for Scholarship (ACS) Emerging Scholars Initiative (ESI) is a collaborative project that will see several multidisciplinary joint schools hosted with Stellenbosch University's partners from across the African continent.</em></strong></p><p>As a natural extension of the activities first initiated by the Stellenbosch-based African Doctoral Academy (ADA) in 2009, SU International's Africa Centre for Scholarship (ACS) piloted the Joint Schools in Africa programme with a focus on emerging African scholars in 2018. The programme aims to provide affordable, high-quality, competency-based on-site learning at African partner institutions to enable and enhance scholarship development and career training. This, in turn, supports the ACS's objective of contributing to the development of the continent and its people by connecting new and emerging scholars globally and creating opportunities for research and the development of higher education teaching and learning. </p><p>Now, these goals will be further bolstered by the ACS's new Emerging Scholars Initiative (ESI), which was launched in 2020. Building on the joint schools piloted in Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda as well as the partnership with the Periperi U school in Tanzania in 2018, this collaborative project seeks to host 12 joint schools at partner institutions in Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Uganda and Zambia in the next three years . Six of the partner universities are also members of the African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA).</p><p>The ESI will be focusing on two streams – one for PhD students and another for staff members identified as emerging scholars by their own institutions. Courses address research methodology, supervision, academic writing and publishing, as well as generic skills, depending on individual institutions' needs and priorities. The programmes are co-designed by SU facilitators and facilitators from the partner/host institution. </p><p>In this way, the ESI hopes to enhance scholarship among emerging academics on the continent, create opportunities for collaboration within Africa, present teaching opportunities for SU staff, as well as build and strengthen SU's partnerships in Africa to increase mobility between partners. In addition, SU students will be exposed to new environments on the continent, which will build their global citizenship, cross-cultural competence, and potential for future collaboration.</p><p>Of course, the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic compromised the ESI's ability to kick-start its joint schools as planned. Fortunately, however, by drawing on the experiences of the Joint Schools in Africa programme and the flagship ADA, the ESI has managed to transition to a fully online teaching environment. Three virtual joint schools, with Strathmore University (Kenya), the University of Lagos (Nigeria) and the University of Rwanda respectively, are scheduled to take place in the first semester of 2021. <br></p><p>​<br></p>
SU renewable energy research to benefit from large British funding project renewable energy research to benefit from large British funding projectCorporate Communication<p>The African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA) Centre of Excellence (CoE) in Energy at Stellenbosch University (SU) is to benefit from large financial awards from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) made to universities forming part of ARUA. The programme is aimed at tackling global challenges such as disease, poverty, climate change, fragile states and food insecurity.</p><p>The awards being made through this research programme are a key part of UKRI's three-year partnership with ARUA, developed through the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF), to strengthen pan Africa-UK collaborations across all disciplines, mobilise excellence and build robust research ecosystems across Africa.</p><p><a href="">ARUA</a>, launched in 2015, is a network of 16 research intensive African Universities from different countries and different historical backgrounds, with the common vision of enhancing research and graduate training in member universities through a number of channels, including the setting up of Centres of Excellence (CoEs) to be hosted by member universities.</p><p>SU's ARUA CoE in Energy will receive R12 million over a 2-year period. </p><p>Says Dr Neill Goosen of the SU Department of Process Engineering and Director of the ARUA CoE in Energy: "The ARUA CoE in Energy at Stellenbosch University is very pleased to receive this grant. It will allow the Centre to identify and engage talented early career African academics, and help to establish a multidisciplinary African community of collaborators around renewable energy issues. As Africa develops and requires increasing amounts of energy to power its economies and societies, renewable energy will become ever more important. Building a strong community of researchers in the field and encouraging collaboration between disciplines, will ensure that Africa can create the new knowledge required to build its renewable energy sector".</p><p>Adds Prof Wikus van Niekerk, Dean of the SU Faculty of Engineering: "The award is fitting recognition of the extensive expertise and research facilities at Stellenbosch University that will support the ARUA CoE in Energy. The ARUA CoE in Energy will be hosted in the Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Energy Study, arguably the most productive research centre focussing on renewable energy based at a university on the African continent."</p><p>The ARUA CoE in Energy aims to develop renewable energy solutions to address challenges related to African water and food supply systems.</p><p>One part of the project will be to strengthen young African researchers' capabilities through structured courses presented by SU's acclaimed African Doctoral Academy, while the other part will create the opportunity to tackle real world problems through collaborative research projects with SU's research partners. </p><p>Liaise with Dr Neill Goosen, Director of the ARUA CoE in Energy, at <a href=""></a>  ​</p>
Africa needs long-term strategy to beat COVID-19 needs long-term strategy to beat COVID-19Njeri Mwagiru<p>Africa remains vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic and will need a long-term strategy to beat it, writes Dr Njeri Mwagiru from the Institute for Futures Research in an opinion piece for <em>News24</em><strong> </strong>(13 June).<br></p><ul><li>Read the article below or click <a href=""><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0">here</strong></a> for the piece as published.</li></ul><p><strong>Njeri Mwagiru*</strong><br></p><p>Uncertainty, complexity and precipitous disruptions are defining features of our reality. The Covid-19 global health disaster magnifies this, and highlights challenges of decision-making and action, in rapidly changing, dynamic circumstances and contexts of crises.</p><p>There are valuable lessons and insights that may be gained alongside the grief and difficulties from the coronavirus pandemic. The crisis presents opportunities to reorder decision, policy and action priorities, and to re-imagine better futures in the recovery of affected systems.<br></p><p>For these opportunities to positively yield, however, intentional and purposeful alignment by governments, business and society, at community and individual levels, is required.<br></p><p>As a region, Africa is particularly vulnerable to disasters and situated in a precarious position when faced with crises. African countries generally have poor performance on human development index rankings, with high poverty rates, the lowest per capita incomes in the world, ravaging disease burdens, as well as multiple governance tribulations.<br></p><p>On the one hand, despite these hardships, the African region has demonstrated capacity to endure. On the other hand, it is vital that African countries improve their preparedness and resilience to withstand disaster shocks.<br></p><p><strong>Strategic foresight</strong></p><p>The value of strategic foresight to inform forward planning, relevant decision-making, and actions to circumvent as well as manage disasters, is a key learning point emerging from Covid19, with particular relevance for the African region. Strategic foresight applies various methods, tools and techniques to:</p><ul><li>give a long-range and wide scope of issue areas<br></li><li>track and analyse key drivers of trends and events</li><li>identify critical impact factors to monitor</li><li>trace volatile dynamics and uncertainties to signal disruptions</li></ul><p>The purpose of strategic foresight is to offer a sense-making lens in complex, volatile and ambiguous contexts to assist in:<br></p><ul><li>anticipating events and outcomes<br></li><li>highlighting multiple decision-making and action options and implications</li><li>defining short to long term priorities</li></ul><p>As a cross-cutting, high impact and rapidly shifting crisis, Covid-19 is underscoring the importance of understanding systemic complexities, navigating uncertainties and swiftly adapting to change. Further, as characteristic to disasters, fallout from the coronavirus pandemic has devastating systemic and severe impacts for the short to long term. The crisis is therefore also underscoring the importance of mapping multiple possible eventualities to anticipate a range of outcomes in present to future timeframes.</p><p><strong>Long-term investment</strong></p><p>Although during disasters critical issues demand committed attention immediately, attention to and investment for the long term is required to sustainably address and alleviate causal issues and trigger points of crises. As such, there is critical need to address the immediate risks presented by Covid-19 to mitigate against loss of life and destruction of livelihoods. Yet, it is also imperative to address the endemic issues that heighten risks and compound vulnerabilities, particularly within Africa.</p><p>Intentionally combining and complementing the urgency of emergency responses required for the pandemic, with a long-term strategic focus, can add sustainable value to the efforts demanded. Strategic foresight can facilitate necessary tactical responses in the short term, underpinned by visionary intentions for the long-term.<br></p><p>A strategic foresight viewpoint offers on the one hand, insights to guide decisions and actions to prepare for, and respond to events, disruptions and disasters in the short to long term. On the other hand, beyond exigencies of current risks and crises, a futures orientation promotes implementation of sustainable solutions, and enables innovative and creative thinking that can broaden mindsets, motivate shifts in behaviour, and facilitate reconfiguration of outmoded and defective approaches and models.<br></p><p><strong>Covid-19 is here to stay</strong></p><p>In addressing the Covid-19 pandemic in Africa, an immediate disaster response is required that protects against infections and mortality, as well as sustains livelihoods. Simultaneously, long-term responses are needed that translates the continent's capacity to endure, to a capacity to excel.</p><p>Covid-19 infections will continue until a vaccine is found and sufficiently distributed globally. Post-Covid-19 global recovery is projected to require a minimum of two years; predictably longer, compounded by other crisis issues, particularly a sharp global recession. The situation remains volatile with a lack of accurate data on infection spread combined with a lack of information on regional and contextual variations of how the virus will impact different geographical zones.<br></p><p>Uncertainty persists and may heighten as decision and policy makers, diverse actors and multiple interest groups consider the devastation of the global pandemic. The African continent remains extremely vulnerable. To respond effectively in the short term, and to build preparedness and resilience to disasters for the long term, addressing the miasma of multiple challenges facing Africa is critical.<br></p><p>As governments, businesses, communities, individuals mobilise to respond, recover and rebuild in a Covid-19 world, how can concerted efforts critically engage with long-term possibilities?<br></p><p>From a strategic foresight lens, building more disaster-proof futures requires navigating current uncertainties and complexities by applying long-term thinking, agile and forward planning, and functionally and strategically adapting. This may require re-evaluating and redirecting priorities, investments and value allocation, to cope and respond to disasters immediately, while simultaneously building better futures.<br></p><p>Carefully considering available options, implications and trade-offs for the short to long term is key and must underpin necessary decisions and actions to safeguard against exposure to critical vulnerabilities, while protecting, securing and building better futures for the continent and globally.<br></p><p><strong>*</strong><strong>Dr Njeri Mwagiru is a senior futurist at the Institute for Futures Research at the University of Stellenbosch Business School.</strong></p><p><br></p>
Dr Neill Goosen first full-time Director of ARUA Centre of Excellence (CoE) in Energy Neill Goosen first full-time Director of ARUA Centre of Excellence (CoE) in EnergyLiesel Koch<p style="box-sizing:border-box;color:#666666;font-family:arial, helvetica, verdana, sans-serif;background-color:#ffffff;">The first full-time Director of the ARUA Centre of Excellence (CoE) in Energy, Dr Neill Goosen, started his term in January 2020. Dr Goosen says: “Stellenbosch University is part of the African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA) launched in 2015. The ARUA network consists of 16 research intensive African Universities from sub-Saharan Africa, and the network is mobilising to increase the quality and quantity of research done on the continent.<br></p><p style="box-sizing:border-box;color:#666666;font-family:arial, helvetica, verdana, sans-serif;background-color:#ffffff;">“The ARUA CoE in Energy aims to be a multi- and interdisciplinary platform to foster collaboration at Stellenbosch University and with African partners around the theme of renewable energy, but also aims to link other Stellenbosch University (SU) researchers with possible collaborators in the ARUA network,” he added. “At the Centre we aim to investigate how to best integrate renewable energy into African food systems and value chains in order to address the large climate impact of agriculture, and to increase yields and reduce post-harvest losses of agricultural produce. The Centre will do collaborative research with various African partner universities (both ARUA and non-ARUA universities), and also act as a platform to bring together multidisciplinary teams to address some of the most difficult energy-related developmental problems in Africa.”</p><p style="box-sizing:border-box;color:#666666;font-family:arial, helvetica, verdana, sans-serif;background-color:#ffffff;">Participating countries include South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, Senegal, Uganda an Ethiopia.</p><p style="box-sizing:border-box;color:#666666;font-family:arial, helvetica, verdana, sans-serif;background-color:#ffffff;">In order to facilitate research networks, ARUA identified thirteen research areas that are important for the future development of the continent, and awarded Centres of Excellence (CoE) in these fields to partner universities. In the Natural Sciences CoE’s are in Climate Change, Food Security, Non-Communicable Diseases, Materials Development and Nanotechnology, Water Conservation, Energy, and in the Humanities and Social Sciences the CoE’s are in Mobility and Migration, Poverty and Inequality, Unemployment and Skills Development, Notions of Identity, Good Governance, Post-Conflict Societies and Urbanisation and Habitable Cities.​ <a href="">Continue reading...​</a><br></p><p><br></p>