Stellenbosch University
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Inspiring collaboration on the continent
Author: Mmanape Hlungwane ​
Published: 09/03/2022

​SU International's Centre for Collaboration in Africa (CCA) strengthens ties between Stellenbosch University and its partner institutions across Africa through bilateral agreements, diverse thematic research networks, student and staff mobility as well as programme development support. 

The team at the Centre for Collaboration in Africa (CCA), at SU International, are devoted to inspiring high-impact collaboration among African universities and for Stellenbosch University (SU) to cultivate and nurture its relationships with other  African institutions. This is achieved through bilateral partnerships, thematic research networks, student and staff mobility, and programme development support.

The portfolio of 33 bilateral agreements managed by the CCA, most of them with other African universities, provide SU staff, students and postdoctoral fellows with a framework for peer-to-peer collaboration.

Through the Africa Collaboration Grant (ACG), the CCA provides seed-funding for full-time SU staff and postdoctoral fellows to establish or strengthen academic collaboration with one or more partners at institutions elsewhere on the continent. The ACG also supports postgraduate students to attend conferences in other African countries and support for Emerging Scholars to attend workshops. As of 2016, the grant prioritises projects with SU's bilateral partners in Africa, as well as work within the Africa Research Universities Alliance (ARUA).

In pursuit of SU's strategic theme of purposeful partnerships and inclusive networks, the CCA also runs programmes under the Intra-Africa Academic Mobility Scheme. These programmes are aimed at improving scholarships to post-graduate students and support staff exchange  through enhanced mobility between African countries. The scheme is funded by the European Commission and the programme offering is developed and implemented in conjunction with the Association of African Universities.

The Partners Enhancing Resilience for People Exposed to Risk (Periperi U), in turn, is an alliance of 12 African universities who draws on diverse perspectives to support disaster risk reduction research and capacity development across the continent. Established in 2005, Periperi U seeks to enhance human capacity to integrate risk reduction with critical developmental sectors and programmes. The ultimate aim is to build African expertise to address and solve the continent's disaster risk issues. The partnership follows an outreach approach, empowering communities to be custodians of their own knowledge. It also invests strategically in academic programmes and short courses for professionals, and in the development and dissemination of research to guide disaster risk decisions and policymaking in African countries. The CCA is the proud host of the Periperi U secretariat, who engages with major stakeholders – including the United Nations, the World Bank and the African Union – to coordinate the alliance's joint projects on risk mitigation, resilience and sustainability.

The CCA also hosts the SDG/2063 Hub – a sustainable development impact hub that promotes both the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the African Union's Agenda 2063 in international higher education. The SDG/2063 Hub aims to achieve this through raising awareness, creating partnerships, and identifying and strengthening the wider SU community's contribution to both sustainability agendas in Africa and beyond.

The CCA team is no stranger to centres of excellence either. The secretariat of the AUDA-NEPAD Southern African Network of Water Centres of Excellence (AUDA/NEPAD SANWATCE) operates from the CCA. This network of higher education and research institutions conducts high-end scientific research and capacity development in the water and related sectors of the Southern African Development Community (SADC). AUDA-NEPAD SANWATCE received its mandate from the African Union, the African Ministers Council on Science and Technology (AMCOST) and the African Ministers Council on Water (AMCOW) in 2006. Moreover, the AUDA-NEPAD Centre of Excellence in Science, Technology and Innovation (AUDA-NEPAD CoE-STI) was recently established in partnership with SU and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). From the CCA, Stellenbosch University's contribution to the AUDA-NEPAD CoE in STI is facilitated. In essence, the AUDA-NEPAD CoE in STI will leverage the research and science capabilities of the continent, upscaling and commercialising homegrown innovations to respond to African development priorities.

In addition, the CCA supports the activities of thematic faculty-based networks through programmes such as the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM), the Partnership for Africa's Next Generation of Academics (PANGeA) and the African Network for Evidence-to-Action in Disability (AfriNEAD).

The CCA is led by the Director Dr Nico Elema, with a team of professional practitioners. Here, Ms Norma Derby, act as programme manager of Africa Partnership Development with Ms Sue-Vicky Brandt administering the ACG  as well as administering the finances administrator for the office. In addition, Ms Simohn Engelbrecht is the project coordinator of the AUDA-NEPAD CoE-STI with Ms Corina du Toit being the programme manager of the SDG/2063 Hub. In terms of the thematic research networks, Mr Alberto Francioli is the programme manager of the Periperi U secretariat, and Mr Carinus de Kock, managing projects in both Periperi U and AUDA-NEPAD SANWATCE. Capturing of CCA projects on INTERINFO, an integrated information system for internationalisation, is supported by CCA projects assistant Mr Mujahid Gabier. Moreover, interns, Ms Mmanape Hlungwane and Mr Mhlengi Khambule, both SU postgraduate students, will be assisting with all activities for 2022/23.

For more information on Stellenbosch University's partnerships across the African Continent, visit the SU Africa platform.

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Design by: Mmanape Hlungwane