Seven African Universities have signed cooperation agreements with various Chinese Universities & think-tanks, aimed at establishing academic collaborations in the fields of humanities and social sciences.
Various representatives of the universities signed the agreements during a two weeks tour of China in June, sponsored by the newly established China-Africa Institute, an initiative of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
The collaborations, will centre on joint research initiatives & academic exchange programs, with the whole initiative being based on China’s blueprint for international economic development targeting Africa and Asia, dubbed the Belt & Road Initiative. The bilateral pacts will be followed by the inking of Memorandums of Understandings on a later date, according to Jairos Kangira, Dean of Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Namibia who was part of the delegation.
Agreements, he said, were made with at least seven Chinese institutions including the China-Africa Institute, China University of International Studies, North-West University of Politics and Law, Communication University of China, University of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, and the International Poverty Reduction Centre.
African universities that signed deals included the University of Namibia, University of Zimbabwe, University of Zambia, University of Botswana, University of Lagos-Nigeria, Makerere University of Uganda, the University of South Africa, the University of Makeni in Sierra Leone and the Open University of Tanzania.
“The universities will sign MoUs later, but Chinese and African universities can start collaborating, and there are many other African universities that have MoUs with their Chinese counterparts already,” Kangira said.
“Since the China-Africa Institute is a creation of the CASS it made sense to start academic collaborations in humanities and social sciences,” Kangira noted.
“But it does not exclude other areas like ICT, Technology and Science since they also affect human beings.”
Activities including joint research collaborations to be funded by the institute in various fields such as agriculture, environment and poverty reduction will be initiated by the institutions. The tour was organised by the China-Africa Institute, which was launched in April of this year.