The DBSA/KMA and NEPAD Secretariat will provide financial support for a research project on the development of the framework, which will build on work done by other institutions subscribing to an African renaissance.
The DBSA/KMA has pledged to release R1 million towards the partial funding of the research.
The second phase of the project will include raising additional funding for investigating the availability of resources and what is on the ground within the five regions, and how the identified centres will be sustained.
The broad objective is to develop Africa to become a region free of poverty that experiences sustainable growth and development through key institutional, technical, knowledge and governance capabilities and mechanisms.
At the same time the aim is to raise the profile of knowledge as a key factor in the development of appropriate solutions for Africa’s challenges and problems.
The signing of the partnership agreement follows a proposal for developing a conceptual framework and criteria for African centres of excellence as a collaborative project between the Centre for African Renaissance Studies (CARS) at the University of South Africa, the NEPAD Secretariat and DBSA/KMA.
In the proposal it is suggested that CARS serve as the lead agency in establishing the envisaged five centres of excellence in Africa.
It is further agreed that such a task should solicit the input of African governments, intellectuals, local and international bodies within Africa and the Diaspora.
Objectives of the proposal To establish a database of African intellectuals in Africa and the Diaspora.
To define the understanding of what centres of excellence are within the African context.
To identify what Africa’s knowledge, challenges and needs and gaps are at present.
To develop the parameters for mainstreaming the indigenous knowledge systems into the centres of excellence.
To identify and adopt relevant strategies from existing centres of excellence as a basis for defining the African centres.
To establish the ownership/buy in of the stakeholders and partners.
To determine the criteria/parameters for locating, monitoring and evaluating the establishment and performance of the centres of excellence.
To provide an informed projection of the cost of establishing and sustaining the African centres of excellence. Resource and financial analysis will include, among other things, detailed budgeting and financial implications for African governments and local and external partners.
Five-phase approach Qualitative and quantitative methods will be applied in analysing the centres of excellence concept by establishing the need, gaps and challenges facing Africa today.
The proposal is divided into three parts : Identification of experts (who they are, where they are, and what is their expertise) ; developing a framework for identification of institutions of excellence, building on work done by other institutions including KMA, and ensuring buy-in throughout the continent ; and identifying the institutions of excellence.
The process will be in five phases.
Phase 1 : Concluding a contractual agreement between CARS and the NEPAD Secretariat
Phase 2 : Establishing a data base of African experts
Phase 3 : Research and defining centres of excellence
Phase 4 : Bench marking existing centres of excellence in Africa and elsewhere
Phase 5 : Deciding on ownership issue
A study of some existing centres of excellence will be made with a view to determining what is suitable for Africa.
It is envisaged that five centres will be established within the five regions of Africa : East, West, Central, North and South. Each will be specialising in different aspects and will reflect the diversity, needs and knowledge capacity building needs in Africa.
Ideally, the research-based framework will take at least 28 months starting June 2007. A preliminary report will be ready by November 2007 and a document will be tabled for discussion in Oct/Nov, 2007.
The Centre for African Renaissance Studies is an academic structure of the University of South Africa whose mandate is to develop and infuse the paradigm of African renaissance into the academic programmes of the university. It is a graduate school that spearheads new and innovative research, teaching, publishing and society driven outreach capacity building programmes. It is well networked within Africa and internationally and has a variety of intellectuals in different disciplines and across disciplines. Source : NEPAD News, april 13, 2007