Forum for Innovation in African Universities

About us

Our Mission: Forum for Innovation in African Universities (FIAU) is the foremost knowledge exchange platform for University-Industry Partnerships in Africa. FIAU attracts and engages leaders of universities, businesses, government agencies and the third sector to influence and shape higher education agendas in Africa.

The FIAU is a global forum for intellectual debate, knowledge exchange and networking. Established in 2021 in response to the adverse effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on Africa’s higher education sector, it is a fully independent not-for-profit platform with no ties to any political ideology or interest group.

Although Africa defied global predictions of a higher prevalence of COVID-19-related mortality, it however bears the brunt of the socio-economic impact of the disease. COVID-19 has undone several decades of social and economic progress and left lasting scars in every sector across the region. Unlike in other parts of the world, weak technological infrastructures forced most African universities to cut off millions of students from accessing learning at a crucial stage in their life development. Even before COVID-19, there have been serious questions about the quality, funding, and employability of African graduates. Many graduates languish in dead-end informal jobs from which there seems no escape. The negative impacts of these challenges and the human capital loss to Africa may never be fully known.

But we believe that by addressing capacity gaps, including strengthening governance and technological systems, African universities can bounce back by integrating technology into learning. Inspired by this belief and our firm understanding that these challenges can be reversed, we founded the Forum for Innovation in African Universities

At the heart of our mission is working closely with highly reputable global and regional partners to pull resources to support African universities to innovate, raise standards and improve their graduates’ employability. Our primary aim is to create opportunities that enable African universities to build more resilient and accessible learning infrastructures using the power of technology and innovation.

Much has changed in Africa following the Dakar 2015 Summit on Higher Education. There has been a concrete move towards establishing a harmonised African Credit Transfer System (ACTS). The issue of accessibility is getting a serious attention through the emergence of a new era of innovative universities with a focus on entrepreneurship and graduate employability. There is also an unrelenting commitment towards raising quality through curricula review.

Meanwhile, about 25% of estimated 12 million graduates from African universities obtain formal jobs every year. The rest are either unemployed or underemployed. To compound matters, many graduates struggle to compete with their global counterparts in a rapidly changing world in which technological advances are disrupting our lives in unpredictably complex ways. Across these challenges, the most damaging is the gap between labour market needs and the skills attained by graduates. 

With these challenges, it is easy to be pessimistic about the state of Africa’s higher education. Yet, in many ways, there have been remarkable achievements in the sector that one can be proud of. But inequality in access, low enrolment rate and graduate skills gaps continue to cast a shadow over the sector. Each of these challenges and related consequences require a new set of impetus. One with the dynamism and capacity to bring together people who have the power to push forward ideas, build trust, and mobilize resources to drive a bold vision of innovation and change.

As an independent not-for-profit pan-African initiative for accelerating higher education innovation through University-Industry partnerships, the FIAU provides a motivating platform for all higher education stakeholders – academia, business, government, and the third sector – to come together to tackle these challenges.

Founders

Paschal Anosike (PhD, SFHEA FRSA)

Founder

Paschal’s priority is to eliminate capacity issues facing Africa’s higher education sector. He holds joint professorships in knowledge exchange and entrepreneurship at UK and Nigerian universities and has worked with over 30 organisations to develop their innovation and start-up ecosystems. He has consulted for and advised the African Union, the EU, GIZ and UNDP. He currently advises the London-based global think-tank – The Legatum Institute (LI) and was among the pioneers of the publication of the Africa Prosperity Index (API) report launched in 2019 at the World Economic Forum. In 2020, he was elected a Fellow of The Royal Society of Arts. Paschal is published in top-tier scientific journals. His latest work: Entrepreneurship and Sustainable Development in Africa won the 2022 Sage Social Justice Global Book Award.

Klaus Schneider (MBA, StB)

Cofounder

Klaus is the Executive Partner of Schneider & Schäffer, a tax consulting company based in Bavaria, Germany that works with all sizes of private companies and wealthy individuals. The consulting services aim to optimize financial and fiscal issues leading to success. Experienced financial consultant and strategic business adviser and founder, Klaus have consulted more than a thousand companies from entrepreneurial start-ups to publicly listed multinational groups of companies. He founded and co-founded more than twenty business organisations in various industries like real estate, construction, sales services, renewable energy and the IT sector.

Advisory Board

Her Excellency, Prof. Sarah Agbor

African Union Commissioner, 2017-2022. (Guest of Honour)

Sir Joseph Ntung Ari (KSM)

DG/CEO, Industrial Training Fund, Nigeria.

Professor Pervaiz Ahmed

Director, Institute of Global Strategy and Competitiveness, Sunway University, Malaysia.

Professor Peter Okebukola (OFR)

Director, UNESCO IACIU, Abuja. (Moderator)

Elder Urum Kalu Eke

 Group MD, First Bank of Nigeria Holdings, Lagos, Nigeria (2016-2021)

Professor Aderemi Atayero

5th Vice-Chancellor, Covenant University, Nigeria

Professor Agbor is a Distinguished Professor of African and Commonwealth Literature and the elected Commissioner (2017-2022) Department for Education, Science and Technology and Innovation (ESTI) of the African Union (AU) and former Deputy Vice-Chancellor, of Research and External Cooperation with the Business World (DVC-RCB) at the University of Bamenda, Cameroon.

She is currently the AU Global Consultant at Policy Renaissance and the Board Chair, at Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE), Nairobi, Kenya. She has served as the Inspector of Academic Affairs No.1 at the Ministry of Higher Education Cameroon with strategic responsibility for the evaluation and monitoring of Higher Education Institutions in Cameroon.

Sir Joseph Ari holds a degree in Law (LL B (Hons.), a Masters’s Degree in Law LLM, and Masters’s Degree in Business Administration (MBA). His working career spans a period of over two decades, covering different spheres of disciplines and human endeavour.

Sir Ari started broadcasting from scratch at the Plateau Broadcasting Corporation as a News Reporter/Presenter; had a stint with the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria Lagos as a Newscaster. He moved to the Nigerian Television Authority as a News Editor/Caster. He worked at the National Insurance Corporation of Nigeria,(NICON) as the Public Relations Manager, North. He was the Director of Press and Public Affairs to two Governors of Plateau State before his appointment as the Sole Administrator and later General Manager of the Plateau Publishing Company, (PPC) Jos. He is the DG/CEO, of the Industrial Training Fund, Nigeria.

Professor Pervaiz K Ahmed is a Distinguished Research Professor at Sunway University. He is a management scholar exploring innovation and strategic dynamics of change. His outlook on management is coloured by moral responsibility, particularly ethics of care and sustainability.

He has extensive experience working with and advising blue chip companies and public sector organizations, such as Unilever, Ford, AT&T, NCR, British Telecommunications, and the NHS in Europe. He has also been involved with corporate clients in Asia, as well as government agencies such as the Singapore National Productivity Council. In recent times Pervaiz has been involved with the Islamic Development Bank as well as the Government of Dubai’s Public Sector Innovation and Improvement Initiative and also served on projects commissioned by the Economic Planning Unit (EPU), Ministry of International Trade (MITI) and APEC Secretariat.

Peter Okebukola is a Distinguished Professor of science and computer education at Lagos State University, Nigeria. He had his higher education at the University of Ibadan where he obtained his Bachelor’s degree in 1973 followed by Master’s and PhD degrees in Science Education at the same university.

He had specialised science and technology training at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.), and Harvard University, both in Cambridge, USA. He is a Fellow of the Science Association of Nigeria (SAN), Fellow and President of the Nigerian Association for Environmental Education and Fellow and past President of the Science Teachers Association of Nigeria (STAN). He was Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (2001-2006). He has been awarded a number of honorary D.Sc degrees. He is the recipient of the National Honour of the Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic- OFR.

Urum Kalu Eke, a graduate of Political Science, University of Lagos, is a seasoned banker with over 30 years of work experience in the financial services industry. Before his appointment as Group Managing Director of FBN Holdings Plc in 2016, he served as the Executive Director, Public Sector South for First Bank of Nigeria Plc. He was on the Board of the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) and served as the Chairman of the Externally Managed Investments Committee.

He is a fellow of reputable professional institutes such as the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria; the Institute of Management Consultants of Nigeria; the Institute of Directors and the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, alluding to his illustrious experience and capacity in corporate governance.

Aderemi Atayero is a professor of Communication Engineering. He served as the 5th Vice Chancellor of Covenant University, Ota. He is recognised for contemporary multidisciplinary academic research with a special focus on wireless/mobile communications. Engineer Atayero is a Fellow of various professional associations, as well as a COREN Registered Engineer. He is on the editorial board of several international scientific and engineering Journals. Atayero is a WACREN Ambassador for Nigeria and a member of the TETFund Research and Development Standing Committee (RDSC).

Ezinne Chidi Anosike is the Head, of Human Capital Business Partnering for Personal and Business Banking at Stanbic IBTC Bank, Nigeria. She is a versatile, intuitive Human Resource Professional with about 17 years of work experience of which twelve years have been in Human Resource Management which spreads across HR specialized roles; Learning & Development, Talent Resourcing, Management & Development, Leadership Development / Team Building & Training.

A member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management Nigeria as well as the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development, United Kingdom. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Lagos, Nigeria and a Master’s in Human Resource Management from the University of Wolverhampton West Midlands, United Kingdom.