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.
Established in 2021 as a pan-African initiative in response to the adverse impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Africa’s higher education sector, the Forum is a global forum for intellectual debate, knowledge exchange and networking. It is a fully independent not-for-profit platform with no ties to any ideology or political interest group.
Although as a region Africa has defied global predictions of a high prevalence and consequently a higher COVID-19-related mortality rate, 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. Notably, unlike in other parts of the world, weak technological infrastructures prevented most African universities from staying open, consequently cutting off millions of students from accessing higher education at a crucial stage in their life development. Even before COVID-19, there have been serious questions about quality, funding, and the employability of African graduates, and why many are languishing 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 accurately estimated or fully known.
But we believe that through innovative curricula, stronger governance systems, addressing capacity gaps, and commercialisation of their intellectual assets, African universities can bounce back to empower their students, contribute to economic recovery and prosperity in the region. Inspired by this belief, and a firm understanding that these challenges can be reversed when people come together and pull their resources, 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 use techno-pedagogy and entrepreneurship to support African universities to innovate, raise standards and improve their graduates’ employability. Our primary aim is to create opportunities and empower 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 an African Credit Transfer System (ACTS) as part of harmonizing higher education qualification. The issue of accessibility is getting a serious attention through the emergence of a new era of innovative universities centered on addressing Africa’s unique challenges with a focus on entrepreneurship and graduate employability. There is also an unrelenting commitment towards raising quality through partnerships and curricula review benchmarked against international standards. African countries are now becoming more stable and predictable places to live, work and do business.
Meanwhile, only about 3million of estimated 12million graduates from African universities that enter the labour market every year obtain formal jobs. The rest are either unemployed or underemployed in dead-end informal jobs. This affects the region’s productivity and human capital. To compound matters, many graduates from African universities struggle to compete with their global counterparts in a rapidly globalizing world in which technological advances from artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, to IoT and Big Data are disrupting our lives in unpredictably complex ways.
Across these challenges, the most damaging for the region is the gap between labour market needs and the skills attained by graduates from African universities. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that majority of African universities are struggling to use modern technologies to provide students with the training and skills to unlock their full potentials in a 4IR world. With these challenges, it is easy to be pessimistic about the state of higher education in Africa. Yet, in many ways there have been remarkable successes in the sector that one can be proud of.
But inequality in access, low rate of enrolment and graduate skills gaps continue to cast a shadow over the growth prospects of higher education. Each of these challenges and associated 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 technological innovation and change.
As an independent pan-African initiative for University-Industry partnership and with no ideological interest, the Forum for Innovation in African Universities provides a motivating platform for all higher education stakeholders – academia, business, government, and the third sector – to come together to tackle these challenges.
Paschal Anosike (PhD, SFHEA FRSA)
Paschal’s priority is to strengthen the capacity of African universities to deliver high-quality education. He holds joint professorships in knowledge exchange and entrepreneurship at UK and Nigerian universities having worked with over 30 organisations to develop start-up ecosystems. He has advised the Africa Union, EU, British Council, GIZ, Commonwealth/UNCTAD, and UNDP and currently advises the London-based global think-tank – The Legatum Institute (LI). Through his award-winning work, he was among the pioneers of the publication of the Africa Prosperity Index (API) report launched at the 2019 World Economic Forum (WEF) on Africa. In 2020, he was elected a Fellow of The Royal Society of Arts. Paschal is published in top-tier scientific journals. His latest work is Entrepreneurship and Sustainable Development in Africa, Sage Publishing, London.
Klaus Schneider (MBA, StB)
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.
Professor Agbor is a Distinguished Professor of African and Commonwealth Literature and the elected Commissioner (2017-2021) 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.
She was the Focal Point for Pan African University; the Conference of Ministers of Education in Africa (COMEDAF), the Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers and most of all UNESCO. She has headed different regional and international bodies including the Pan-African Institute for Development (IPED)/African Observatory for Education. She is the Vice Chair and Standing Committee member of the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning. She is a graduate of the University of Ibadan, Nigeria and a Fulbright Scholar – In Residence, University of Scranton, Pennsylvania, USA.
Prof. Sarah Anyang
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 Ph.D. degrees in Science Education in 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 won the prestigious 1992 UNESCO Prize for the Communication of Science. He has won several international gold medals in science, environmental and computer education.
He has served as team leader of several quality assurance projects involving UNESCO, the African Union, the World Bank, the Association of African Universities and the Global University Network for Innovation (GUNI-Africa).
He was concurrently the Chairman of the Council of four Nigerian universities.
He is currently the Chairman of the Council of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), He is the Executive Chairman, Okebukola Science Foundation. 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.
Prof. Peter Okebukola
Elder Urum Kalu “UK” Eke, Mfr (born 20 November 1964) was the Group Managing Director, FBN Holdings Plc, a position from which he retired in December 2021.
Prior to this appointment, he was an executive director with First Bank of Nigeria Limited. Before this, he had worked with Diamond Bank Plc. where he rose to become an executive director. He began his career in 1986 with Deloitte Haskins & Sells International, a firm of chartered accountants.
A recipient of the Nigerian National Order of Merit (NNOM), Member of the Order of the Federal Republic (Mfr), UK, as he is more commonly known, is also a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria.
Urum Kalu ‘UK’ Eke
Born on the 21st of December, 1960, Sir Joseph Ari is a holder of the West African School Certificate. He holds a Diploma in Broadcast Journalism, a Post Graduate Diploma in Journalism and Post Graduate Diploma in Management. He also holds a degree in Law (LL B (Hons.), a Master’s Degree in Law LLM, and a Master’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 was a news broadcaster at the Plateau Broadcasting Corporation. He had a stint with the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria Lagos as a Newscaster and subsequently moved over to the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) as a News Editor/Caster. His working career took him to the National Insurance Corporation of Nigeria (NICON) where he was the Public Relations Manager, North.
Sir Joseph Ari was also 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. Thereafter, he was reassigned to the Plateau Radio Television Corporation (PRTVC), as General Manager.
Sir Ari completed the cycle of his public service at the state level before his appointment at the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) where he served as the Director-General of different departments before his appointment as the Director General of the Organization.
Sir Joseph N. Ari
Professor 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).
Prof. Aderemi Atayero
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.
Pervaiz held a number of senior positions in the UK before coming to Malaysia. He has published extensively in international journals and is a regular keynote speaker with a number of academic awards for his research. He has served as editor and sits on the editorial boards of several international journals.
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 Economic Planning Unit (EPU), Ministry of International Trade (MITI) and APEC Secretariat.
Prof. Pervaiz Ahmed