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Prof Sarah Ssali while speaking at Kampala Geopolitics conference Photo: @KasUganda

Experts discuss how to put Africa’s high education on a global scale

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | During the second day of the 5th edition of the Kampala Geopolitics conference, experts discussed how Africa’s high education can compete on a global scale.

While speaking during a panel discussion under the theme: Re-imagining Africa’s high education on a global scale, Prof Sarah Ssali the dean at the School of Women and Gender Studies, Makerere University said that before we ask how much of the African higher education is impacting on the global scale, we need to ask how much of it is impacting on a local scale.

“We have institutions that are located in Africa and apart from people being there being African by colour, they are not African. This is because what we know as formal education is the European kind of education,” she said.

According to Professor, for African Higher institutions to compete globally, they have to be locally relevant and globally competitive.

“This creates a certain tension because being globally competitive means you have to do certain things that are globally relevant. It is rare to find African literature on bookshelves and when you find it, whose need is it responding to?”

“The well-researched countries, happen to have an education system that responds to their local needs. We need to begin thinking locally but again with what knowledge? Whose knowledge are we reading?”

Awel Uwihangye the director of Leo Africa Institute said that universities need to shape mindsets from the perspective of Africa.

Awel Uwihangye (M) ,director of Leo Africa Institute. Photo: @LeOAfricNetwork

He said that although African societies have sustained a certain level of literacy and education, African literature is still lacking.

“We don’t see Makerere writing about issues on how to eradicate poverty, how to deal with climate change. And I think Makerere can do so because it remains one of the top universities in Africa,”

“It is hard to go out there and not find a Ugandan who isn’t qualified to do these things. And most of them are from Makerere,”

Prof. Ssali concluded that until we have an academy that is locally driven, we can’t compete on a global scale.


The Kampala Geopolitics Conference is an academic public event discussing current geopolitical trends and hot topics. Initiated in 2018 by the Embassy of France to Uganda, the concept of the Geopolitics Conference is based on the initiative of IRIS (Institut de Relations Internationales et Stratégiques) which organizes in Nantes, France, every year a global conference to debate major contemporary international relations issues.

After four successful years, the conference has become a regional flagship bearer for Geopolitical debates: by complimenting global conversations with regional and African perspectives, the conference sets the course for balanced discourse and places sustainable development, global peace and international cooperation in the limelight.

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