The Challenges

Students in laboratory with Jefta TabariraAcademic development at Africa University is seriously constrained by the available human and financial resources. Launched in 1992, Agriculture and Natural Resources is AU’s first pure sciences-based faculty or school. It is evolving into a regional center of excellence by providing training, new knowledge and technical assistance to beneficiaries ranging from subsistence farmers to NGOs, multilateral agencies, and multinational corporations.  However, its current capacity will only supports a smattering of these projects.

One more academic unit on Africa University’s master plan has yet to be implemented—the Faculty or School of Science and Technology.  Strategic training and research in disciplines falling under this umbrella are vital to Africa’s development. However, in terms of infrastructure and faculty costs, these disciplines are also among the most expensive in higher education.Students and lecturer working on an experiment in the lab

There is a generalized shortage of professionals, especially those with terminal degrees and the expertise to guide research, innovation, and academic development, in sub-Saharan Africa. As is true elsewhere in the world, African higher education institutions compete with the private sector for the best minds and often lose.

“Brain drain” is a well-documented challenge for higher education institutions on the continent and Africa University is no exception. The large variance in salaries among countries in the region, coupled with inadequate funding for research and local quality of life issues, have made the marketing of expertise across borders immensely attractive to academics.

Added to the above is the impact of economic upheaval, conflict and disease.

The Goal  Academic Chairs