The Africa Oxford Initiative (AfOx) has been officially launched at an event hosted by the UK Deputy High Commissioner to Kenya, Susie Kitchens, at her residence in Nairobi.
Formed after extensive consultations among Oxford academics and African colleagues, the Africa Oxford Initiative fosters the establishment of equitable and sustainable collaborations between African Academics and the University of Oxford.
A cross-university platform for academic and research collaborations between the University of Oxford and African researchers and institutions, the Initiative supports the work of universities and research institutions across Africa and facilitates the development of equitable and extensive collaborations between Oxford and African institutions.
Speaking at the launch, Africa Oxford Initiative Director Kevin Marsh said: “I have lived & worked here for 20 years and had the privilege to support Oxford-KEMRI research in Kilifi. In those years I have appreciated the way we look at knowledge and knowledge generation in Kenya.
“One of the reasons we started the Africa Oxford Initiative is that the picture of students and staff in Oxford did not reflect its engagement in Africa despite the long years of collaboration.
“Our commitment to outreach and partnership is critical in enhancing Global citizenship on one part. Another reason was to pull together all the different parts of Oxford to make Africa a strategic part of Oxford.
“Extraordinary transitions are taking place across the continent. Africa will determine the future of the world in the next 30 years.
“The Africa Oxford Initiative is committed to the development and application of knowledge in Africa. We need to connect to researchers, academics, alumni not just staff.”
Programme Co-ordinator Dr Ann Makena went on to explain that “there was a deep need to map out what was happening on the Continent and how the University of Oxford could plug into this. The Africa Oxford Initiative wanted to encourage equitable and sustainable partnerships in Africa.
“Life comes in full circle, we are given opportunities so we can give similar opportunities to others. I was an Oxford alumni that was looking for opportunities in Africa.
“The Africa Oxford Initiative uses a three prong approach: Communication, Collaborations and Capacity Sharing to develop more sustainable partnerships; and enhance the experience of students with the help of alumni to assist with good applications and transitioning into University of Oxford students.”
Higher Education Principal Secretary Professor Micheni Ntiba added: “We require in Africa to train high calibre persons that will transform the continent who will not only train others into great thinkers but can also be innovative.”
At a time when the African continent is poised for decades of strong economic and demographic growth, the University of Oxford has identified huge potential with African universities in increased partnership.
The African Union’s vision 2063 envisages that all African countries will move to middle income status powered by knowledge-based economies. African university graduates and African universities will play a central role. AfOx supports and facilitates partnerships in priority areas including education and research collaboration, scholarships and grants, and academic leadership.