Lively and productive exchange between DAAD Centers of African Excellence at virtual research fair

Scene in West Africa. Photo by Isimemen Osemwegie.

November 08, 2021.  

ZEF organized and hosted 'Past and Future Research for Inclusive and Sustainable Development at the DAAD Centers of African Excellence’ on September 28-30, 2021.

The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) has run 12 Centers of African Excellence since 2008. ZEF has been leading two of them, the Ghanaian-German Center for Development Studies (GGCDS)since 2008 and the West African Center for Sustainable Rural Transformation (WAC-SRT) since 2017.

This year, the DAAD invited all its 12 Centers of Excellence in Africa to meet, connect and exchange experiences (virtually) and asked ZEF to organize and host this online research fair. ZEF organized the fair in dialogue with representatives of the DAAD section Development Cooperation - Institution Building in Higher Education, which is part of the DAAD Strategic Partnerships and Thematic Networks.

The research fair ‘Past and Future Research for Inclusive and Sustainable Development at the DAAD Centers of African Excellence’ took place on September 28-30, 2021. By organizing this event, DAAD aimed at acquiring a better insight into the research conducted within the Centers of African Excellence. In addition, the goal was to link up the Centers with other DAAD thematic and global initiatives, such as the ClimapAfrica program and the DAAD Global Centersfor Climate and Environment, launched in May 2021 (one of them is run by ZEF, read more here). In addition, two new DAAD centers of African Excellence were introduced during the fair: Promoting Academic Capacities for Sustainable Agricultural Resources Use in West Africa (Pro-RUWA) and Sustainable Operations for Resource Management and Food Supply (SCO).

Around 120 participants from 19 countries joined the research fair, including representatives and alumni from all 12 Centers of African Excellence, executives of the African Excellence Network, and representatives of the DAAD Section for Development Cooperation.

Students and alumni from the 12 Centers of Excellence in Africa presented their research results, current projects, and/or future research interests in the following focus areas: Trajectories of Economic Development, Labor, Migration and Human Trafficking, Climate Change and Rural Transformation, Agricultural Transformation and Food and Nutrition Security, Innovative Methodological Approaches in the Centers of African Excellence and Exploring Education in and out of the Centers of African Excellence.

In the subsequent discussions, participants discussed and reflected on the presentations, looking into options of future research topics for potential synergies and collaborations. For example, presentations on agricultural transformation showed that the African food system could be improved by national and municipal governments when they join new technologies and informality. The discussions also dealt with upcoming initiatives such as the “African-German Network for Research, Innovation and Knowledge Transfer”, an initiative of the German Government within the framework of its Round Table Africa. Overall, the research fair laid a foundation for bottom-up research agendas within the Round Table Africa (an initiative of the German Government). Participants considered the event a great success.



Aline Rose Barbosa Pereira

Aline Rose Barbosa Pereira