Interwiew in University World News

Pandemic exposes need for new university funding strategy. My interview with Wagdy Sawahel for University World News Africa Edition touched on philanthropy and higher education in Africa and the potential of university foundations. As governments around the world redirect capital spending towards mitigating the socio-economic impact of the pandemic and health sector requirements, universities are bracing themselves against the financial impacts on their own operations.

In the article, we discussed how there was a clear need to examine the creation and development of university foundations in African universities, as well as analyze new opportunities and challenges associated with this “new philanthropic model”. University foundations in developing nations can be alternatives for generating more funding for research and training, encouraging innovation, improving student life, increasing access to higher education, enhancing the host university’s international influence through students and teacher-researcher mobility, the reception and support of foreign students or researchers, and the granting of scholarships.

Several interesting cases of university foundations exist in Africa, such as Ashesi University Foundation in Ghana, the University of the Witwatersrand Foundation in South Africa, University of Cape Town’s US and UK funds, the African Academy of Science Fund in Kenya, and Makerere University Endowment Fund in Uganda. Other examples, like the Africa Science and Technology Endowment Fund, established by African-based multilateral agencies in 2010, offer compelling insight. Francophone universities are also experimenting with these fundraising platforms, as is the case with Fondation de l’Université d’Abomey-Calavi in Benin or Fondation Université Cheikh Anta Diop in Senegal.

Read the article: Pandemic exposes need for new university funding strategy. By Wagdy Sawahel. 14 May 2020. University World News.