Carnegie Corporation of New York

Carnegie Corporation of New York’s Africa program focuses on higher education and libraries. This focus has the larger goal of contributing to human capital development in selected African countries, a goal that is in alignment with Corporation’s overall mission. This work in higher education and libraries is seen as an entry point to help African nations produce the necessary human resources and knowledge that can effectively address the larger issues of development and peace and security in Africa. For over a decade, the Corporation has engaged these issues through a series of systematic grants aimed at strengthening the capacity of eight African universities in five countries: Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda. With investments from Carnegie Corporation worth about US$150 million and working collaboratively with six other private US foundations in what is known as the Partnership for Higher Education In Africa, the Corporation and its partners have contributed significantly to building institutional capacity and also improving the larger terrain of thinking about and managing universities in these countries.

Between 2008 and 2009, as the ten-year university strengthening strategy was winding down, the Corporation embarked on a careful review of its activities, accomplishments, and challenges in the field of higher education in Africa. The result of the review is a reconfigured strategy that is essentially both a logical extension and a deepening of our previous work. Based on priorities identified by a large number of stakeholders in and from the African continent, the focus of the Corporation’s Africa programming was redefined as “developing and retaining the next generation of African academics, university leaders, and university librarians.” Within the new strategy, the term “academic” denotes a university-based scholar or scientist who both conducts research and has teaching responsibilities.

For the range of work on developing and retaining the next generation of academics, three core tactics are being used to accomplish this objective: 1) support four leading African universities to strengthen their capacity to provide high quality postgraduate training and to retain next generation academic staff; 2) support institution-based disciplinary networks to strengthen postgraduate training capacity by promoting the sharing of training resources across universities and to build scholarly and scientific communities that enhance development and retention of next generation academics; and 3) support fellowship programs to fast-track career development of next generation academics and build communities of these fellows and mentors to reduce isolation and provide a nurturing environment. The Corporation proposes to host a meeting of key representatives of the universities and projects that have received, or will soon receive, grants under this strategy.