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Some of Africa’s top business schools have formed a partnership to accelerate entrepreneurship, job creation and economic development on the continent.
The African Academic Association on Entrepreneurship (AAAE) will specifically promote and develop academic cooperation through research, case study development, student and faculty exchanges, as well as academic materials and publications.
“AAAE will play a key role in leading the continent towards stronger linkages among African business schools focusing on teaching and research in the areas of entrepreneurship and family business, as well as further global collaboration,” said Professor Karim Elseghir, dean of School of Business of the American University in Cairo, Egypt (AUC).
The AUC will serve as the coordinator of the collaboration until a structured steering committee has been appointed. The other five participating business schools are the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business, South Africa, University of Stellenbosch Business School, South Africa, Esca Maroc Ecole De Management of Casablanca, Morocco, The Lagos Business School, Nigeria, and Strathmore Business School of Nairobi, Kenya.
Entrepreneurship and innovation are widely regarded as key mechanisms to address chronic unemployment and poverty and the inception of the AAAE is an important step towards enhancing entrepreneurship across the continent.
“A sustainable solution to unemployment is a well-directed entrepreneurship ecosystem and a more effective educational system. I am positive that AAAE will lead to the enhancement of all aspects of entrepreneurship and family business and will catalyse the development of the continent as a whole,” Elseghir said.
Sarah-Anne Arnold, manager of the MTN Solution Space at the UCT GSB who will represent the UCT GSB in the AAAE, said promoting the exchange of ideas, experiences and skills is core to building an entrepreneurship ecosystem on the continent:
If we want to build our continent then we need to invest in building networks that are broader than any one single institution. The fuel to innovate is created when people with different experiences, realities, passions and ideas come together with the mandate and support structures to develop new possibilities.
“Our work in the MTN Solution Space at the UCT GSB is very much geared in this direction and we are excited to be able to share what we are learning through the AAAE,” Arnold added.
The association will seek to expand over the coming months to include more African business schools. There is also an explicit objective to invite collaboration between global business schools in the academic study of entrepreneurship. The AAAE will also seek to build bridges between academic and industry knowledge.