Business schools from Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria and South Africa have partnered to form the African Academic Association on Entrepreneurship (AAAE), with the aims of sharing resources, expertise and research to boost entrepreneurship on the continent.
The AAAE will promote and develop academic cooperation between the African business schools, particularly in the areas of entrepreneurship, small business development, innovation and startups.
Partner schools are the School of Business of the American University in Cairo (AUC), Egypt, the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business (UCT GSB), South Africa, the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB), South Africa (USB), Esca Maroc Ecole De Management of Casablanca (ESCA), Morocco, the Lagos Business School (LBS), Nigeria, and Strathmore Business School (SBS) of Nairobi, Kenya.
“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 the School of Business of the AUC in Cairo, which will serve as the coordinator of the collaboration until a structured steering committee has been appointed.
Elseghir said youth unemployment and education are the most pressing challenges facing Africa, with entrepreneurship and innovation widely regarded as key mechanisms in addressing these issues.
“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,” he said.
Sarah-Anne Arnold, manager of the MTN Solution Space at the UCT GSB, 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,” she said.
“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.”
David Wangombe, dean of the Strathmore School of Management and Commerce, said the research and intellectual collaboration in the African entrepreneurship and startups space would enable the exploration of the wealth of diversity and contribute to sustainable development in Africa.
“This takes cognizance of Africa’s special place in the international community,” he said.
The association is looking to expand over the coming months to include more African business schools.