At the Second Biennial Conference of the African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA) on December 4, 2023, in Nairobi, Mr Sebastian Syme, Ghana’s Country Director of the Institute of Knowledge Development and Productivity (IKDP), emphasised ARUA's role as a transnational intellectual platform.
He urged the alliance, comprising over 350 African researchers, to take the lead in enabling Africa to narrate its own stories, generate indigenous knowledge, and attain true freedom.
During his address to a global audience, Mr Syme challenged ARUA to facilitate the creation of more solutions to address Africa's development goals.
He stressed the importance of Africa producing its own knowledge, highlighting that the continent currently contributes only 1% of global research, which he deemed a crisis for both Africa and the world.
“If Africa can’t tell its own stories and generate its own knowledge, it has no capacity to be free,” Mr Syme asserted.
He underscored the necessity of building Africa's capacity to generate knowledge for discussions on inclusion, development, and the African Renaissance to be meaningful.
The ARUA conference, hosted by the University of Nairobi and sponsored by United Kingdom Research and Innovation in collaboration with the Carnegie Corporation of New York, South Africa’s National Research Foundation, and US-based Clarivate Analytics, drew over 300 delegates, including top management from various African institutions.
Applauding Mr. Syme's call for expanding ARUA's reach to its traditional target audience, the conference attendees, including Ghana’s Minister of Education, acknowledged the importance of the alliance in shaping Africa's narrative.
Leveraging his communications and media expertise, Mr Syme has garnered media support to advance his agenda.
Additionally, his background in logistics and supply chain has led to alliances with international logistics firms to secure funding for driving ARUA's initiatives.