UWI to set up institute in South Africa
The University of the West Indies (UWI) last week announced further expansion of its global footprint with an agreement to establish the UWI/Johannesburg Institute for Global African Affairs.
This follows the establishment of the UWI/SUNY (State University of New York) Institute for Leadership and Sustainable Development in New York, and the UWI- China Institute for Software Technology in Suzhou, which were announced within the past year.
Speaking at the signing ceremony where he hosted the Vice Chancellor of the University of Johannesburg, Professor Ihron Rensburg, and his team, UWI Vice Chancellor Sir Hilary Beckles noted that the globalisation of the regional university is consistent with the needs of the region, particularly the creation of a globally educated, connected, and empowered youth. The Caribbean, he said, has a critical role to play in and stands to benefit from the phenomenal global rise of Africa in the next 10 to 20 years. Attracting African investments and general interest in our region has to be a top priority, he added, given that billions of dollars and asset values are leaving Africa annually for locations in Europe and North America, bypassing the Caribbean which fought for African liberation and nation-building.
For his part, Vice Chancellor Rensburg, a highly acclaimed, globally respected and innovative academic leader, noted that as Africa’s economy and population grow to unprecedented historic levels, the continent must functionally integrate the Caribbean Community, which has been its longest and most loyal ally.
South Africa and Nigeria, Africa’s two largest economies, he noted, can and must invest in the Caribbean.
“This business connection will generate the growth which is critically needed on all sides. But as Africa grapples with post-colonial challenges such as science and technology, innovation and entrepreneurship, environmental exposure from mining and climate change, tourism, urbanisation, civil rights and social security, fiscal gap management, terrorism, food security, and popular culture, its natural allies should be the Caribbean (countries) who are also walking these difficult roads,” he argued.
The UWI-Johannesburg Institute for Global African Affairs is intended to be the development bridge between the Caribbean and South Africa, and Africa in general. It will be jointly owned, managed and operated within the two universities. It will conduct joint research, teaching, and public advocacy around the many elements of sustainable economic and social development.
The institute proposes to deliver in the next academic year, a joint master’s degree in global african affairs, which focuses on trade, diplomacy, economic development, cultural industries, and other aspects of 21st century Africa and Caribbean diasporas.