Africa University: Advancing Resilient and Sustainable University-Business Partnerships

AU Vice Chancellor engaged in partnership conversations with Diane Willkens, a US-based Board Member of Corporate Council on Africa

Africa University recently instituted its continental advancement strategy by attending the 12th U.S.-Africa Business Summit on June 18 - 21, 2019 in Maputo, Mozambique.  The Summit which brought together more than 1,000 U.S. and African private sector executives, international investors, 9 heads of state, senior government officials and multilateral stakeholders was organised by the Corporate Council on Africa and the Government of Mozambique.

Africa University Vice Chancellor, Professor Munashe Furusa and Director Advancement and Public Affairs, Stephene Chikozho, represented the university at the Summit themed, “Advancing a Resilient and Sustainable U.S.-Africa Partnership.”
In line with the University’s strategic focus on human capital development, research, innovation, business enterprise development, capacity building and leadership training in the continent, Africa University attended the Summit to:

  • ENGAGE on key sectors including resource mobilisation, agribusiness, energy, health, infrastructure, ICT, government, business, finance and more;
  • NETWORK with key corporate sector and government decision makers;
  • EXPLORE new business opportunities and meet potential business partners; and
  • ADVOCATE to shape effective University-Industry business, trade and investment policies


In his assessment of the Summit, Professor Furusa observed that the event provided a perfect opportunity for Africa University to zealously advocate for increased Higher Education and commercial engagement and partnerships in Africa.

Just as important as engagement in these critical areas, the Summit provided exceptional opportunities for Africa University to increase its continental footprint and global reach through establishing sound partnerships with business and industry partners.

Africa University was able initiate synergies with the Southern Africa Trade and Investment Hub, Corporate Council on Africa, CEO Africa Roundtable, Johnson & Johnson, ZimTrade, Development Finance International, Power Africa, Prosper Africa, VISA, International Air Transport Association (IATA), GE Africa, Zimbabwe Tourism Authority, Standard Bank, Barclays Bank, 1847 Philanthropic, Planet Aid, Get to know Africa Corporation, Central Africa Development, and others.

Key amongst the deliverables of such partnerships is development of an MoU between Africa University and the CEO Africa Roundtable which now guides a series of initiatives that will transform business in Africa through innovation, research and training.

The innovation initiatives to bring cutting-edge solutions and inventions to business and industry are offered through the Africa University i5 hub, while AU’s vibrant research-intensive colleges support the corporate sector with applied and industry-ready research.

The Africa University Business Academy which has already carved its niche in the corporate and civic society sectors in Zimbabwe and beyond through resilient and sustainable tailor-made training and capacity building programmes in the areas of management development, ethical leadership, change management, resource mobilization, ICTs, business, finance and more shall use its practical expertise and experience in those and other areas for a continental roll-out.

AU’s contributions in panel discussions through the Vice Chancellor, Professor Furusa, proved extremely popular reflecting the immense impact of the Africa University brand as well as attesting to the relevance of the research and enterprise development initiatives that were major talking points of the Summit.

In that regard, Africa University demonstrated its capacity to partner the corporate and government sectors in the current paradigm shift where Africa is transitioning from aid-based to trade-based development initiatives.

Africa University made a lasting impression on global conversations on the negative impact of the drastic decrease in funding on socially driven organisations in Africa and proffered recommendations to achieve tangible and sustainable social impacts while encouraging high value, cost effective business ventures through the active use of technology.

A classic example of the active use of technology from Africa University in the conversations was that of online undergraduate and post graduate degree programmes offered by the institution since 2018. This initiative, the first to be accredited by the Zimbabwe Council for Higher Education (ZIMCHE), is a good solution to corporate and government sector executives due to increased national and continental access, flexibility, affordability, convenience, quality, value for money and security.

Through the 12th U.S.-Africa Business Summit, Africa University consolidated its advancement strategy, increased its brand equity and reaffirmed its market position a leading pan African institution of Higher learning in Africa to more than 1000 participants, 500 companies, 45 countries and 9 heads of states.


Stephene Chikozho
Director-Advancement & Public Affairs