To address a known skills and knowledge gap. In an era of accelerated globalization, with critical challenges in agricultural productivity and climate change, Africa finds itself with a severe knowledge and skills deficit. Sub-Saharan Africa has fewer than 83 scientists and engineers per million people, compared to an average of 423 in North Africa, 514 in other developing countries across the world, 783 in Asia (excluding Japan), and 1102 in advanced economies. The focus on graduate education will complement the focus of most universities on the continent, which is currently on undergraduate education. AUST was established to develop graduate programs in areas important for Africa’s growth and industrialisation – energy, with a specific focus on oil and gas engineering, supported by programs in materials science, applied mathematics, /computer science, and environmental science. In all these areas there is a recognised shortage of skilled local manpower, particularly in the Gulf of Guinea oil producing countries where the critical shortage reduces the ability to ensure widespread benefits to their citizens from the oil and gas industry. It has strong industry links, a strong corporate governance structure, and focuses on producing men and women with the entrepreneurial flair and compassionate spirit to help transform local communities and improve the human condition across the African continent.
Conceived by Africans across the continent and from the diaspora, with major support from the World Bank Institute (WBI), AUST was set up to be regional initiative established by the Nelson Mandela Institution (NMI, Inc.) in 2007. Its goal was and remains the creation of world class research and advanced training institutes in relevant scientific and technological disciplines which would serve as regional resources and centres of excellence in sub-Saharan Africa. The Secretariat of the NMI is currently co-located with AUST in Abuja, Nigeria but the NMI centres are to be found evenly spread across the continent, in Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Tanzania and South Africa. They draw students from the whole sub-Saharan region continent and have linkages to elite technical higher education institutions across the globe.
AUST represents a new way of doing things in the higher education sector in Africa. It has strong industry links, a strong corporate governance structure, and focuses on producing men and women with the entrepreneurial flair and compassionate spirit to help transform local communities and improve the human condition across the African continent.