The University of Mpumalanga (UMP) has been admitted as the newest member of the prominent Australia-Africa Universities Forum (AAUN). During the Annual AGM and Australia Group meeting in Perth (4-5 September 2023), UMP and the University of Rwanda were unanimously confirmed as members, increasing the African membership to 15 universities (5 from South Africa), with 10 Australian members. UMP have agreements with Makarere University Business School, the University of Botswana, and the University of Western Sydney; all AAUN members.
Established in 2012, the AAUN’s objectives include the provision of an intelligence and advisory portal for government institutions, the corporate sector and media to access a range of expertise on Africa; development of institutional research partnerships and capacity building and training programmes; and the production of innovative policy solutions through position papers. A major programme of collaborative funding of joint research programmes was launched in 2016, with significant impact in advancing Africa-Australia relations. Funding partners include the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), the National Research Foundation, and other Australian funders.
UMP’s membership of and participation in the AAUN will meaningfully contribute to the Network’s focus of research, internationalisation and capacity building. AAUN’s and UMP’s shared values of excellence, diversity, collaboration and relevance will advance joint commitments of increasing cross-sectoral partnerships, integrating multidisciplinary research, and promoting gender equity and diversity.
UMP international networks are an important component of its strategy to advance excellence, relevance and advancement. The University also plays a prominent role in in inter alia the Association for Commonwealth Universities (ACU), the SA-Sweden University Forum (SASUF), and the Regional University Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM).