An ambitious plan for the creation of 1,000 university research chairs a cross Africa to offset and reverse the brain drain was proposed by the International Association of University Presidents.
Based on the Canada research chair programme, established in 2000 to create 2,000 chairs to combat the loss of Canadian academics to the United States, the initiative would cost an estimated $100 million.
"Africa has very serious brain drain problems," Heitor Gurgulino de Souza, Secretary General of the IAUP, told a session at the UNESCO World Higher Education Conference.
"We propose that universities in Africa would themselves select the areas where they need help, not for universities in the rest of the world to tell them where they need help.
"These chairs would be established for five years - if the chair-holder has done good work, it could be repeated for a further five years."
De Souza accepted the costs were high - "these are not small amounts" - the IAUP considers they would have a "dramatic impact on empowering the universities of Africa".
The plan was adopted by representatives of academic staff, students and non-governmental organisations as a recommendation for inclusion in the final communiqué.
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