AFRICA: Universities urged to play unity role

Professor Abdou Salam Sall, Rector of the University Cheikh Anta Diop in Dakar, Senegal, has urged African universities to play a major role in forming policies for a United States of Africa. Sall was speaking in advance of a symposium at the university organised jointly with the Senegal government.

"It seems to me that in view of globalisation, and the formation of big groupings which characterise it, to become more useful to our society we must work on ways of creating within our universities academic areas devoted to a United States of Africa," said Sall, quoted by the Agence de Presse Sénégalaise of Dakar.

"The United States of Africa will be constructed by politicians but it is the higher education institutions which educate these politicians and, furthermore, all young people who will have the great responsibility of transforming society," he said.

Sall called for "establishment of a doctoral college devoted to the United States of Africa which would be endowed with a scientific committee and branches on all African campuses", reported the agency. This would be multidisciplinary and each university would contribute its research according to its scientific potential. Funding would have to be found for it to achieve its aims and periodical conferences would need to be organised across the continent, said Sall.

"For its development needs and by force, Europe found the means to divide Africa in its favour. Through knowledge and perseverance it is up to us to deconstruct that, to build an entity which matches our aspirations in a globalised world," said Sall.

Some 300 academics, researchers, artists, civil society organisations and political decision-makers from Africa and the diaspora attended the symposium to debate the process towards African unity.