Message from ESDA Chair

ESDA Chair

Professor Peter M.F. Mbithi

Vice Chancellor of the University of Nairobi

Welcome to ESDA  – a community of like-minded individuals, groups and institutions with shared commitment to the promotion of innovation and capacity-building for sustainable development in Africa. I am Peter M. F. Mbithi, Vice Chancellor of the University of Nairobi. I have assumed ESDA Chair since August 2016, succeeding from the founding Chair, Prof. Stephen Simukanga,    former Vice Chancellor of the University of Zambia. As a leader of African higher education I am keenly aware of both the enormity and criticality of sustainable development challenges Africa is facing today. As clearly articulated by African Union’s 2063 Agenda: The Africa We Want, we are all engaged in a major structural transformation of the continent through achievement of long-term and wide-spread growth which is at the same time ‘more inclusive’, ‘more green’ and ‘more resilient’. In practical terms, this means continued innovative efforts to solve pressing local and global challenges. Higher education sector should stand at the forefront of these efforts, transmitting the accumulated knowledge to the next generation through education, creating new knowledge through basic and applied research, and disseminating and utilizing developed knowledge through public and corporate service engagements. As individual universities we should compete to produce quality graduates in diverse fields of study to meet the expectations of the market and to excel in all these functions. Such competition for excellence is necessary but not sufficient. Universities must also collaborate as enterprising partners to have a greater impact on the society and to achieve public recognition for their role. The collaborative logic should be most compelling for capacity building in support of the next generation of professionals and leaders for Africa’s sustainable development. ESDA is an embodiment of this collaborative thinking for African universities.