Rabat – Esca Maroc Ecole De Management of Casablanca has signed a novel partnership agreement with a consortium of leading African business schools from four major countries.
The newly formed partnership, called the African Academic Association on Entrepreneurship (AAAE), is committed to sharing resources, expertise, and research to give a much-needed boost to entrepreneurship, job creation, and economic development on the continent of Africa, according to a press release issued by Esca.
According to the same source, AAAE will promote and develop academic cooperation – particularly in the areas of entrepreneurship, small business development, innovation, and start-ups – through research, case study development, the academic exchange of students and faculty as well as academic materials and publications, professional internships, and technical cooperation.
Professor Karim Elseghir, Dean of the School of Business at the American University in Cairo, Egypt (AUC), said that “AAAE will play a key role in leading the continent towards stronger linkages among African business schools focusing on teaching and research in the areas of entrepreneurship and family business as well as further global collaboration.”
AUC will serve as the coordinator of the collaboration until a structured steering committee has been set up. The other five participating business schools are the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business, South Africa (UCT GSB), University of Stellenbosch Business School, South Africa (USB), Esca Maroc Ecole De Management of Casablanca, Morocco (ESCA), The Lagos Business School, Nigeria (LBS), and Strathmore Business School of Nairobi.
Youth unemployment and education are the most pressing challenges the African continent is facing and the inception of the AAAE is an important step towards enhancing entrepreneurship across the African Continent, according to Professor Elseghir,
He said that a sustainable solution to unemployment is a well-directed entrepreneurship ecosystem and a more effective educational system.
He added that he is positive that “AAAE will lead to the enhancement of all aspects of entrepreneurship and family business and will catalyze the development of the continent as a whole.”
According to Sarah-Anne Arnold, Manager of the MTN Solution Space at the UCT GSB who will represent the UCT GSB in the AAAE, promoting the exchange of ideas, experiences and skills is core to building up an entrepreneurship ecosystem on the continent.
“If we want to build our continent then we need to invest in building networks that are broader than any one single institution. The fuel to innovate is created when people with different experiences, realities, passions, and ideas come together with the mandate and support structures to develop new possibilities,” she said.
“Our work in the MTN Solution Space at the UCT GSB is very much geared in this direction and we are excited to be able to share what we are learning through the AAAE.”
“We at Strathmore University wholeheartedly support the engendering and networking of universities under the AAAE. The research and intellectual collaboration in the African entrepreneurship space will enable the exploration of the wealth of our diversity and contribution to sustainable development in Africa. This takes cognizance of Africa’s special place in the international community,” said David Wangombe, Dean of the Strathmore School of Management and Commerce.
“This is the first time that we have set this type of joint ambition for African business schools, each one of them being a leading academic institution in its region. Regardless of our locations, we all share the same belief in the importance of management education, and the need to gather efforts for a continental approach to support entrepreneurship and entrepreneurs,” added Thami Ghorfi, President of ESCA School of Management.
“USB is proud and honoured to be associated with this unique consortium that will enhance the exchange of knowledge, research collaboration and promote entrepreneurial activities that will drive sustainable, social and economic development across the African continent,” explained Samantha Walbrugh-Parsadh from Stellenbosh University.
“This association will enrich entrepreneurship education at all partner schools, and will help students and faculty members to expand their horizons about what is happening in Africa,” concluded Professor Khaled Ismail, Willard Brown Chair for International Business Leadership and Director of the Centre for Entrepreneurship at AUC.
The new association will seek to expand over the coming months to include more African business schools. There is also an explicit objective to invite collaboration between global business schools in the academic study of entrepreneurship. The AAAE will also seek to build bridges between academic and industry knowledge.