OSAA Knowledge Network of African Experts and Academics
“African academics can be key players in researching and proposing tailored, indigenous, practical, and country specific and evidence-based recommendations and inputs to policy makers,” Cristina Duarte, Under-Secretary-General and Special Adviser on Africa.
Launched on 29 June 2021, the United Nations Office of the Special Adviser on Africa (OSAA) Knowledge Network brings together African academics and experts to contribute their vast knowledge and expertise of the continent’s unique context for Africa’s development.
It is a platform to harness Africa’s intellectual resources and to harness Africa’s abundant intellectual wealth and capacity for the continent’s growth and development.
The Knowledge Network is anchored in the realization that although African scholars and those based at African institutions generate a lot of research on the African continent, not much of it finds its way into the peer-reviewed literature or key regional and global debates that influence policy and development decisions.
The network aims to enhance the state of knowledge about Africa by providing a platform for African scholars, practitioners and experts to present their views and proposals to national and international policymakers. It also aims to build and contribute to Afro-centric communities of experts on critical issues that impact the continent’s development.
Anchored in the strategic agenda that guides the work of OSAA, the Knowledge Network will focus on the Office’s Strategic Agenda’s six clusters, namely: Financing for development; Sustainable development to deliver sustainable peace; Democracy, resilience and human capital; Science, technology and innovation; Industrialization, demographic dividend and the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA); and Sustainable energy and climate change.
The Knowledge Network is the result of recommendations made at an Expert Group Meeting (EGM) that OSAA convened in December 2019 on “The Role of Advocacy and Research in Breaking the Silos: strengthening the nexus approach in Africa.” The EGM recommended that OSAA should develop a network of African researchers to work with the Office on implementing an African-focused research agenda. It proposed that the network should be used as a platform to develop case studies and knowledge products on key issues related to the interrelation between the different aspects of development, with a view to generating and promoting ideas and perspectives on key issues for UN and African policy makers.
The project is funded by the China-UN Peace and Development Fund.
It is anticipated that the network will continue to expand as more academics and experts join it.