Africa 2020 Conference: Africa Knows!

The Africa Knows! conference kicked off 2-4 December and will last until 24 February 2021.

Watch the videos of the opening days.

Take a look at the online panel programme until 24 February. For this last month we have decided to make entrance free of charge. Register well before the first session you want to attend. 

The Netherlands has a long history of critical scholarly engagement with Africa and of Africa-oriented teaching, research and policy advice. In recent years, Africa’s universities, research institutions and other knowledge agencies have undergone tremendous change. A growing demand for scientific forms of knowledge and for higher education has pushed many of them to expand rapidly and to engage in a combination of daring initiatives and institutional, scientific, and educational creativity. New knowledge organisations, for example, with ties to religious groups or the private sector, have also been established. ‘Decolonising the academy’ has become a loud call within and beyond the continent. Eurocentrism is increasingly questioned, while calls to ‘look East’ and ‘look inside Africa’ are gaining momentum. The conference will be organised with many partners from Africa and Europe. It is an AEGIS Thematic Conference.  

Read the Africa Knows web dossier.

Take a look at the country profiles of knowledge Institutions in Africa.

Keynote speakers during the opening days

Dr Chika Ezeanya Esiobu
Deconstructing and Reconstructing the African’s Mindset: Strategies, Platforms and Projected Impact

Chika Ezeanya Esiobu holds a PhD in African Studies from Howard University in Washington DC. Dr Ezeanya Esiobu’s intellectual work is centrally located within the conviction that Africa’s indigenous knowledge is key to the continent’s advancement. In 2019, she was recognised as an influential person of African descent under 40. She is the author of Indigenous Knowledge and Education in Africa (Springer: 2019). Dr Chika is currently a visiting honorary professor with the University of Rwanda. Watch her TED Talk ‘How Africa can use its traditional knowledge to make progress’ (2017).

Prof. Erika Kraemer Mbula

Harnessing home-grown innovations for transformative change in Africa

Professor of Economics and Chairholder of the DST/NRF/Newton Fund Trilateral Chair in Transformative Innovation, the Fourth Industrial Revolution and Sustainable Development, at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa. Prof. Kraemer Mbula’s work focuses on alternative development paths for African economies. She specialises in the analysis of innovation systems in connection to equitable development and inclusive development, and has done pioneering work on innovation in the informal sector.


Prof. Sabelo J. Ndlovu-Gatsheni
The Cognitive Empire in Africa: Knowledge, Consciousness, and Epistemic Freedom

Full Professor and Chair of Epistemologies of the Global South with Emphasis on Africa at the University of Bayreuth in Germany. Previously, Prof. Ndlovu-Gatsheni worked as Research Professor and Director of Scholarship at the Department of Leadership and Transformation at the University of South Africa (UNISA). He is the founder of the Africa Decolonial Research Network (ADERN) based at the University of South Africa. In 2007, he was a Visiting Fellow at the African Studies Centre in Leiden, the Netherlands.

Freddy Weima

Freddy Weima is Director-General of Nuffic, the Dutch organisation for internationalisation and international cooperation in education. He took up this position in 2012. Weima studied political science at the University of Amsterdam and the San Francisco State University. He started his career as a political science lecturer at the University of Amsterdam, after which he joined the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. Later on, he also worked at the ministries of Social Affairs and Justice.

Dr Mustapha Mekideche
Inclusive sustainable development in Africa: what breakthrough strategies and what new approaches are needed?
Former vice-president and founding member of the National Economic and Social Council (CNES) of Algeria. Mustapha Mekideche holds a degree in mathematics from the University of Algiers and a doctorate in economics from the University of Grenoble 2. He was a member and then Chairman (2012 to 2017) of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) Panel at the African Union (AU), and an advisor to the Minister of Energy. He was founder and general manager of the national company of petroleum engineering (ENEP). In this capacity he was a founding member and Vice President of UNEP (National Union of Public Entrepreneurs).
Prof. Etienne Ehouan Ehile
The Association of African Universities: reflections on decolonising minds
Prof. Etienne Ehile is the Secretary General of the Association of African Universities (AAU). Prof. Ehile, of Ivorian descent, is a physiologist who obtained his Doctorate in Neurophysiology with honors from the University of Aix Marseille III (France) in 1978. He is the former Director of Cabinet of the Ministry of Health and Public Hygiene of Côte d’Ivoire and former President of Nangui Abrogoua University, Côte d’Ivoire, where he spent two terms of 4 years each ( 2001-2010), before assuming his duties as Secretary General of the Association of African Universities (AAU) in August 2011.

Visit the conference website.

Top photo: Rufus de Vries.

Date, time and location

02 December 2020 to 24 February 2021

Additional information