chapter  3
13 Pages

National Universities and the Regional Dimension: a Dilemma?

ByGERALD WANGENGE-OUMA AND SAMUEL NEBA FONGWA

African universities have not escaped these demands by regional and national governments to play a pivotal role in the development of their regions. Historically, African universities were established as developmental institutions – their primary mandate being to assist the new postcolonial polities to modernize, expedite person-power formation and also address basic existential challenges faced by the local populations (Assié-Lumumba, 2006; Court,

1980; Ajayi et al., 1996; Yesufu, 1973; Wangenge-Ouma, 2008; Mamdani, 2008). More specically, according to Sawyerr (2005, p. 2):

[T]he new universities were to help the new [African] nations build up their capacity to develop and manage their resources, alleviate the poverty of the majority of their people, and close the gap between them and the developed world.