chapter  2
15 Pages

The African Virtual University

Reaching sub-Saharan Africa
WithMagdallen N. Juma

The African Virtual University (AVU) has been established at a time when tremendous changes are taking place in the global economy, involving the generation of huge quantities of knowledge, and divergence in growth and capabilities between Africa and the rest of the world. The AVU started as a World Bank pilot project in July 1997, head-quartered in Washington, DC. Many of the courses were vocational in nature, and this has remained a focus of the AVU's activity from the pilot to the present phase. During the second phase of the project, the number of AVU learning centres was increased to 34, located in 17 African countries. The third phase of the project, begun in 2002, is scheduled to last until 2007. AVU staff from Washington, DC relocated to Nairobi, and a substantive Chief Executive Officer was appointed. AVU will be the architect, using information and communication technologies to help create a self-sustaining network for higher education in subsaharan Africa.