The decision to create the AAU was taken at a meeting of Heads of African Institutions of Higher Education held for this purpose at the University of Khartoum, Sudan in September 1963. The International Association of Universities assisted in planning and making administrative arrangements for this meeting and was invited to cooperate with the Interim Committee that was set up to draft a constitution for the AAU.
A founding conference attended by the Heads or Senior representatives of 34 African Universities was held at Mohammed V University in Rabat, Morocco on 12th November 1967. At this meeting the constitution was adopted and the first officers and members of the AAU Executive Board were elected.
The second General Conference of the AAU was held at Lovanium University in Kinshasa in November 1969 and new officers and a new Executive Board were elected to take office in 1970. The Government of Ghana subsequently won the bid to host the AAU – and the AAU Secretariat has been hosted in Ghana since 1970. With an initial membership of 34, the Association now has over 360 members, cutting across the language and other divides.
The Association has provided a platform for research, reflection, consultation, debates, co-operation and collaboration on issues pertaining to higher education. It has provided a range of services to its members and served African higher education in a variety of ways. It has established and increased its role in the five sub-regions of Africa and is thus able, at reasonable notice, to assemble teams of experts in relevant fields from the sub-regions.
The Association possesses a unique capacity to convene higher education institutional leaders and policy-makers from all parts of the continent and on key issues related to African higher education and development, as demonstrated in the WTO/GATS workshop held in Ghana in April 2004. In addition, the Association provides leadership in the identification of emerging issues and support for debating them and facilitating appropriate follow-up action by its members, partners and other stakeholders.
To be the leading advocate for higher education in Africa, with the capacity to provide support for its member institutions in meeting national, continental and global needs.
To enhance the quality and relevance of higher education in Africa and strengthen its contribution to Africa’s development.
Where is The Association of African Universities (AAU)