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E-learning of Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship in the Global Higher Education in Africa

Updated: Mar 4, 2022

E-learning of Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship in the Global Higher Education in Africa during the Pandemic Era

Professor Richard Li-Hua

Many thanks for the large audience in participating EICC Webinar and our distinguished speakers: Ms Elsie Ngowo-Effange-Mbella, Minister Plenipotentiary of Foreign Affairs, Cameroon, Ms Pinar Akkaya, Founder and Managing Director, Signature Communication, UK and Dr Ridha Rejeb who will share their new perspectives on 25th February for

EICC Global Innovation Webinar in 2022 with a focus of E-learning in Africa.

The 21st century is an era of reflection, reconfiguration and re-consideration, an era which calls for great wisdom and great strategy, inclusiveness, to have an open-mind and to be forward-looking. I wrote this in 2016 at UN Chronical when I published my article China Embracing Innovation Leads to the Future. In fact, this statement today during the pandemic is more relevant than ever. My short note will cover and answer the following fundamental questions: Firstly, what is ELITE? What is the relation between ELITE and E-learning in Africa? Secondly, why a favorite topic of international technology transfer in the 80’s last century is re-mentioned now? Thirdly, what can we do about it during the pandemic? What is the instrument? Furthermore, what are action points?

What is ELITE?

ELITE is an acronym of E-Learning of Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship. I presented a Working Paper entitled as ELITE O2O Initiative in Creating an Innovative and Entrepreneurial University in the Global Higher Education in the Ministry of Education (MoE) Conference, Wenzhou, China, 2016. With the outbreak of COVID-19, I strongly felt an opportunity to launch the O2O innovation university. Clearly the pandemic accelerates the distance learning and online delivery but not the essential cause of online learning.

It was during the COVID-19 pandemic that ELITE Innovation College Cambridge (EICC) was consolidated and re-created. Still, its history can be traced back to 2006, when a group of outstanding management scholars launched CAMOT[1] during IAMOT [2]International Conference in Tsinghua University. The four colleges: Innovation College, Technology College, Entrepreneurship College and Global Leadership College that we have established based upon the 15 years of accumulation of global academic resources provide an academic arm of EICC and extra liberal arts curriculum to our degree and non-degree programmes and qualifications that we deliver for the enhancement of student journey which delivers alongside our degree awarding power universities.

We are privileged to be a strategic partner of United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI). Over a decade, we have been successfully organizing international conferences and forums with global universities, including Tsinghua University (CAMOT Conference 2014 Beijing) and University of Cambridge (CAMOT Conference 2016 Cambridge) and University of Law (University President Forum 2021 London) with university presidents, vice chancellors, deans, experts, scholars, government officials and doctoral candidates in the field of higher education participated in the events.

However, there is an opportunity for innovation and experimentation. Innovation has never been as important as for today. There is an opportunity for the global higher education to tackle the digital landscape and identify solutions, new working approaches, innovative services and processes that create positive change in the global higher education. The focus of the moment of time for this Webinar is we would like further to define the context and the geographical area of ELITE in the African continent.

International Technology Transfer works

It is my great honor to met Dr Ridha Rejeb, Founder and President of Tunisian International University twice in the recent months in Zoom meeting room, where he highlighted the significance of joint research and innovation as well as international technology transfer. We both got our PhDs in the UK, which has enabled us to be well connected. I am impressed by the enormous efforts on the establishment of industrial parks on his campuses in Tunis and Niger and inspired by his passion on the promotion of international technology transfer in Africa.

My research passion and interest on international technology transfer started in late 90s last century has always been with me in my academic life. Technology transfer is widely recognized as the acquisition, adaption, and use of technological knowledge by an individual, group or society other than the one who developed the technology. It has been a subject of considerable interest to many groups, such as government policymakers, international funding agencies, business executives, and university presidents/vice chancellors because of the close relationship between technology transfer and economic growth. For Dr Ridha Rejeb and I, we have a strong interest on technology transfer as we are not only concerned with the development of our academic institutions but also the economic growth of the local economy where we are.

In our living memory, following the success of technology transfer in Latin America in the 70s and Southeast Asia in the 80’s, international technology transfer works effectively from developed to the developing countries, for example, China and India are not catch-up but emerging as economic engine of the world economy since the 90s of last century. International technology transfer is an important global development trend and the other is the economic globalization. The economic globalization is one of the three main dimensions of globalization commonly found recently in academic literature, with the two others being political globalization and cultural globalization, as well as the general term of globalization. Economic globalization refers to the widespread international movement of goods, capital, services, technology and information. However, the world economy continues to grow. And the economies of the major OECD countries suffered during the pandemic but are all expected to grow. Emerging economies as a group continue to excel, the signature of the Regional Economic Partnership (RCEP) creates the largest free-trade zone which involves 30 % of the world population and contributes 30% of the world GDP, with China and India in particular remaining major drivers of the global expansion. China and India, according to PwC Report “The World in 2050”, will be the 1st and 2nd largest economies by 2050.

Research evidence show that international technology transfer, a two-way process, not only works from the developed to the developing countries, from the West to the East but also works from North to the South. What is needed urgently is to raise the awareness and necessity of international technology transfer in the African Continent. Therefore, we are calling global attention of international technology transfer and innovation in Africa.

International Technology Transfer in Africa

As we are aware that there is no equitable sharing of global technological advances and their application in raising the welfare of communities or states and there was no forcing basis to bring together developed and developing countriess in development collaboration, though international agencies, including UN, World Bank, OECD, etc. are trying to do so. With unbalanced economic development, Africa must call upon itself to benefit from the window of international technology transfer brought about by the new opportunities and mechanism. In this difficult time, I would like to promote three words: Innovation, leadership, and resilience through which we shape the world in the global higher education. These words support and complement to each other.

My philosophy in this difficult time is that transformational leadership is that which embraces innovation, and can bring about strategic change that delivers growth, effectiveness and sustainability. Leadership roles are those that translate the vision and mission of the universities into deliverable and measurable objectives and goals, develop and implement the corporate strategy and facilitate the execution of the university’s strategy by: 1). building alignment; 2). winning minds by sharing the vision of the organisation and 3). expanding the capabilities of others

Global leadership is a process of influencing the thinking, attitudes and behaviours of a global community to work together synergistically toward a common vision and common goals. We feel that the global leadership plays an important role as we have colleagues from eight different countries working together.

Building and Promotion of the Awareness

Following the signing ceremony of strategic collaboration between TIU and EICC, both institutions are to set up the website of Centre for International Technology Transfer in Africa (CITTA) and for raising the awareness and necessity of technology transfer and innovation in Africa. Furthermore, CITTA is set up both in Cambridge and Tunis online and offline which serves as a launch pad – Hi-tech Incubation Park for the start-ups in African Continent.

A TV Series of programmes (pre-recorded videos) on International Technology Transfer and Embracing Innovation in Africa is to be produced and up-loaded on EICC and TIU websites and YouTube as well as UN Peaceever TV, etc.

Strategic Instruments

EICC/TIU Global University President Forum (GUPF) Global Innovation Webinar (GIW) Series Working with UNAI/CAMOT and Research Centre of Technological Innovation Centre, Tsinghua University, EICC has been successfully organizing annual Global University President Forum (GUPF) since 2008 and Global Innovation Webinar (GIW) series since early 2021, which has become global events in addressing global issues in global higher education with global innovation solutions and attracted high-profile speakers, university presidents/vice chancellors, innovators, social and technology entrepreneurs, Politian and investors, etc. as well as global participants. GUPF and GIW would like to have a focus on

  • Promotion of International Technology Transfer and Innovation in Africa

  • Promotion of Research and Innovation in ITT in Africa

  • Promotion of E-learning – ELITE in Africa

  • Promotion of strategic investment in Africa

We sincerely welcome scholars and researchers, innovators and entrepreneurs who share a great vision with us to join CITTA.

[1] China Association for Management of Technology (CAMOT). [2] International Association for Management of Technology (IAMOT).

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