Over the next week, I’m joining a University of Waterloo delegation on a trip to South Africa and Ghana. Meeting with post-secondary and government leaders, we hope to learn ways to create meaningful partnerships.

As the second-fastest growing region in the world, Africa has a bright future on the horizon. Working with partners across the continent, we are excited to explore ways we can co-create research and teaching opportunities that benefit local communities across Africa and have a global impact.

Four people in front of a mural that reads "There shall be work and security. All shall enjoy equal human rights."

This visit is a chance for the University of Waterloo to listen, learn, share and collaborate. We’re particularly keen on uncovering collaborations in public health, data sciences, energy transitions and sustainability with African research institutions. These institutions have done exceptional work in meeting and exceeding the United Nations Social Development Goals (SDGs) and addressing other challenges such as reconciliation and inclusion. The continent’s growing youth population, up-and-coming economy and hunger for innovative entrepreneurial education make it a promising partner for Waterloo.

The University of Waterloo looks forward to growing our connections in Africa including students, faculty, alumni and research partnerships. As an institution that seeks to lead globally and act locally, our international connections and collaboration are more important than ever.

As we travel across Africa, we will listen and engage with post-secondary institutions, students and governments to better understand how we can work together. We are fortunate to be accompanied by Associate Vice-President, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Anti-Racism Christopher Taylor and Associate Vice President, International Ian Rowlands. Dr. Taylor has traveled across Africa on behalf of Waterloo, and developed strong ties to organizations across the continent. There is much to learn and much to share, and we are eagerly looking forward to the experience.

In the most recent issue of the Waterloo Magazine, I was inspired to read of the work of Folake Owodunni (MBET ’21) and Maame Poku (MBET ’19) who together have established a successful health-tech company that is transforming the way medical emergencies are managed in Africa. Similarly, Public Health and Health Systems Margaret Mutumba’s (PhD '23) MedAtlas is connecting fertility specialists with patients across Africa. Both platforms are now thriving thanks to brilliant concepts and some support from Waterloo’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Together, these social enterprises and visions are transforming health care on the continent.

Waterloo is a community of curious, collaborative, innovative and entrepreneurial problem-solvers and leaders who seek to understand and identify equitable and sustainable solutions for the future of humanity and our planet. Building bridges across the globe provides exciting possibilities. In much the same way our researchers have sought to be on the leading edge of innovation, the University of Waterloo is also committed to being a leader in the areas of decolonization, indigenization, and anti-racism as well as other areas within equity, diversity, and inclusion.