Since the 1990s, the partnership paradigm has become the predominant framework for organising transnational academic ventures and international development. The global-partnership approach embraces a pluralistic perspective to development and dramatically expands the spectrum of actors and activities that constitute international development cooperation. Another significant shift is the increasing understanding that development is a complex process that requires the intensive production and utilisation of knowledge and cross-boundary partnership building. The growing convergence of the partnership and knowledge paradigms in contemporary development discourses has decisively transformed higher education into a critical stakeholder in promoting international development cooperation, including poverty reduction. The distinctive aim of this paper is to undertake a thematic analysis of a body of recent policy instruments and initiatives in Africa to illustrate and interrogate the shifting discourses of knowledge and partnership and their increasing embeddedness in Africa’s contemporary development politics. The paper reviews the multiple and evolving trajectories and themes that characterise transnational higher education partnerships in Africa. The paper argues that knowledge and partnership are percolating into the core of Africa’s nascent knowledge-based economic dispensation, and diasporic networks are suggested as constituting a potentially symmetric and sustainable partnership paradigm for Africa.
|Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education
|Published - Jan 2013