The challenges of doing academic research in Africa

Monday, February 11, 2008

Update to this post (25/09/2015)

My PhD thesis defence was held on 28th August 2015 at 12 noon at the University of Eastern Finland School of Computing in the Louhela Auditorium, Joensuu Science Park in Joensuu, Finland. A summary of my PhD thesis is at

Working as an academic in a university in Africa can be a challenging task. It really requires a spirit of service to a nation, otherwise one easily gets frustrated by the impediments that he faces as he/she tries to discharge his daily duties.

One of the duties of an academic is to conduct research in their area of interest and specialization. Well, finding equipment for doing research is in itself a big huddle in most African universities. Apart from this, there is the daunting task of trying to disseminate your research findings in international conferences.

By this I mean, getting your research paper accepted for some international conference may bring joy to the researcher. BUT, wait a minute, the researcher would have to fund from his own pocket for expenses like conference registration fees, transport, accommodation and other associated costs.

This in itself is a stab in the back of an African researcher, because normally host institutions do not have funds for these expenses. This is because most universities in Africa are funded by their governments and definitely the funding is never enough. Of course its understandable since the governments have "priorities within priorities" in their national budgets. The governments have to fight for national food security, clean water, infrastructure development etc for the masses and funding academic research would never make it into the priority list.

However, this situation might lead others to conclude that there is no academic research being done in Africa which is not necessarily true. Unfortunately, world university rankings take research publications into account. So you better not be surprised to see many African universities not faring well in the rankings!


Clement Nthambazale Nyirenda. Sunday, March 02, 2008 4:43:00 PM  


Great to learn that your three Conference papers have been accepted.You are a researcher.Keep the dream alive.It is not easy for someone to produce papers like that in Africa.Keep working hard. Doors for greater research will surely open up. Mark my words :)

On the other hand, sourcing funds for paper registration and traveling to conferences is a huge problem everywhere but much more in Africa. I would be very glad if you can travel to at least one of those conferences. It will be a huge experience, I tell you. But in the long run, you should focus on journals, though it is very difficult to get your paper accepted. Journal papers have more weight than conference papers especially when you publish with a top journal. The other advantage is that you don't pay registration fees and you do not worry about travel and accommodation.

Clement Nyirenda's blog world

Bennett Kankuzi Sunday, March 02, 2008 5:19:00 PM  

Thanks Clement for the encouragement! Indeed my next goal is to publish the complete research work in a journal. However as you know, it takes a long time to wait for a submitted article to be reviewed and get published in a journal. But still more, I will indeed also try journals.

Cheers and also good luck in your work!


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