U-M’s African Studies Center and the Office of the Provost are pleased to present Africa Week 2021, a virtual conference highlighting the ongoing engagements of U-M with Africa and providing a forum for identifying strategic directions to accelerate partnerships and Africa's growth.

The conference and co-located events bring together thought leaders in higher education, industry, and government for a series of discussions on the key issues and opportunities that will shape Africa in the coming decades. The conference is free and open to the public, including students. Registration is required to receive the Zoom links for the individual conversations and panels. We hope that the morning-only scheduling in Ann Arbor will enable those in African time zones to join us (all times below are in EST). Visit umafricaweek.org to register and learn about the speakers and presentations.

In conjunction with Africa Week, the University of Michigan Press, with whom ASC partners on the publication of the African Perspectives book series, is providing a 30% discount on all African Studies books till 2/28. Visit the Books on African Studies page to check out the new titles and get the discount code: mailchi.mp/umich/africaweek

In addition to the Africa Week events, ASC is also collaborating with the Stearns Collection of Musical Instruments to present a lecture by Professor Emeritus Lester Monts, on musical instruments from Liberia, on Tue, Feb 16, 8 pm (EST). To watch and register, visit myumi.ch/yK51W

Africa Week Virtual Conference Schedule (in Eastern Standard Time)


8:30 - 8:40 am Opening Remarks, Mark Schlissel (U-M President)

8:40 - 9:20 am Fireside Chat, Susan Collins (U-M) and Vera Songwe (Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa)

9:30 - 10:45 am Panel, Fintech in the African Context, moderated by Adrienne Harris (U-M), with Viola Llewellyn (Co-Founder & President of Ovamba Solutions, Inc.), Nick Hughes (Founder, M-PESA and Co-founder, M-KOPA), Njuguna Ndung'u (Former Governor, Central Bank of Kenya), Kunle Olukotun (Stanford University, Co-founder of Migo)


8:30 - 8:40 am Opening Remarks, Valeria Bertacco (U-M)

8:40 - 9:20 am Fireside Chat, Alec Gallimore (U-M) and Patrick Awuah (President, Ashesi University, Ghana)

9:30 - 10:45 am Panel, The Role of Computing in Africa’s Economic Future, moderated by Valeria Bertacco (U-M), with Rediet Abebe (Founder of Black in AI), Fitsum Andargie (Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia, and UMAPS alum), Jelani Nelson (Founder of AddisCoder)

11 am - 12:15 pm Panel, The Future of Transportation in Africa: Evolutionary or Revolutionary, moderated by Jerome Lynch (U-M), with Edward T. Hightower (Motoring Ventures), Titus Kimbowa (Zembo–Zero Emission Motorcycle Boda), Dhiren Vanmali (Executive Director, Southern Africa for Ford Motor Company)

12:15 - 12:20 pm Closing, Laura Beny (U-M)


8:30 - 8:40 am Opening Remarks, Andries Coetzee (U-M)

8:40 - 9:20 am Fireside Chat, Joseph Kolars (U-M) and Lia Tadesse (Minister of Health, Ethiopia) 

9:30 - 10:45 am Panel, Africa-US Exchanges: Lessons and Successful Models, moderated by  Andries Coetzee (U-M), with Ashley Collier (The Mastercard Foundation), Henrike Florusbosch, (U-M),  Moses Osiru (Partnership for Skills in Applied Sciences, Engineering and Technology, PASET), Rocky Oteng (U-M)

11 am - 12:15 pm Panel, Reclaiming and Repatriating African Heritage, moderated by Susan D. Page (U-M), with Kelly Askew (U-M), Paul Conway (U-M), Derek Peterson (U-M), Ciraj Rassool (University of Western Cape, and Board Member for District 6 Museum), Chao Tayiana Maina (Co-founder, Museum of British Colonialism)

12:15 - 12:20 pm Closing: Mary Gallagher (U-M)


8 – 9:20 am Panel, African/US STEM Collaborations: The Importance of Networks, moderated by Anne Petersen (U-M), with Brian Arbic (U-M),  Aline Cotel (U-M), Charles Ichoku (Howard University), George Philander (Princeton University and University of Cape Town professor emeritus), Edem Mahu (University of Ghana)

10 - 11 am Panel, Distributing the COVID-19 Vaccine in Africa: Challenges and Opportunities for Collaboration, moderated by Tadataka Yamada (Venture partner on the Life Sciences team), with Paul Farmer (Harvard University), Senait Fisseha (Director of International Programs, Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation)

11 am - 12:20 pm Panel, The Business of Healthcare in Africa, moderated by Paul Clyde (U-M), Brook Fekadu (Founder and CEO, Pioneer Diagnostics Center), with Chemu Lang'at (Regional Head - Africa, Medtronic), Vinesh Pramlall (Head of New Business Development, Labotec), Mark Warren (Country General Manager, ConvaTec)


8 – 9:20 am Panel, War Dramas in Cross-Cultural Contexts: Ethiopia, DRC, and USA, moderated by Anita Gonzalez (U-M), with Zerihun Birehanu (Addis Ababa University, and UMAPS alum), Manyazewal Endashaw (Director of Ethiopian National Theater), Mbala Nkanga (U-M)

9:30 - 10:50 am Panel, Data Science for Better Health in Africa, co-moderated by John Ayanian (U-M) and Massy Mutumba (U-M), with Amina Abubakar Aly (Aga Khan University, Kenya), Girma Taye Aweke (College of Health Sciences, Addis Ababa University), Akbar Waljee (U-M), Pam Jagger (U-M)

11 am - 12:20 pm Panel, Covid-19: Countering Disinformation, moderated by Desnor Chigumba (U-M, PhD Candidate in Chemical Biology, President of African Graduate Student Association and co-host of Taking Into Account podcast)



J. Henrike Florusbosch (jflorusb@umich.edu) and Andries Coetzee (coetzee@umich.edu)

The African Studies Center (ASC) at the University of Michigan provides strategic guidance and coordination for Africa-related education, research, and training activities on campus, and promotes opportunities for collaboration with African partners on the continent. ASC is a member of the International Institute.