Conceived by Africans across the continent and from the diaspora, with major support from the World Bank Institute (WBI), AUST was established in 2007 as a regional initiative led by the Nelson Mandela Institution (NMI, Inc.). NMI’s goal was and remains the creation of world class research and advanced training institutes in relevant scientific and technological disciplines which would serve as regional resources and centres of excellence in sub-Saharan Africa. The Secretariat is currently hosted in Nigeria but the NMI centres are spread evenly across the continent, in Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Tanzania and South Africa. They draw students from the whole sub-continent and have linkages to elite international technical institutions.
AUST represents a new way of doing things in the higher education sector in Africa. It values its emphasis on academic excellence, autonomy and transparency with independence from political interference as part of its hallmark, yet working in strong partnership with government. It has strong industry links, a strong corporate governance structure, and focuses on producing men and women with the entrepreneurial flair and compassionate spirit to help transform local communities and improve the human condition across the African continent.