Addressing the needs of developing countries - in particular Africa - is a cross-cutting issue throughout the work of the United Nations University (UNU). With 15 Institutes and Programmes located around the world, UNU dedicates great efforts to finding research-based solutions to the most pressing problems.
The UNU Priority Africa initiative brings together ideas, expertise, capacities and resources under a collaborative umbrella that supports African development. It further streamlines UNU´s approach to the development in Africa. This is achieved through an information hub that identifies target audiences and takes stock of the rich activities being conducted by UNU in Africa. Furthermore, working collaboratively, UNU organizations, donors and partners create an environment of knowledge sharing.
Ensuring that Africa has co-ownership of its own development is a major element of the initiative. This is achieved through UNU Twin Institutes as well as building networks between African partners.
In the beginning of 2011, Professor Jakob Rhyner , Vice Rector in Europe and Director of the United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS) , and Dr. Elias T. Ayuk , Director of the United Nations University Institute for Natural Resources in Africa (UNU-INRA) , were appointed by UNU Rector Professor Konrad Osterwalder as co-leaders of the Priority Africa initiative . As part of the transition, the United Nations University Vice Rectorate in Europe (UNU-ViE) became the operating entity of the Priority Africa initative.