Wits to launch continent’s second US-Africa centre.AFRICA’s second Centre for the Study of the United States (CSUS) will be launched at Wits University this year.

The centre is expected to be officially launched in early March. The first centre is in Morocco. The establishment of the research centre has been led by Wits Vice- Principal, Professor Tawana Kupe, in collaboration with the University of the Witwatersrand Fund (Wits Fund) based in the United States.

Professor Gilbert Khadiagala, the proposed director of the centre and a senior lecturer in international relations, said that they hoped the centre could facilitate a better understanding of the role of the US in Africa.

“For many years the US has increased its presence in Africa but we in Africa have not systematically studied the US, so it is actually an opportunity for a centre like this to bring together a lot of the knowledge and expertise about the US in Africa. The other objective is to get academic exchanges between African institutions and the US,” he says. He hopes they can bring together scholars across the continent to research and share their knowledge.

The centre intends to build on the existing relationship between Wits and the US such as the exchange programmes with US universities. The programmes offered will range from public health, higher education and foreign policy.
Khadiagala adds that although Africa’s relationship with the US is uncertain under President Donald Trump, “This is the right time to do it. We have to seize the opportunity to showcase why this relationship is beneficial. He hopes that through the programmes and work at the centre, some negative misconceptions about the role of the US in Africa can be challenged.

The centre aims to raise funds that will allow it to offer academic and training programmes in the future in addition to the public dialogues and discussions it will be hosting.