The ACCESS Research Pillar aims to shed light on an issue of enormous importance not only for Africa but for the entire world, namely graduate unemployment. Over 60% of Africa’s population is under the age of 25, and at the same time, the African labor market finds itself unable to absorb this amount of potential workers: The question of necessary worker skills, labor market requirements, and the role of universities has never been more pressing. Measured by the sheer magnitude of this problem, the ACCESS Research Pillar is following a multidisciplinary approach to address these broad questions.
Partnering with seven universities from Africa and linking multiple sciences such as economics, IT, geography, anthropology, and history, the ACCESS project brings together a team of innovative scholars from around the world.
Twelve doctoral students from our African partner universities strengthen the research pillar in Leipzig and participate in offerings and courses at the university’s Research Academy.
The research pillars cover a wide range of content, starting from employability to societal expectations of universities and gender equality.
Complementing the PhD program, the ACCESS Research Pillar conducts its own research in the area of the African labor market. Within this, manuals on employment are produced and an online Employability Assessment Tool is developed. With a dedicated and passionate team and a commitment to excellence in research, the Research Pillar is an important component within the ACCESS project.
Employability research aims to enhance the skills and knowledge of graduates to improve their employability prospects. By identifying the needs and expectations of the labor market, this research provides insights into the skills, knowledge, and attributes required for graduates to succeed in their chosen careers. Through this research, universities and policymakers can develop programs and policies that support graduates in acquiring these skills and attributes. Ultimately, the goal of employability research is to increase the number of graduates who are able to secure and maintain employment that aligns with their education and career aspirations.
The ACCESS project provides a unique opportunity for over a dozen PhD candidates from our six core partners to pursue their doctoral research on employability topics. These candidates come to University of Leipzig, Germany to do jointly supervised PhDs, which allows them to benefit from the expertise of both their home and host institutions and multidisciplinary methods coming from the all involved scientific disciplines. Through this international collaboration, the PhD candidates are able to conduct research that has a direct impact on their respective countries’ labor markets and employability outcomes.
Networking is another responsibility we share within the ACCESS project with all the other Pillars, for building and maintaining relationships with relevant stakeholders in academia, industry, and government. For our Pillar the focus is on academia and often takes place at our conferences to share our research findings and outcomes with the scientific community and a wider audience. We look for opportunities to establish collaborations with other institutions to promote knowledge exchange and the development of new research initiatives that support employability.
We share the responsibility inside our project for the dissemination and communication of the project’s findings and outcomes to relevant stakeholders. This includes sharing our research results, best practices, and experiences developed by our pillar with academic and non-academic audiences alike. Therefore, we employ various channels such as our online platforms (wiki), workshops, and events to ensure that the pillars work is widely disseminated and accessible to all. Most prominent through our project publications. The vast network of ACCESS is our main recipient and its growth one of our major goals!
Biography: Emmanuel Agyemang is a Ph.D. Candidate at the Institute of African Studies and Graduate School Global and Area Studies (GSGAS), University of Leipzig. He is a Research Fellow at the Employability Research Unit of the African Center for Career Enhancement and Skills Support (ACCESS) under the International SEPT Program, University of Leipzig. In 2017, Emmanuel received his MSc Global Development and Planning with a Specialization in Development management from the University of Agder, Norway. In 2014, he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (FIRST CLASS HONOURS) in Political Studies and Sociology from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, KNUST-Ghana. Trained as an interdisciplinary scholar, his research lies at the intersection of political science, sociology, and development studies. He combines ethnographic methods with surveys to address development, social and political phenomena.
Current research project: Getting a job in Ghana: Impacts of Social Networks on Graduates Job Attainment in the Ghanaian Labour Market.
Research interests: Social networks, Development, Labor markets
PhD Candidate (African Studies)-University of Leipzig, Germany, 2020-2023
MSc Development Management – University of Agder, Norway, 2015-2017.
BA Political Studies (First Class Honours) – Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, KNUST/Ghana, 2010-2014.
Biography: Having studied Bachelor of Commerce and Master in Business Administration with a specialization in marketing option, I joined the African Centre for Career Enhancement and Skills Support (ACCESS) project research team at Universität Leipzig as a research fellow.
Current research project: Social customer relationship management in universities
Research interests: Business information systems, social media, employment
2012 BA in Commerce
2015 MBA with a focus in marketing
2020 to date: Pursuing Ph.D. Business Information Systems
Biography: Theophile has worked in the education sector in Rwanda for several years, studied Education and is a PhD Candidate at Leipzig University in Germany. Theophile include currently the Higher Education Institutions and Communities.
Current research project: Communities’ Expectations from Higher Education Institutions in their Regions.
Research interests: Higher Education and communities, Educational leadership, Knowledge society, Pedagogy, educational quality & standards, Monitoring & Evaluation
2016 B.Sc. with Education, Chemistry Education
2019 Master of Education
Since 2020 PhD Candidate, Leipzig University
Biography: A Ph.D. student from Tunisia interested in the problem of graduates unemployment. She got a baccalaureate degree in 2012, a Bachelor’s degree in 2015, and graduated in 2017 from Ecole Normale Supérieure of Tunis. She is specialized in Geography and started teaching history and geography, for two years, for secondary level pupils. In 2018, she started doing Master’s research interested in the distribution of water and agricultural development in the Kasserine region. She got her first-year master’s degree from the Tunis Faculty of Humanities and Social Science. In 2020, new interests in social science research started at the University of Leipzig for three years.
Current research project: Graduates unemployment in Tunisia: Case study of Greater Tunis
Research interests: Graduate unemployment, gender discrimination in the labor market, employment policies in Tunisia
2020-2023 Ph.D. Candidate,(Geography institute) – University of Leipzig, Germany
2017-2020 High School Geography and History Teacher, at Hannibal High School in Ariana
2018-2019 Certificate of Achievement in the Competitive Examination of Aggregation, Tunis Faculty of Humanities and Social Science
2017-2018 First-year Master’s degree in Geography, Tunis Faculty of Humanities and Social Science
2015-2017 Certificate of Ecole Normale Supérieure of Tunis, Ecole Normale Supérieure of Tunis
2014-2015 Fundamental license in Geography, Ecole Normale Supérieure of Tunis
Biography: Hermine has a Master’s degree in Business Administration Option Management and Strategic Communication. She is a scholarship holder at the African Centre and Career Enhancement and Skills Support (ACCESS) project since August 2020 and currently enrolled as a PhD Candidate in faculty of Economics and Business Sciences at Leipzig University, Germany.
Current research project: Enhancing graduate employability in Benin: Determining the required competencies for faculty engagement in Service-Learning approach with Businesses
Research interests: Academic Service Learning; University-Business Collaboration; Graduates’ unemployment in Africa; Employability skills Development in Africa.
Bachelor’s in business administration, IRGIB Africa University (BENIN) 2010.
Master’s in business administration (option Management and Strategic Communication), IRGIB Africa University (BENIN), 2015.
PhD Candidate in Economics and Business sciences, Leipzig University (Germany), 2020-2023.
Biography: In 2016, I graduated with a Bachelor degree in Education (Accounting) from Ekiti State University (EKSU), Nigeria. In 2019, I received my M.Ed. in Educational Evaluation from Institute of Education, University of Ibadan, Nigeria. I am a PhD candidate at the Institute of African Studies and the Graduate School of Global and Area Studies (GSGAS) at the University of Leipzig. I am a scholarship holder at the Employability Research project unit of the African Center for Career Enhancement and Skills Support (ACCESS)
Current Research Project: Soft skills exhibition as predictors of female University graduate Employability in Nigeria.
Research Interests: Graduate employability in Africa, education in Africa, female access to opportunities in Africa, labor market in Africa
2012-2016 B. ED in Accounting from Ekiti State University, Nigeria
2018-2019 M. ED in Educational Evaluation, Institute of Education, University of Ibadan, Nigeria.
2020-2023 PhD candidate, Institute of African Studies, University of Leipzig, Germany.
Biography: Christopher Boafo holds an MBA (Small and Medium Business Studies) from Leipzig University. In this university, he works as a Junior Researcher at the International SEPT Competence Center while enrolled as a PhD Student at the Faculty of Economics and Management Science. At SEPT MBA in Small and Medium-sized Enterprise (SME) Development, he teaches aspects of Internationalization of SMEs.
Current Research Project: University business linkages in Ghana
Research Interests: Christopher current research interests are focused on university-business (SME) linkages, informal firms, and enterprise clusters in the context of Africa. Across these fields, he conducts research from the lens of international entrepreneurship and international business competences.
Since July 2020: PhD Student, Faculty of Economics and Management Science, Leipzig University
2016–2018 MBA in Small and Medium Business Studies, Leipzig University
2008–2012 B.A. in Publishing Management, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana
Biography: After completing my bachelor’s degree in Publishing Studies and Entrepreneurship, I joined the Centre for Business Development at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. During this period, I was trained as an expert in entrepreneurship, start-ups development, innovation management and project management. Due to my strong interest in project management and international economic cooperation partnerships, I pursued a master’s degree in Project Management. My thesis focused on the Contributions of International Economic Cooperation Partners to the Implementation of Social Intervention Projects in Ghana. I worked on many projects, including projects financed by the World Bank, European Commission, DANIDA and DAAD, which focused on entrepreneurship, innovations, and job creation.
Current Research Project: “Exploring the Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Gaps; Towards A Framework for Start-Ups Upscaling for Sustainable Graduates Employment in Ghana”. This exploratory study assesses the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Ghana to uncover gaps that hinder start-ups upscaling for sustainable graduates‘ employment. Unemployment is considered a negative element of economic development that affects all countries in varying
proportions, significantly those underdeveloped and those in transition to a market economy (Burlacu et al., 2021). Unemployment is often used to measure the economy’s health (Batu, 2016). Over the last decade, the persistentence of unemployment has become a significant concern for academicians and policymakers. As a developing country, Ghana is no exception to this phenomenon of unemployment challenges. Entrepreneurship and start-ups development has been viewed as the solution to bridge the employment gap with many policies and
programmes from government and international economic cooperation partners to drive this agenda.
Biography: Having studied macroeconomics, International finance and specialized in defense and peace economy at the University of Tunis (ESSECT), I am currently a research fellow and a Ph.D. student at Leipzig University. I have previously been working on the economic costs of terrorism and violent extremism as part of a project conducted by UNDP Tunisia.
Current research project:
My current research project is part of the ACCESS (African Center for Career Enhancement and skills support) employability research unit and focuses on the role of small and medium enterprises in the employment of HEI graduates in Tunisia.
Research interests: Employment issues, defense and peace economy, econometrics
2022: Join PhD, University of Leipzig, Germany
2019: Join PhD (Economic sciences), ESSECT, University of Tunis.
2018 (2 years): Master’s Degree (research) in macroeconomics and international finance, ESSECT, University of Tunis
2015 (3 years): Bachelor’s Degree in Economics, ESSECT, University of Tunis.
Biography: Nasser Msalem is a first-year Ph.D. student – Leipzig university, researching “Unemployment of Tunisian Graduates: The social and solidarity economy as an operational alternative.” He was a MECAM Fellow of the IFG “Inequality and mobility”, working alongside other social science researchers on the complex relationships between rising inequalities and diverse types of mobility. He has worked on the topic of water governance and socio-spatial mobility in the region of Siliana (Northwest of Tunisia).
He has recently finished a research mission with the Contemporary Maghreb Research Institute (IRMC) and participated as a research assistant in two research projects, namely “ProGreS migration” and TARICA “Political and socio-institutional changes in North Africa”.
He finished his Research Masters’ degree in Geography in 2018 at the Faculty of Humanities of the Université de Tunis (FSHST) and gained a BA in Sociology from the same faculty beforehand. Next to his doctoral studies, Nasser is currently the regional coordinator of the organisation I Watch in Siliana and is the founder and president of the El Khir agricultural development group. In 2020 he was the supervisor of the “Socio-political opinion poll” project with Elka consulting.
Current research project: Unemployment of Tunisian Graduates: The social and solidarity economy as an operational alternative.
Biography: Dolly Mavuta earned an MBA from Mount Kenya University in 2016, and worked professionally for several years in the university administration. Her principal interests are related to building relationships between universities and potential start-ups, and developing entrepreneurial capacities amongst students.
Current research project:
Entrepreneurship in the area of University Spinoffs
startups, academic Entrepreneurship
MBA 2016- focus on Strategic Management
Bachelor of Commerce (BCOM) 2013- with a focus in marketing.
Biography: Jean Marc is originally from the Benin Republic, but lived for several years in the United States where he gained a background in computer science and ICT.
Current research project: University Spin-offs / Academic Entrepreneurship Coaching
Research interests: Entrepreneurship, Education, Strategy
MBA – IRGIB Benin-2020
BSC – Information and computer technology-2016
A.S in Computer science- 2013