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The academic community in Africa held its annual SAP Academic Community Conference (2021) (Sub-Saharan Africa) from 5 to 8 July. This is the second year this conference was held fully virtual. The sessions ran daily from 12h00 to 14h00 over the 4 conference days.

Delegates from 24 universities in 11 countries registered for the conference. On average 25 individuals attended the sessions daily. It was especially heartening to see that delegates came from a wide range of academic disciplines such as Agricultural Economics, Business, Administration, Computer Science, Education, Engineering, Entrepreneurship, Finance, HR, Information Systems, Internal auditing, Operations, Supply Chain Management and Medicine.

Group Picture of Delegates on the Final Day

On day one, SAP University Alliances (SAP UA) in Africa and a number of related programs were presented, for example SAP Young Thinkers, SAP Next-Gen, SAP Learning Hub Edition for Next-Gen, SAP Skills for Africa, Enterprise Systems Education for Africa (ESEFA), the Centre for Enterprise Research, Partnership and Innovation in Africa (CERPIA) and Startup Guide for African regions.

The keynote speaker was Katharina Schaefer, VP and Global Head of SAP University Alliances, who provided a strategic overview of SAP University Alliances and the various strategic themes pursued by SAP UA. A business perspective was provided by Dumisani Moyo, Head of Mid-market  at SAP Africa. He provided some valuable insights how SAP Africa assists customers in their digital transformation journeys by closing the gap between technology and business.

The members of the Africa Academic Board gave feedback on their respective portfolios, amongst others Industry liaison, funding and curriculum development.

The Academic Competence Centre (ACC) at the University of Cape Town (UCT) covered 2 topics, namely the migration of teaching and learning to SAP S/4 HANA and advanced Analytics.

Stefan Weidner from the University Competence Centre (UCC) at the Otto Von Guericke University (Magdeburg, Germany) provided an overview on the Global Bike model company used for teaching as well as the development of new curriculum on SAP Cloud technologies.

The final day was spent on teaching case studies:

  • Collaboration and co-creation when teaching online by the Hasso Plattner School of Design Thinking at UCT

  • Facilitating Student Team Industry Projects during COVID-19 by Lisa Seymour from Informations Systemas at UCT

  • Remote Assessment methods during Covid-19 - Zarine Cadersaib from the University of Mauritius

The responses from delegates on the conference as a whole were very positive and discussions were found to be relevant to the specific circumstances of the Sub-Saharan region.

This was truly a conference organized by the community for the community. Even though there are still many challenges in the region, the conference took place in a spirt of collaboration and mutual support.