A partnership with academia

Building knowledge for trade and development


The Zambian Open University (ZAOU) joined the Virtual Institute network today, expanding the number of affiliate university members to 39.

Our first contacts date to 2011, when we were approached by Bonaventure Bowa, then economic policy advisor for the Canadian International Development Agency, with regard to cooperation on the development of a Master's programme in Trade, Development and International Relations. In the course of 2012, the Vi provided curricular advice for this programme, which was approved by ZAOU's Senate in 2013 and launched in January 2014. The university's Vi membership is thus the culmination of long-term cooperation.

ZAOU was established in 2005 with the objective of providing quality education using creative and innovative learning methodologies and contributing to social and economic development of Zambia. With its six schools, including the School of Humanities and Social Sciences and the School of Graduate Studies and Research, ZAOU seeks international recognition as a high-quality higher learning institution.

ZAOU offers a range of degree programmes. These include BAs in development studies and in public administration, an MA in development studies, a BA in business and an MBA, and of course, the above-mentioned MA in Trade, Development and International Relations. The MA comprises courses such as international trade and development; quantitative methods in international trade; international economics; WTO and the multilateral trading system; project management for international development projects; multinational corporations and corporate social responsibility; international trade law; trade, investment and competition policy; trade finance; international trade negotiations; regional integration and South-South cooperation; trade facilitation and logistics. It also includes a simulation of a UN conference and a simulation of a trade negotiation, and requires a research dissertation.

The Vi will cooperate with a large team of ten lecturers, most of them teaching various courses in the MA programme and conducting research in related areas. Bowa, former Ambassador of Zambia to the WTO and the United Nations in Geneva and currently the coordinator of the MA programme, will coordinate the cooperation between ZAOU and the Vi.

ZAOU is ready to share its experience with courses and research on issues affecting Africa, and Zambia’s experience in the extractive sector/mining and the work with multinational corporations.

They expect the Vi membership will offer them opportunities of collaboration in curriculum development, capacity building for their staff and post-graduate students in the areas of trade and development (including through the organization of national and regional workshops), and access to teaching materials and readings for their courses.

For more information, visit ZAOU's profile on the Vi website.