At the World Economic Forum headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, Honoris United Universities, the first and largest network of private higher education institutions in Africa, received the prestigious award for excellence in Adaptive Capacity as part of the New Champions Annual Awards 2022.
In March this year, Honoris was welcomed into the New Champions cohort of the World Economic Forum, a group of 118 dynamic high-growth companies (amongst which only eight are African), that are championing new business models, emerging technologies, and sustainable growth strategies in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Every year, the World Economic Forum New Champions Awards celebrates excellence among its members. This year they looked at how they were creating lasting impact in their industries across three categories: Adaptive Capacity, Sustainable Growth, and Societal Impact. The awards were unveiled during a ceremony as part of the New Champions Annual Retreat, which also welcomed a state of the world address by the forum’s founder and executive chairman, Professor Klaus Schwab.
Adaptive capacity is defined by the World Economic Forum as the combination of both agility and resilience. It is the ability of people, organisations, systems, and institutions to respond to extraordinary external change not only to maintain their position but to adjust and thrive in a new normal. Adaptive capacity for Honoris is not just a reaction to the changing landscape of education post-pandemic but a part of its DNA since its inception in 2017. The transformative network takes a student-centric approach to increase access and quality of higher education in Africa, combining the expertise of its member institutions to prepare students for success in a complex, continuously changing world of work.
As students continue to find new ways to learn amidst the Fourth Industrial Revolution, educators must transform the delivery and curriculum to meet their needs, particularly in the key employability sectors in Africa. Honoris has built several centers of excellence in business education, health and engineering, IT, and recently in digital creative arts, combining the delivery of online and in-person education with state-of-the-art learning environments. The Honoris employability approach includes over 700 partnerships with international employers like Toyota, Orange, Dangote, Adidas, Microsoft, and IBM, supported by 23 physical and digital career centres, contributing to its successful 83% employability rate across Africa. The World Economic Forum is the international organisation for public-private cooperation.
Established in 1971 as a not-for-profit foundation, it is an independent and impartial international organisation that strives to demonstrate entrepreneurship in the global public interest while upholding the highest standards of governance. Akin to the Honoris values of collaborative intelligence and mobile mindsets, the forum believes that progress happens by bringing together people from all walks of life who have the drive and the influence to make positive change. Honoris United Universities Group CEO Dr Jonathan Louw commented, “As we come to the end of another year of continued change across the globe, we are humbled to receive the award for Adaptive Capacity from the World Economic Forum New Champions’ community. 2022 has been an exceptional year for our network, we have graduated more than 20,000 students across our institutions, and our student number grew to over 71,000. This is thanks to the passion and dedication of our people. The World Economic Forum New Champions’ award demonstrates the power and capability of unity in working toward a common goal, and as we head towards a new year, we recognise that our adaptive capacity as people and as an organisation will continue to be crucial in our efforts to transform the continent.”
Julia Devos, head of New Champions at the World Economic Forum, added, “Our community of New Champions gather mission driven companies that are transforming the future. We are on a mission to expand this group of inspired leaders to create additional shared value for society. Honoris United Universities is a perfect example and we congratulate them again for their New Champions’ award 2022.”
By focusing on expansion in both new and existing markets, alongside strategic partnerships with the most innovative and groundbreaking organisations in the education sector, Honoris will continue its Education for Impact mission by continuously seizing and transforming new opportunities.