Strengthening research in the humanities and social sciences for the sake of academic research itself – this is the goal of the Pilot African Postgraduate Academy (PAPA) located at the Centre Point Sud in Bamako, Mali. This academy – conceptualized by Professor Elísio Macamo (Basel University) and Professor Mamadou Diawara (Frankfurt University) and funded by the Gerda Henkel Foundation – was inaugurated on 2 March 2020 by the Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research of the Republic of Mali, Professor Mamadou Famanta as well as the German ambassador in Mali, Dr. Dr. Dietrich Fritz Reinhold Pohl. The ceremonial address about „La question de l'Universel et les Etudes Postcoloniales“ was held by Senegalese philosopher Souleymane Bachir Diagne, professor at Columbia University in New York.
The new training program in Mali will enable early career scholars from francophone Africa to engage with fundamental epistemological issues. As such, the academy is a reaction to the strong emphasis on applied science present on the African continent. The focus on development policy hinders the conceptual as well as methodological advancement of the humanities and social sciences. As a result, Africa is in the process of continually falling behind within the scope of global knowledge production.