The ASAA resulted from extensive discussions among directors of various centres and institutes of African Studies in Africa as well as other scholars. The consultations led to a colloquium hosted by Professor Lungisile Ntsebeza at the Centre for African Studies (CAS), University of Cape Town, October 1-2, 2012. The colloquium was attended by representatives of many institutions including the University of Ghana (Ghana), Kenyatta University (Kenya), University of Botswana (Botswana), University of Pretoria (South Africa), University of Edwardo Mondlane (Mozambique), University of Cape Town (South Africa), Human Science Research Council (South Africa) and the Alternative Information Development Centre (AIDC), a South African NGO based in Cape Town. At this colloquium an interim working group (IWG) or steering committee was constituted to work on the establishment of an African based structure to promote African Studies on the continent. The ASAA was launched on October 25, 2013 at the International Conference on African Studies organised by the Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana (October 24-26, 2013).
To promote Africa's own specific contributions to the advancement of knowledge about the peoples and cultures of Africa and the Diaspora.
- Promote and support networking and interdisciplinary exchanges among Africanist scholars, centres and institutes of African Studies on the continent.
- Promote research and discussions on topical issues of concern to the wellbeing of Africans.
- Promote and encourage research by African scholars on the continent.
- Promote and encourage Africa-centred education - an informed understanding of Africa through museums, archives, schools, policymakers, NGOs, media, business, learned societies, and other interested communities.
- Promote links with Africans and institutions in Africa and the Diaspora involved and interested in African Studies.
- Encourage partnerships with existing Associations of African Studies and other organizations interested in promoting African affairs.
- Create professional opportunities for its members.