In 2005, efforts by successive Directors of the Institute, and collaborators knowledgeable about the role of Kwame Nkrumah in the Pan Africanist movement and discourse, culminated in a decision by the University of Ghana to establish a Kwame Nkrumah Chair in African Studies. The chair was established with a two-fold aim: 1) to honour Nkrumah for his significant intellectual contributions to African thought, and for his vision and commitment to the liberation and development of Africans on the continent and in the Diaspora; and 2) to promote research, teaching and the public promotion of Africana Studies. The Chair, which was formally launched on Friday, September 21, 2007 at the Institute of African Studies, Kwame Nkrumah Complex, received substantial core funding from Anglogold Ashanti Ltd. Several other corporate and individual donors also provided seed money.

The Kwame Nkrumah Chair in African Studies provides a platform, albeit a modest one, for some of the unfinished business of a renaissance for African peoples to occur. This endowed academic Chair recognises Nkrumah's foresight, personal interest and commitment to academic excellence in Ghana and Africa through the establishment of the Institute of African Studies, the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences (formerly the Ghana Academy of Learning), the National Research Council (now the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research and its associated institutes) and the Encyclopedia Africana project. For Nkrumah, all these formed part of the crucial task of African self-assertion, knowledge and confidence to be harnessed in the interests of African people. Drawing on African intellects in the Diaspora and on the continent, Nkrumah contributed significantly towards the creation of an intellectual and political ferment in Ghana that encapsulated African hopes and resolve to create a better life for African people everywhere and to put Africa on the world map.

Nkrumah also spent time reflecting and writing on the African condition and the impediments to true liberation and development. His books, Toward Colonial Freedom; Autobiography of Kwame Nkrumah; Africa Must Unite; Neo-colonialism the Highest Stage of Imperialism; Consciencism; Class Struggle in Ghana, chronicle his personal intellectual and political journeys to consciousness and political activity, as well the depths of the challenges facing Africa. In his speech, The African Genius, delivered at the formal opening of the Institute in October 1963, Nkrumah charged the Institute to make its own specific contribution to the advancement of knowledge about the peoples and cultures of Africa by re-interpreting and providing new assessments of the factors which make up our past, to inspire our generation and succeeding generations, with a vision of a better future.

The Chair is located at the Institute of African Studies at the University of Ghana, and is currently tenable for a period up to 12 months.