The combination of open access and our digital networked environment offers huge potential to make the research outputs of humanities and social sciences more Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable (FAIR) and more easily available to the broader community for public benefit. Yet despite growing international policy derivatives, open digital scholarship has encountered significant challenges. This study: • Reviewed key barriers currently hampering the uptake of these policies by diverse university participants (senior university administrators, researchers, librarians, platform providers and developers), policymakers and community users; and • Examined how these have influenced the fields of humanities and social sciences (HASS). This paper discusses research undertaken by the Curtin Open Knowledge Initiative (COKI) and participants during and following an Open Knowledge international workshop held in Mauritius in September 2019. The workshop brought together key experts to explore the role of open knowledge in the creation of equitable and inclusive global knowledge landscapes. This paper explores the role of open access and institutional repositories in knowledge sharing and the dissemination of research output from higher education and research institutions within the African continent. The paper reviews the landscape of research output from the African continent; analyses open access research output, overviews of institutional knowledge sharing positions and the dissemination of research output from Ghana, Rwanda, South Africa and Uganda.