Africa needs a sharp increase in spending on higher education say experts. Participants at the African Higher Education Conference took a hard look at issues related to investment in the sector, focusing on the funding requirement for the continent in the 21st century.
Research indicates that 25% of the world’s workforce will live in Africa by 2050. Yet the percentage of national budgets allotted to higher education in Africa stands at 7% compared to 76% in the rest of the world, making funding of the sector a priority issue in the next 10 years, say experts speaking at the conference.
“Africa is spending a billion dollars on African higher education. We need to be spending $50 billion to close the gap.” Said Dr. Patrick Awuah, Founder of Ashesi University of Ghana, who has personally helped raised more the $12 million for African higher education.
According to participants present, Nigeria spends N160 billion in higher education while Senegal which has on average a 32% unemployment rate among its youth, invests approximately 3.7% of its consolidated national budget on higher education.
The World Bank stated that funding of the sector should be linked to relevance as the private sector aligns financing to key economic sectors such as mining. These economic sectors are also the primary employers of graduates from higher education institutions.
“We do not train people to stay at home. We train people to go to work and to be productive.” Said Honourable Amadou Ba, Minister of Economy and Finance in Senegal.
Financing is among the top five higher education priorities identified by the African Union which include: relevant curricula, increased PhD numbers; increased access to higher education, harmonization and financing.
Source: SA – The Good News