African Heads of State renew commitment to promote Higher Education

January 24th, 2023

Johannesburg – June 25th, 2015

On March 10 – 12, 2015 over five hundred delegates from Africa and beyond gathered in Dakar, Senegal, for the first summit on Africa’s higher education. The summit was a remarkable platform for defining an agenda for the African Higher Education Sector, and ended with a Declaration and Action Plan on revitalizing higher education for Africa’s future.

The Dakar Declaration and Action Plan sets out the key recommendations and action points agreed to at the Summit. It also charts the course for key steps to take on the way forward and the role of each stakeholder in the sector.

Meeting with TrustAfrica on May 29th, 2015 the Minister of Higher Education and Research of Senegal, Professor Mary Teuw Niane, said “the AHES was a huge success and has generated a lot of positive feedback from across the continent”. There have been some encouraging developments since the summit ended on March 12th, 2015.

The African Union Commission (AUC) appealed to the Government of Senegal to add the Summit Declaration to the agenda of the AU Heads of State summit in June 2015 in Johannesburg, South Africa. And President Macky Sall of Senegal agreed to be the flag bearer for Africa’s Higher Education.

Following this, the summit Declaration and Action Plan was tabled at the closed session of the 25th Assembly of the African Union in Johannesburg, South Africa.  Based on this, the Assembly took a decision to prioritise higher education in Africa’s development agenda. The decision reads:

“…On the outcomes of the Dakar Summit on Higher Education, the Assembly requested the AU Commission to take the lead in building the African common space for higher education and research. It requested member states to, among others, strengthen their support and investment in higher education in order to develop a critical mass of high level intellectual capital, and promote youth employability through entrepreneurship skills and innovation.

Assembly also committed to the establishment of a team of ten Heads of State and Government (two from each geographic region) as African champions of education, science and technology and endorsed President Macky Sall of Senegal as the first coordinator of the group champions”.

This is a major accomplishment in the political space for higher education on the continent. It is a bold step forward that paves the way for more concerted and targeted efforts with an even broader range of stakeholders.  As TrustAfrica, we work closely with the government of Senegal to support the team of ten Heads of State that will be leading the efforts to revitalise the African higher education sector.

The decision of the Assembly of the African Heads of State is the first step towards the implementation of the summit Declaration and Action Plan.

Our goal is that all the stakeholders at continental and national levels will take concrete measures to translate it into actionable policy.  Towards this end, we will be working with African governments to develop National Plans for Higher Education. 

In the light of this, TrustAfrica will be meeting with the Ministries of Higher Education, Research and Technology with a view of collaborating in developing such plans for the countries. The first of such meetings is going to be with the Minister of Education of Ghana and the leadership of the National Council of Tertiary Education.

With the success of the summit, our appreciation to the summit’s partners and the participants is boundless, for this would not have been possible without their support.

Click here to visit Summit website.


–        Final Declaration and Action Plan of the AHES

–        Press Release from the AU

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