Africa is on the verge of embracing an exciting new paradigm of higher education. It envisions a future of broad-based prosperity, and importantly, a century in which Africans define their own needs and ambitions. The new higher education paradigm strives for excellence across the disciplines—the humanities, mathematics, the sciences, technology—and gives strong emphasis to gender. We saw this paradigm emerge earlier this month at the continent-wide higher education summit in Dakar organized by TrustAfrica and our 12 partners. These stories capture some of the new thinking behind a future we will shape together.
Tendai Murisa, Executive Director, TrustAfrica
Africa has the world’s most youthful continent with approximately 65% of the total population below 35 years, and 35% between the ages of 15 and 35 years. It’s projected that by 2020, three out of four people on the continent are on average 20 years old, and there will be 10 million of them joining the labour market every year. Where the jobs shall come from, how these young people will be housed and fed sufficiently to prevent them from breaking out in frustrated violent protest are issues that are keeping many foresighted leaders and policy makers in Africa awake at night. Solutions will not come easy, but there is one sure thing that nations can do today to make the journey easier – invest more in higher education. If the saying that “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime” has ever been true, it is here as the continent faces this giant challenge.
Charles Onyango-Obbo, Editor, Mail & Guardian Africa
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