Official: AfDB earmarked $964 m to tertiary education over past decade

Official: AfDB earmarked $964 m to tertiary education over past decade
By Marwa Nassar - -

Dr. Beth Dunford, the African Development Bank (AfDB)’s Vice President for Agriculture, Human, and Social Development, said that the institution has committed $964 million to tertiary education and skills development over the past decade.

“The focus has been on strengthening infrastructure for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) and catalyzing private sector investments in skills development and job creation,” Dunford stressed.

She highlighted the Bank’s $80 million support for Nigeria’s Ekiti state Special Economic Zone project and a $23 million investment in Rwanda’s Center of Excellence for Aviation Skills as some of the projects that will help boost economies and create jobs.

Prof. Mohamed Belhocine, African Union Commissioner for Education, Science, Technology, and Innovation, said increased investment in tertiary education requires national, continental, and global action.

He noted that between 2017 and 2019, only seven African countries met the required 6 percent of GDP expenditure on education, with the average standing at around 4 percent of GDP.

Dr. James Mwangi, Group CEO of Equity Holdings, shared how collaboration with tertiary institutions is boosting human resource development across the continent. For example, he said Equity Group has provided scholarships to at least 23,000 students in partnership with the Kenyan government.

Over 10,000 participants registered for the African Development Bank’s hybrid 2024 Annual Meetings, with around 5,000 delegates attending physically.

Experts attending an African Development Bank High-level dialogue in Kenya have urged African nations to intensify efforts to attract private-sector financing to enhance tertiary education and equip the continent’s youth with competitive skills.

During a panel discussion at the Bank’s 2024 Annual Meetings in Nairobi, the experts stressed the importance of political commitment to guarantee returns on private sector investments in education.

Former Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete, Board Chair of the Global Partnership for Education, called for a renewed commitment to increase national education expenditure to harness Africa’s demographic potential as the world’s largest future labor force.

“To build a stronger tertiary education pipeline, we need to build strong foundations with early learning, primary and secondary education to provide a talent pool of trained young people for lifelong learning that will make them thrive,” Kikwete said.

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