Africa needs a sharp increase in spending on Higher Education, say the experts gathered at the African Higher Education Summit


Between 10 and 12 March, politicians, higher education leaders, civil society and scholars discussed the keys for transforming the African higher education sector. Among the 500 attendees, there were heads of State and other dignitaries such as Kofi Annan, the presidents of Rwanda, Kenya and Senegal, and former presidents of other African countries.

The three day continental summit on higher education culminated in the first draft of the declaration and action plan on African higher education, which emphasizes the need to develop a higher education sector capable of driving change through the sustainable development of the continent.

The draft declaration is in response to the needs for the future of higher education in Africa, and urges the development of a “high quality, massive, vibrant, diverse, differentiated, innovative, autonomous and socially responsible higher education sector that will be a driving force to achieving the vision outlined in Agenda 2063 by the African Union with commitment to  a shared strategic framework for inclusive growth and sustainable development and a global strategy to optimize the use of Africa’s resources for the benefit of all Africans; and to produce the human capital required for the continent’s inclusive and sustainable development, democratic citizenship, and repositioning as a major global actor”.

With the goal of developing a common understanding of the higher education sector and contributing to the development of an action plan that will transform higher education in Africa over the next fifty years, the summit focused on the theme of “revitalizing higher education for Africa’s future” and seeking to transform the African higher education sector by gathering policy-makers, university leaders and practitioners in Dakar, Senegal for three days.

The summit’s objectives were to:

Build a constituency for transformation and investment in Africa’s higher education.
Create a shared vision for the future of African higher education.
Harness and highlight exemplary efforts and initiatives in African higher education.
Harness disparate efforts and interventions in African higher education.
Spur and sustain innovation in African higher education.

The African higher education summit was a platform for stakeholders to collectively determine the way forward for the sector within the context that higher education is a major driving force behind improved standards of living, economic development and forging national cohesion.

The Summit was promoted by Trust Africa and co-organized with the following institutions:

The African Union Commission (AUC);
The Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA);
The United Nations Africa Institute for Development and Economic Planning (IDEP);
The Association of African Universities (AAU);
The African Development Bank (AfDB);
The National Research Foundation (NRF) of South Africa;
The Association for Development in African Education (ADEA);
The Carnegie Corporation of New York (CCNY);
The MasterCard Foundation; 
The World Bank.

Find further information please visit the official web site of the summit.


  • UNESCO. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
  • The Catalan Association of Public Universities (ACUP)

Sponsored by

  • Generalitat de Catalunya. Ministry of Business and Employment. Department of Research and Universities
  • Generalitat de Catalunya. Ministry for Foreign Action and Open Government