Six Foundations Commit $200 Million to Higher Education in Africa in Next
Five Years - An Expansion of 2000 Commitment
Today, Friday, September 16, 2005, I was very happy to be at the Ford
Foundation, where UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, joined by three African
presidents, witnessed a huge commitment of $200 million to higher education in Africa by
six of America's largest foundations, a commitment which is in addition to an
earlier one in 2000 where four of the foundations had committed $150 million.
The three African presidents who were present at the announcement, included
John Kufuor of Ghana, Mwai Kibaki of Kenya, and Armando Guebuza of Mozambique.
Kofi Annan and the African presidents expressed appreciation for the
foundations' commitment and generosity, and pledged their unflinching support to the
expected goals of the award.
New York, NY, September 16, 2005- Characterizing African universities as
necessary contributors to the continent's future development, governance and
peace, United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan joined the presidents of six of
the largest U.S. foundations in announcing a $200 million commitment by the
foundations over the next five years to further strengthen higher education in
seven African nations.
The investment by the foundations includes more than $5 million that will
enable a consortium of African universities to obtain eight times the amount of
Internet bandwidth available to them as recently as two years ago. The cost
will be less than one-third the rate paid by most African institutions. The
consortium has entered into an agreement with Intelsat, a global satellite
operator, to provide the bandwidth.
The announcement represents a significant renewal of support for African
universities from the Partnership for Higher Education in Africa, which was
originally launched in 2000 by Carnegie Corporation of New York, and the Ford,
MacArthur and Rockefeller Foundations. Over the past five years, the foundations
contributed more than $150 million to build core capacity and support special
initiatives at universities in six nations: Ghana, Mozambique, Nigeria, South
Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda. Kenya has joined as the seventh nation this year.
The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
have now joined the partnership as contributors.
"This is an outstanding display of global citizenship," said Annan. "We need
to train teachers and build up research capacity; we need to strengthen open
universities and distance learning programmes; and we need to ensure that
African institutions have access to the latest technologies."
"Our partnership began five years ago with the recognition that a quiet
revolution was taking place in Africa making universities once again a source of
innovation, training and scholarship," said Susan V. Berresford, president of
the Ford Foundation. "This effort expands our commitment to the renaissance of
African higher education and to its importance in Africa's future
Significant Progress in Five Years
The partner foundations and other development institutions have witnessed
considerable progress within universities participating in the partnership, in
ways that bear directly on development and economic progress in their respective
"African universities that combine excellent, world-class education with
programs of practical training are vital to progress, and it is heartening to see
them emerge," said Jonathan Fanton, president of the MacArthur Foundation.
"Technology is an essential bridge to that progress and development."
The bandwidth initiative supported by the foundations will initially allow
several universities to share 93,000 kilobits per second of Internet bandwidth
each month, paying an average cost of $2.33 per kbps per month. Most African
universities currently pay an average of $7.30 per kbps per month. As recently
as two years ago, the total bandwidth available to them was only 12,000 kbps.
Several other examples highlight the progress of African universities in
* In Nigeria, the University of Ibadan has moved from having only 25
dial-up links to the Internet five years ago to a campus-wide system of 1,000
networked computers using wired and wireless technologies. Sixty percent of all
university operations will be online by 2007, up from zero in 2001.
* At South Africa's University of KwaZulu-Natal, the African Center for
Crop Improvement has established a five-year Ph.D. program that trains plant
breeders to develop new varieties of crops in hopes of bolstering the continent's
homegrown food supply
* To advance the field of higher education in Africa, partnership support
led to the founding of the Journal of Higher Education in Africa providing a
forum for debate, critique, and analysis of issues facing African higher
* To catapult more women into leadership roles, over $10 million in
academic scholarships have been awarded to almost 1,000 students attending
universities in four African countries: Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda.
* In Uganda, Makerere University has worked with the government to
implement hands-on programs to increase the quantity and quality of trained public
servants, including a novel master's program in public health aimed at supplying
the country's districts with new health systems managers.
Commenting on the progress underway at many African universities, Judith
Rodin, president of the Rockefeller Foundation said, "Knowledge, innovation and
talent are critical currencies needed to thrive in today's interconnected world,
and Africa's universities are increasingly looked upon to generate the ideas
and talent necessary to address Africa's challenges, on Africa's terms."
"The Partnership for Higher Education in Africa represents our commitment to
Africa's next generation of leaders, who deserve an exemplary education to
prepare them to help set the course for their nations' futures," said Vartan
Gregorian, president of Carnegie Corporation. "We expect the universities in
which we invest to become the foundation of a higher education network that will
serve all of Africa for decades to come."
The Partnership for Higher Education in Africa is a joint effort of Carnegie
Corporation of New York, and the Ford, MacArthur, Rockefeller, William and
Flora Hewlett and the Andrew W. Mellon foundations to build the capacity of
African universities and the field of higher education in seven African countries:
Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda. Each of
the four founding partners (Carnegie, Ford, Rockefeller and MacArthur) had
significant grantmaking programs in Africa prior to forming the partnership.
Working together has broadened their effort and impact.