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World Bank
Africa | Sub-Saharan Africa
2012-03-19T10:02:29Z | 2012-03-19T10:02:29Z | 2009

This report argues that if a growth surge is to evolve into a virtuous spiral that stimulates even higher and sustained growth rates in a substantial number of African countries, a significant increase in investment in physical and human capital is needed over an extended period. This report stresses that there is an urgent need for countries in Sub-Sahara Africa to acquire the capabilities that will spawn new industries that create more productive jobs, multiple linkages, and a wider range of exports. This volume lucidly spells out the case for more knowledge-intensive growth, which demands increasing attention to secondary and, most important, postsecondary education. Despite rising enrollment in tertiary-level institutions, the numbers of students graduating are pitifully small. And despite reform efforts, the quality remains well below par. However, change for the better is in the air, and improved economic prospects provide both the resources and the opportunity to forge ahead. The need for urgency, the pathways to skills-based development, and the policies that African countries can marshal in order to generate tertiary-level skills are all given their due in this thoughtful and timely book. Against a backdrop of changed circumstances, the World Bank recognizes the need to update its understanding of tertiary education in Africa, defines its current views on this matter, and offers technical support on this topic to its collaborating governments and development partners. The present study seeks to fulfill this purpose. It provides a justification for African and donor investments in tertiary education within the context of a globally competitive knowledge economy, and suggests likely focus areas for this financing. But it does not pretend to offer a comprehensive assessment of tertiary education in Africa, an overall agenda for its reform, or a new policy statement by the Bank itself. Rather, the study strives to share contemporary insights and experience regarding the relationship between human resource development and economic growth.


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