Spio-Garbrah chairs C’tee to set up Education Trust Fund
The Association of African Universities (AAU), the Pan-African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PACCI) and the African Private Sector (APSS) have appointed Ekwow Spio-Garbrah as chairman of a committee to establish an African Education Trust Fund (AETF).
It comprises eminent African scholars, business executives, some representatives of African institutions, a former Vice-Chancellor of an East African university and two senior advisors.
The 15-member committee inaugurated by the Deputy Chair of the APSS, Mr Ben Acheampong, is chaired by Mr Spio-Garbrah, a former Ghanaian diplomat, former Minister of Education and former Minister of Trade and Industry.
Other members of the committee are Prof. Dr Raju Chandrasekar (Chancellor Emeritus, Uganda/ India); Mr Kebour Ghenna (Executive Director, PACCI); Prof. Theresia Nkuo-Akenji (Vice-President, AAU); Prof. Jonathan Mba (former Director of Research & Academic Planning, AAU); Prof. Dr Margret King (President/CEO, Global Institute of Planning and Sustainable Development, USA); Prof. Dr Sam Ndoga (APSS); Prof. Goski Alabi (President of Laweh Open University, Ghana), and Dr Jeannine Uwimana-Nicol (Snr Researcher, Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, South Africa & University of Rwanda).
The rest are Prof. Brahim Elbhiri (Professor of IT & Director of SMARTILAB, a lab of research development and innovation); Mr John Binnie Kauya (Group MD, Global Business Network, Botswana); Mr Ousman Touray (Student Ambassador, University of The Gambia); Mr Adedayo Dayo-Dunmoye (Principal Partner, ThinQfam Consulting Services), and Mr Jones Williams – Public Policy and Development Professional.
The committee also has two advisory members, namely Abu Bako (President of Nigeria) and Dr Francis Mangeni.
The AAU, Africa’s apex higher education body with a membership of over 400 universities across the continent, and the Pan African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PACCI), representing the collective interest of Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the business community in Africa, signed a Strategic Partnership Agreement in March 2021 to promote deeper discourse on improving academia-private sector relationships on the continent.
The ultimate goal of the agreement is to expand cooperation towards the integration of Africa through education, trade and investment under Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
“In this partnership agreement, the parties agreed to launch a special African Education Trust Fund (AETF) to raise funds to develop and strengthen a resilient African education system that produces the right skill set required to transform the continent into an economic powerhouse through human capacity development, academic scholarships, development of responsive curricula in all disciplines and infrastructural development in African higher education and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) systems,” a statement issued in Accra said.
The AETF, it said, was one of several tenets in the AAU-PACCI Agreement that was lifted by the African Private Sector Summit (APSS) for actualisation.
“One other is the Bill of Rights for an enabling business environment in Africa which is currently being drafted and is funded by United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA),” it said.
The Chairperson of APSS, Mr J. Wendell Addy, applauded the AAU and PACCI for committing to implement the MOU, and acknowledged the important roles other sister organisations such as the African Business Council (ABC) had to play to actualise its goals.
He posited that addressing the skill set needs of the continent was an indispensable enabler, particularly in the conversion of its raw materials for the success of the RECs and AfCFTA.
In his brief remarks, the Executive Director of PACCI, Mr Kebour Ghenna, noted that industry and academia working in tandem became a powerful engine for innovation and economic growth.
Both the Vice-President of the AAU, Prof. Theresia Nkuo-Akenji, and the Secretary-General of the association, Prof. Olusola Oyewole, also assured the committee of the AAU’s full support in recognition of the synergies in university-industry linkages.