Six Foundations Commit $200 Million to Higher Education in Africa over the Next Five Years

Diverse Issues in Higher Education, October 6, 2005 | Go to article overview

Six Foundations Commit $200 Million to Higher Education in Africa over the Next Five Years


NEW YORK

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," says Annan. "We need to train teachers and build up research capacity; we need to strengthen open universities and distance learning programs; 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," says 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 development. …

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