By Nicolas Goldstein Co-founder Talenteum.africa
Education … more than a sector, it is a pillar ofhumanity. It is through education that men and women evolve, rise, build, transmit, train their fellows. However, in the face of the news, everything suggests that its secular version has been gradually dethroned in silence, in favor of another, dogmatic. Wouldn’t it be high time to change things by investing in education?
Education in Africa; the numbers
According to statistics, Africa has around 260 million students in 1.5 million schools and around 27 million students out of a population of 600 million under the age of 25. The African government devotes about 5% of their GDP for students; the second highest investment of this type in the world.
However, according to a report from the African Development Bank, there is also an annual deficit of 40 billion dollars. How is this possible when we are aware that Africa allows 100% foreign direct investment in education? This situation is particularly paradoxical when taking into consideration that sub-Saharan Africa is the second largest connected region on the planet, with 400 million smartphone users. Is this not a sign of economic growth, intrinsically linked to that of the education system?
Without this fund, it is impossible to put in place the programs necessary to fulfill several objectives: optimizing expenditure related to education, mobilizing additional resources, strengthening the monitoring of public expenditure, creating performance-based financing funds in order to improve the quality of the teaching staff and reduction of repetition in schools.
Investing in education in Africa, more than a symbolic or humanitarian gesture
By 2050, the young world population will be made up of 35% Africans, against only 15% in 2000. For the time being, 30% of the African population is under 14 and the trend is towards education of quality and dematerialized, especially if it bears the seal of a foreign investment.
With an estimated growth of 170 million children by 2030 according to Unicef, the Cradle of Humanity has never lived up to its name like this.
While this quantified information may seem trivial, raising a few brief questions, it is important to see beyond, because this young population is ambitious. By supporting it financially, over time, investors will be the source of growth capable of surpassing that of the United States or even China! Better still, they will help him, perhaps, to uproot lastingly the conflicts which currently plague this continent with incredible potential.
It is high time for foreign or African investors and entrepreneurs to look into their own future, which lies in Africa. The lack of funding will finally allow African governments to ease regulations, shorten processing times, train teachers, to name just a few.
Prepare the future now
Education in Africa is the foundation of an added value which may seem abstract for the time being, however, it is never too early to lay the foundations for a movement capable of breaking, of replacing the current codes for an improved, efficient version.
2 years ago, I had the chance to meet, Fred Swaniker the charismatic founder of African Leadership University in Mauritius.
Today, the African Leadership University is training hundreds of leaders in Africa, with innovative, daring, totally disruptive methods in the African educational context where everything must be redesigned as leaders are sorely missed every year in Africa.
African talents must show the way and build the Africa of tomorrow.
How to help Africa in the education sector?
We should suggest to companies investing in Africa to pay more attention to the SDGs (The Sustainable Development Goals) and more specifically the SDGs 4, have quality education, SDG 5 have equality between men and women; at school and in business, SDG 8 promote decent work in order to reduce inequalities (SDG 10)
In our company, we take a close interest in this issue. To understand the reality of the context, as co-founder of the Talenteum.Africa web platform I simply turned to the talents of the Talenteum community. One question: what is the main factor which could explain the rise in violence in sub-Saharan Africa? The answers are unanimous, whether they come from Benin, Niger or Nigeria: the educational failure.
As investors and entrepreneurs, we have everything to gain by taking concrete action in this sector and putting aside our habits of immediacy.
Investing in African education is not to assist, but to play a masterstroke on the great global economic chessboard.