In a 2019 TED talkAshesi University President Patrick Awuah highlighted Africa’s fast-growing population both as an imminent challenge and an opportunity for massive growth at the same time. 

“By 2050, the population of Africa will more than double […] Even for the wealthiest economies on the earth, this kind of growth is difficult to manage,” he shared. “Yet built into this population growth also lies potential. Meeting the growing demand for clothing and shelter, expanding infrastructure, providing services like healthcare and education, finance, even recreation all represent economic opportunities for African entrepreneurs.”

That the continent will prepare its youth to take advantage of this growth is predicated on “scaling up quality education across the continent,” according to Dr. Awuah. 

“The scale of the problem is too large for any one institution to tackle it,” he shared. “However, the continent will need exemplar institutions of learning, clustered in East, West, Central, North and South Africa; that serve as beacons to others, that are uncompromising in achieving quality in teaching, research and innovation, and that act as magnets for our best and brightest to stay on the continent.”

It is this model of leveraging regional clusters that the Education Collaborative at Ashesi has adapted to scale its impact through partner institutions across the continent. 

“Over the next ten years, we will continue to build out the regional clusters of exemplar institutions,” shared Rose Dodd, Director of the Education Collaborative. “We will work together with them to determine priorities, grow regional engagement in initiatives, identify pivotal partnerships, and ultimately bring the shifts we envision in student employability and entrepreneurial outcomes.”

Starting with the East-African hub, the Collaborative plans to roll out four regional hubs by 2025 driven by higher education leaders who will coordinate the region’s transformation. 

“We’re excited to get the East-African hub as the first hub the Collaborative is working through,” shared Dr. Alexander Awiti of Agha Khan University in Kenya. “The task [of creating impactful change across the continent] is beyond the imaginings and capabilities of anyone university. It will take the collective action of the entire continent.”

As part of this drive, the Education Collaborative plans to work through this critical mass of institutions and core industry stakeholders to transform over 1.1 million students to be ethical, career-ready, and entrepreneurial by 2030.​

“These goal areas are not fixed,” added Ms. Dodd. “They are driven by the developmental needs of our continent and contexts. Institutions with evidence of impactful outcomes in transformation goal areas will lead focal initiatives, projects, and collaborations related to those areas, share best practices and co-create innovations with peers on the continent. At the Education Collaborative, we are dedicating the next decade to foster the collaborations needed to amplify the efforts and impacts of institutions. This way, we collectively grow and strengthen higher education centers of excellence on the continent.​”

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