Quality education and work will drive sub-Saharan Africa’s future.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Continental Education Strategy for Africa set a framework to cope with Africa’s challenges in education. Governments in sub-Saharan Africa typically invest 5% or more of GNP on education and this is boosted by others including development funds, corporate companies and non-profits (NGOs). 

The research, data and evaluation of impact, critical to making the right policy and choices for everyone investing in education, is improving considerably. Yet this knowledge is of variable quality, can be hard to access and is often incomplete. It can be hard to find African research on education and even harder for African researchers to get their work published and to achieve awareness and influence. We want to change this.

We believe there is an opportunity to increase the effectiveness of spending and to attract additional capital to this fundamentally important area. 

By 2050, Africa’s young population will increase by nearly 50 percent and 450 million workers are projected to join the workforce in the next decade. Many African nations already face multiple, complex and systemic challenges in delivering the education their societies need. 

ESSA sees the Tertiary sector as including all post-secondary education, including universities, colleges, technical training institutes, and vocational schools. This sector plays an important role in building the skills and knowledge of young people for the world of work. It is a gateway to training, development, culture across the continent, and a main driver of socio-economic growth and societal development. 

With this context, we strongly believe that:

“Access to quality education and job opportunities will be critical in determining whether the world’s largest youth population becomes an opportunity to lift millions from poverty or a crisis for the region and the world.”

ESSA Strategy framework

‘‘African researchers are best placed to conduct indigenous research to identify, analyse and devise innovative and effective solutions to the continent’s diverse challenges. Context-specific research informs policy development, advances socio-economic development, and transforms lives on the continent.” 

Dr Pauline Essah, director of research and insight at ESSA

We want to do all we can to help solve the paradox of high youth unemployment, even among graduates, and the skills shortages employers face.