by: The World Bank
The revival of economic growth across Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) since
the beginning of the millennium is a heartening development. Sustaining
it over the indefinite future is not only a necessity, but also a
challenge of the first order.
The key to economic success in a globalized world lies increasingly
in how effectively a country can assimilate the available knowledge and
build comparative advantage in selected areas with good growth
prospects. Increasing the relevance of tertiary education and research
in Sub-Saharan Africa will enable the region to increase its
comparative advantage by pushing the frontiers of technology through
innovation, encourage the diversification of products and services, and
maximize returns from capital assets through more efficient allocation
African countries have gone far in achieving high levels of literacy
and raising primary enrollments. This progress is providing a
foundation for future development. Now it is necessary to move quickly
to acquire the higher-order skills and expertise that will allow
African countries to add value in existing economic activities and
enter new industries and services.
Accelerating Catch-up compellingly spells out the case for
more knowledge-intensive growth and demands increasing attention to
secondary and, most importantly, post-secondary education. It
demonstrates why tertiary education systems in Sub-Saharan Africa must
become better aligned with national economic development and poverty
reduction strategies, and has identified the benefits likely to be
associated with such a shift in perspective. It will be of great
interest to international organizations, governments, research
institutions, and universities throughout the region.
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