Encouraged by a rising tide of democracy in Africa, six major US foundations announced on Friday that they would spend US$200 million over the next five years to strengthen higher education in seven African countries.
The investments will significantly increase Internet access for a group of African universities, finance scholarships for hundreds of young women and build programs to train agricultural scientists and public health managers, among other things.
The presidents of Ghana, Mozambique and Kenya visited the Ford Foundation on Friday to offer their thanks at a ceremony to celebrate the undertaking. The other nations getting help are Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda.
"Education, particularly higher education, will take Africa into the mainstream of globalization," Ghanaian President John Agyekum Kufuor said.
The contributions represent a deepening of financial support for African universities from US foundations. Over the past five years, the Carnegie Corp of New York and the Ford, MacArthur and Rockefeller foundations have contributed more than US$150 million for higher education in Africa.
This unusual partnership was joined on Friday by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
US foundations backed away from financing African higher education in the 1970s and 1980s, when civil unrest, corruption, student protests and out-of-control costs plagued African universities, according to a publication of the partnership of foundations.
Also, in the 1980s and 1990s, ensuring universal primary education became the highest priority, and resources followed. But as countries like Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania have abolished school fees and millions of African children have poured into grade schools, there has been a growing realization that higher levels of education will also have to improve.
The new money will help bring African universities into the digital age. By banding together with foundation support, the universities have been able to obtain many times the Internet bandwidth they had before at a third the rate paid by most institutions in Africa. Intelsat, the global satellite operator, is providing the bandwidth.
The money will also support training for professions essential to Africa's ability to produce more food and care for its sick. The partnership is investing in a five-year PhD program at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa to train plant breeders. The hope is that these scientists will develop more productive, pest-resistant crop varieties that will help Africa feed its millions of hungry people.
Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda, has revised its curriculum for doctors and public health workers with the aim of preparing them to manage the care of people who live in rural areas where highly skilled staff and sophisticated equipment are in very short supply. Each year, doctors get out of the city for periods of training in the countryside.
FRENCH AID: Paris has sent a navy ship and aircraft from Reunion Island with some pollution control equipment, but rough seas are spreading the oil spill The operator of a Japanese bulk carrier which ran aground off Mauritius in the Indian Ocean yesterday apologized for a major oil spill, which officials and environmentalists say is creating an ecological disaster, as police prepared to board the ship. The MV Wakashio, operated by Mitsui OSK Lines, struck the reef on Mauritius’ southeast coast on July 25. “We apologize profusely and deeply for the great trouble we have caused,” Mitsui OSK Lines executive vice president Akihiko Ono said at a news conference in Tokyo. The company would “do everything in their power to resolve the issue,” he said. At least 1,000 tonnes of
They stand as eyesores to most passers-by and potential public health risks to authorities, decaying buildings wrapped in tangles of exposed wire, studded with protruding leaky plastic pipes, vegetation billowing from cracks and terraces where particulates from polluted air have accumulated over time. With skyscrapers and ultramodern developments on every side, some of these “nail houses” are also sitting on land worth millions of dollars in Shenzhen’s inferno of a property market, where new-unit and second-hand home prices rival London. In battles over land and development, the nail house phenomenon has become widespread throughout China over the past two decades, with owners
An Italian alpine resort on Friday remained on high alert over fears that a vast chunk of a glacier on the slopes of the Mont Blanc massif could plummet in high temperatures. “No one gets through! No cars, bikes or pedestrians,” was the message at a checkpoint where an automatic barrier and two guards blocked the small road snaking up into a lush valley below the Planpincieux glacier, near the town of Courmayeur and the Italian-French border. The blockade has largely been greeted with contempt by the locals, one of whom said: “It’s a joke.” The huge ice block measuring around 500,000 cubic
SHOW OF SOLIDARITY: The publisher’s ‘Apple Daily’ newspaper has had to raise the number of copies printed from 70,000 to 550,000 to meet a huge surge in demand They have occupied Hong Kong’s central business district, marched by the hundreds of thousands through the territory’s streets and endured tear gas and pepper spray in pitched battles with riot police. Hong Kong’s pro-democracy supporters are now wielding a new protest weapon: their stock-market trading accounts. To show support for Jimmy Lai (黎智英), the publisher and outspoken government critic who was on Monday arrested under the territory’s new national security legislation, Hong Kongers have been piling into shares of his media company Next Digital. The result: a more than 1,100 percent surge in two days that propelled the stock to a seven-year