President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo says Africa would not realise its vision of a progressive and prosperous continent, if it does not first place a premium on its human capital.
He said Africa ought to widen access to, and invest sufficiently in its citizen’s education, to maximise its economic output and facilitate a more robust economic growth.
The President, who was speaking at the Global Education Summit, co-hosted by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, in London, noted that the goal of countries in Africa was to move away from being mere producers and exporters of raw materials to valued added economies.
However, he said, that dream would not materialise until the continent pursued the agenda to have an educated workforce.
“It, therefore, requires an investment that we have to make to ensure that not just as many, but also all our children have the opportunity to go to school right from kindergarten, through primary, through secondary, and through tertiary education,” he said.
The Summit, which was organised by the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), aimed to raise $5 billion to fund the next five-year cycle of the GPE.
The Summit asked donors to invest to help ensure learning for 175 million girls and boys, get 88 million more children in school, and reach 140 million more students with professionally trained teachers in 87 low- and middle-income countries.
President Akufo-Addo told the gathering that his government was widening further access to education for all of Ghana’s school-going children, and that 23 percent of the national budget had been allocated to education, the highest on the continent so.
With the Free Senior High School policy resulting in some 400,000 more children getting access to senior high school education in Ghana, he acknowledged that problems with infrastructure, and the challenges of inadequate classrooms are being addressed.
“So, in Ghana, we’ve taken the decision that we’re going full scale ahead now that we have widened public education at the secondary school level to all and sundry, to try and replicate it also at the tertiary level.
“This is absolutely critical for our future. “if we don’t do it, we will not be able to get to our basic goal, which is a structural transformation of our economies… Lives and livelihoods are both the keys to the future for us and we will hopefully continue to be to do that,” he said.
The Summit emphasized the importance of equitable access to education amid warnings that COVID-19 has exacerbated already under-resourced public education programmes in less economically developed countries. Experts alerted the organization that it was unlikely for those forced out of schools due to the pandemic to return.
Governments and international corporations pledged to donate $4 billion for the GPE at the end of the Summit.