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Financing Higher Education in Africa (Directions in Development)

Financing Higher Education in Africa (Directions in Development)

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Sustainable growth in SSA is contingent on the capacity of States to diversify their economies and thus train human capital that will help carry out and support this transformation. Higher education plays a key role in training qualified individuals who will be able to implement new technologies, and use innovative methods to establish cost-efficient and effective enterprises and institutions. Through research and increased knowledge, higher education can also help address the challenges arising from the increase in the size of the population, limited arable land, endemic diseases, urbanization, energy costs, and climate change. However, in order for SSA to reap the benefits of this investment in human capital, higher education institutions must secure financing to provide quality training and sound professional prospects to their students. Currently, tertiary education development is unsustainable, resources per student are declining, and the quality of education is affected. These issues are particularly pressing in times of financial global crisis when available resources for tertiary education uncontrovertibly tend to diminish. The impact of the crisis that started in 2008 provides a clear illustration of the need to explore innovative ways to diversify and secure financing for higher education in SSA. This report provides a comprehensive overview of higher education financing in SSA, aiming to: (i) explain the fundamental financial problems faced by higher education under the combined pressure of a rapidly growing demand and the scarcity of public resources, and to present the dramatic consequences of this trend on quality; (ii) analyze and compare the current funding policies in SSA countries to provide directions for improvement; and (iii) examine the alternatives to the status quo and the policy tools to diversify resources and to allocate resources based on performance.