Socio-Economic Justice

Socio-Economic Justice (7)

The decline of Africa’s higher education sector can be seen in overcrowded lecture rooms, crumbling infrastructure, obsolete curricula and, in many cases, poor and outdated pedagogy and inadequate funding. These factors, together with low research outputs and weak links to industry, mean that the sector is unable to meet the demands of Africa in the 21st century.

Over the past several years, TrustAfrica has worked to build a continent-wide movement to revitalize the higher education sector. It has forged partnerships with pan-African and international organizations and brought together a range of stakeholders, including leaders from government, business, students, academic unions and civil society as well as educators.

National-level dialogues in Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda were followed in March 2015 with the first-ever Continental Summit on Higher Education hosted by President Macky Sall of Senegal. The summit was attended by key stakeholders from across the continent, including high-level officials such as ministers and vice chancellors. Among the dignitaries at the summit were Mr. Kofi Annan, former Secretary General of the United Nations, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, the chairperson of the African Union Commission, and Ms. Oby Ezekwesili, former Vice President for Africa of the World Bank.

The summit’s Declaration and Action Plan, which set out a bold agenda to transform the African higher education sector, was tabled by President Sall at the 25th session of Assembly of the African Union in June 2015. Consequently, the AU established a group of ten Heads of State led by President Sall to champion education, science and technology on the continent. We are working closely with the Government of Senegal to support the Heads of State group.

Other efforts to advance the summit’s action plan include national summits in Ghana, Nigeria and Tanzania to set priorities for transforming their higher education sectors.

Strengthening the Advocacy Movement for Equitable Smallholder Agriculture in Africa

Despite its recognized role as an engine for economic growth, African agriculture remains hobbled by inadequate public spending and policies. This is particularly true for smallholder farming, where productivity boosts could lead to food security and more widely shared prosperity.

Since 2009, TrustAfrica has been working with farmers’ organizations to strengthen their ability to hold their governments to account to commitments they made as members of the African Union, including allocating 10 percent of national budgets to the sector.

Grants have supported advocacy by smallholder farmers’ organizations, civil society organizations and policy research organizations in Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi, Nigeria, Ghana and Burkina Faso. Building on previous successes, partners continue to petition for transparency in national budget allocations to agriculture, better support and provision of extension and advisory services and a bigger role for smallholders in the agriculture value chain.

Current and future work includes continued support for increasing the capacity of these groups to participate in policymaking processes, with attention to helping advocates with tabling their policy requests and advancing smallholder issues at the continental level.

A knowledge hub and interactive discussion platform is in the works for better information sharing among advocacy networks, as is the development of a community of practice on agriculture advocacy.

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