World’s Education Leaders to Gather in Nairobi for The Africa-America Institute’s State of Education in Africa Conference

May 4, 2017

World’s Education Leaders to Gather in Nairobi for The Africa-America Institute’s State of Education in Africa Conference


NAIROBI, May 3, 2017 – Educators, policy-makers and innovators from around the world will come together for the State of Education in Africa, a two-day continental summit, organized by The Africa-America Institute (AAI) and presented by the Ford Foundation East Africa.  “The demographic bulge is one of the greatest challenges facing the Continent.  SOE Africa is a wonderful opportunity to explore and showcase solutions that have the potential to transform higher education with public-private partnerships critical to the development of Africa and its growing youth population,” said Kofi Appenteng, President, AAI.


SOE Africa is supported by Carnegie Mellon University, GE Africa, IE University, ESSA, and Robert Bosch Stiftung.  More than 300 industry leaders will participate in 11 interactive panel sessions and fireside chats, aimed at sharing best practices and exchanging experiences and views of the role of universities in revitalizing Africa’s future.  Additionally, an advanced highlights screening of the critically acclaimed documentary by Harvard University’s Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr entitled “Africa’s Great Civilizations” will feature a discussion on the creation of compelling content for narrative that is grounded in the rich history of Africa that goes beyond colonialism.


The topics will include how to align higher education to address challenges and solutions to career readiness, the use of curriculum in changing Africa’s image and the successful adoption of disruptive technology to improve student outcomes. The conference will also include Africa’s premiere screening of Harvard University Professor Henry Louis Gates’ critically acclaimed documentary “Africa’s Great Civilizations.”


The event’s keynotes will be presented by:

  • Honorable Fred Matiang’i, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Education Science and Technology, Kenya
  • Phillip Clay, Former Chancellor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) The conference objectives are to:
  • Promote innovation and solution-driven conversation to build a globally-competitive higher education for


  • Challenge policy makers, education leaders and stakeholders, and industry to present thought-leadership on the new African education


  • Serve as a catalyst in building new partnerships & program innovations that increase accessibility and relevancy and improve the impact of Africa Higher Education



Engage participants to explore youth development opportunities and higher education as a pathway to increase employment and decrease inequality across the continent.


  • Create a platform where presenters will share their bold visions and transformative ideas for handling the challenges presented by the rapidly changing political, cultural and educational landscape on the


  • Shape the narrative on Africa through dialogue, spotlighted research and innovative practices that improve on the impact of Higher Education systems and


Key education statistics:


  • By 2040, Africa is expected to have the world’s largest labor force, with an estimated working age population of 1 billion (AAI SOE 2015 report). Yet the percentage of national budgets allocated to higher education in Africa stands at 7% compared to 76% in the rest of the world, according to Association for the Development of Education in
  • The vision for the African Union Commission Agenda 2063 is that 70% of all high-school graduates go on to have tertiary education, with 70% majoring uating in subjects related to sciences and
  • A new March 2017 study released by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation shows a positive correlation between levels of youth employment and the gross enrollment in higher education in the past 10 years, from 2006 to
  • It has been estimated that, on average, it takes a university graduate five years to secure a job in Kenya, according to the British Council’s Going Global 2014 “Can higher education solve Africa’s job crisis?”
  • According to Duke University Professor Cathy Davidson, sixty-five percent of today’s 7 / 8 year-old will end up working in careers that haven’t even been invented yet.
  • There are significant shortages of academic staff in universities across the There are already 50% more students per lecturer in Sub-Saharan Africa than the global average, according to the British Council’s Going Global 2014 “Can higher education solve Africa’s job crisis?” Report.


For more information about The Africa-America Institute and its State of Education program, please visit


About AAI: 

Founded in 1953, The Africa-America Institute (AAI) is the premiere U.S.-based international organization dedicated to strengthening human capacity of Africans and promoting the continent’s development through higher education.  AAI’s mission is to promote enlightened engagement between Africa and America.  More than 15,000 AAI alumni are at the forefront of Africa’s public, non-profit, and private sectors.


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