The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Africa Regional Higher Education Summit successfully concluded on Friday in Kigali, Rwanda. The President of the Rwanda Senate and Rwandan Ministers of Science and Technology, Education, and Finance participated in the three-day Summit, along with U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings, U.S. Charge d'Affaires Cheryl Sim, and USAID Deputy Assistant Administrator for Africa Franklin Moore.
'With worldwide attention and resources devoted to achieving universal primary education, higher education must not be neglected,' said Moore. 'Enrollment in higher education institutions in Africa has increased significantly yet the infrastructure, materials, and number of trained faculty are inadequate to meet this demand. Through the Africa Summit, USAID hopes to foster partnerships that will meet the demand for skills and training in Africa and ensure that the growing youth population of the continent finds meaningful employment to support themselves and their families and be full and active participants in society.'
More than 200 participants, representing 30 countries, gathered to discuss the role of higher education in strengthening Africa's economic growth and global competitiveness. Participants were from African and American Universities, foundations, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector. Public and private sector collaboration was a central theme throughout the Summit in presentations and structured networking sessions. At the conclusion of the Summit, USAID and Global Relief and Development Partners signed a Memorandum of Understanding aimed at strengthening democracy and good governance in Rwanda, accelerating economic growth, and improving the well-being of all Rwandans. Specifically in the area of education and professional development, the new partnership is looking to provide on-line instruction for teachers and counselors, as well as training for professionals in the justice sector.