bulletin of the AFRICA PROGRESS PANELVolume 5, Issue 15 — 14 September 2012
Africa Progress Panel
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Education: Wake up, stand up, For your right!
Kofi Annan once said, “Education is a human right with immense power to transform. On its foundation rest the cornerstones of freedom, democracy and sustainable human development.” We therefore welcome and look forward to the upcoming launch of the UN Secretary-General’s global initiative on education, termed ‘Education First’, later this month. ‘Education First’ aims to put education at the heart of the social, political and development agenda.
The Africa Progress Panel members are seriously committed to Education. In two weeks’ time, we will release a policy paper entitled, “A Twin Education Crisis is Holding Back Africa: Millions are not at school, millions more are failing to learn,” based on our 2012 Africa Progress Report, “Jobs, Justice and Equity: Seizing opportunities in times of global change.” In this policy paper, we argue that failure to tackle the twin crisis in education has repercussions well beyond limiting the right to learning, undermining prospects for economic growth, and wasting human potential. Deficits in education also render countries all the more vulnerable to the political and social volatility that accompanies urbanization and youth unemployment.
Education has the potential to transform Africa’s social and economic development. It is what equips countries – and people – with the skills they need to escape the gravitational pull of poverty and build shared prosperity. It is the building block of every society, enabling them to build more secure livelihoods, enjoy better health and participate in political processes that affect their lives.
But let the facts speak for themselves. One additional year of schooling in a poor country can add 10 per cent to a person’s income. Children of educated mothers are more likely to be vaccinated and less likely to die before the age of five. According to UNESCO’s Global Monitoring report, universal secondary education for Africa’s women could save around 1.8 million child lives a year.
When the MDG commitments were made in 2000, Tanzania had over 3 million children out of school and enrolment was declining. Today, the country is within touching distance of universal primary enrolment. From Burkina Faso to Ethiopia, Mozambique, Senegal and Zambia, one country after another has made a breakthrough in enrolment.
Impressive as the growth in school participation may be, Africa is not on track to achieve the MDG targets. Millions of children are still not in school, and millions of adolescents are out of school, many of them are making the transition to work without having completed a basic education. If the trend from 2004 to 2009 is continued, there will still be 17 million out of school in 2025 – two primary school generations after the 2015 target date for universal education. According to recent data by UNECSO, there are more children out of school in sub-Saharan Africa today than there were three years ago.
If we are to see Africa truly transform, the continent’s ongoing education crisis demands the urgent attention of political leaders and aid partners. Development partners must therefore honor their commitments made in 2000 and provide $16 billion a year in aid for basic education in low income countries. We very much welcome the World Bank’s commitment to increase IDA lending to basic education by $750 million over the period 2011 – 2015, which would imply an average lending total of $1.1 billion annually. Support for education in countries affected by conflict, such as South Sudan, must also be strengthened.
Education First and a call for a global fund for education is a great step in the right direction. But as the African proverb states: “If you want to go quickly, go alone. But if you want to go far, go together.”
*This piece is adapted from the 2012 Africa Progress Report, “Jobs, Justice and Equity: Seizing opportunities in times of global change.”
- Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud escapes assassination attempts just two days into his new job. The attack, which shook the capital, underscored the huge security challenges facing the new country following the first presidential vote in Somalia in decades, which raised hopes for change after 20 years of violent anarchy.
- More than a year after the revolution, the demise of President Gadaffi and elections concluded, Libya remains an unstable place. With the new Libyan Prime minister promising to work vigorously on security, following recent militia attacks on the U.S consulate in Benghazzi, the country remains a place packed with weapons left over from the former regime.
- A month after Angola’s President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who has been in power in Africa’s No. 2 oil producer since 1979, secured a new five-year term, Angola's election watchdog (CNE) rejected opposition complaints that last month’s vote was unfair. CNE stated that the parties' allegations were about matters that had been resolved before the vote, that there was a lack of evidence to back them up, and that they were "illegal ... and in bad faith".
- Researchers at the University of Cape Town announce that they have made a huge breakthrough in research for a cure for malaria. They discovered a compound that has the potential to cure malaria in a single dose.
- AfDB grants $22 million to support Niger’s Water Mobilization Project, which aims to boost food production and ultimately improve the livelihoods of some 700,000 people
- AfDB approves a $800 million loan to support Morocco’s renewable energy programs
- Four African countries are expected to deploy 4,000 troops under an AU mandate to fight the M23 rebel group in DR Congo
- EAC Secretary General is confident that the EAC and the EU can reach a deal on the Economic Partnership Agreements before the end of this year
- EAC and UNEP sign an MoU to facilitate collaboration between the parties to further their shared goals and objectives in regard to the enhancement and support in environment and natural resources management, sustainable development in EAC and worldwide
- Cote d’Ivoire’s Interior Minister calls for pooling of resources by ECOWAS member states and closer cooperation to defeat the rising wave of organized criminal activities threatening security of the region
- ECOWAS and USAID have agreed to deepen cooperation in their core areas of engagement - health care delivery, trade, agricultural development, as well as regional peace and security
- IMF-supported economic programs and related policy advice have helped low-income countries navigate the global financial crisis, an internal review found
- While highlighting Africa’s renewable energy potential, head of UNFCCC emphasizes that a strong COP 18 outcome could help Africa adapt to climate change and speed up its low-carbon development
- The heads of FAO, IFAD and WFP call for urgent action to avoid another possible global food crisis which hit the world in 2007-2008
- Stock exchange is instrumental in attracting investments for sustainable development, says UNCTAD
- UNCTAD Secretary-General urges Chinese businesses to avoid mistakes made by Western multinationals and take social responsibility seriously in Africa
- World Bank Vice-President supports Moroccan reforms and encourages youth inclusion and participation
- It is time to rethink the role of the state in the financial sector so that governments can better balance the need for credit and emergency support for banks with measures to promote transparency and competition when crises erupt, says a new World Bank report
In the blogs...
- The Guardian’s Global Development blog: Development must be less about growth, more about wellbeing, 13 Sept. 2012 – Mark Tran discusses a new report that argues that sustainable development will only succeed if politicians prioritise people’s needs over economic progress.
- Impatient Optimists: World Contraception Day: A call to African leaders, 12 Sept. 2012 Yemurai Nyoni describes the difficulties young Africans face accessing family planning and calls on African leaders to facilitate increased access to, and utilisation of, family planning services for Africa’s youth.
- The Guardian’s Poverty Matters blog: Why non-communicable diseases must be part of any new development goals, 11 Sept. 2012 – Johanna Ralston and Ann Keeling argue that progress on the millennium development goals will be wiped out without targets and action on diseases like cancer and diabetes.
- The World Bank’s Africa Can…End Poverty blog: Kenya’s education dividend, 5 Sept. 2012 Wolfgang Fengler discusses the progress that has been made in education in Kenya, as well as the challenges that still remain.
Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.
- Nelson Mandel, Former President of South Africa
- International Herald Tribune (USA): Momentum rises to lift Africa’s resource curse, 14 Sept. 2012 – Kofi Annan writes about why Europe must follow America’s lead in pushing for greater transparency in deals governing oil and gas extraction.
- BusinessDay (Nigeria): After the Millenium Development Goals, 12 Sept. 2012 – Dani Rodrik discusses what he thinks should happen when the MDGs ‘expire’ in 2015.
- The Daily Maverick (South Africa): Karoo open for fracking business. Wide, wide open, 12 Sept. 2012 – Rebecca Davis discusses the South African government’s decision to lift a 17-month moratorium against exploring shale gas reserves in the Karoo.
- Reuters Africa (Pan-African): Nigeria’s Okonjo-Iweale seeks reform without the godfathers, 12 Sept. 2012 Tim Cocks and Joe Brock discuss how Nigerian Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, is battling to reform Nigeria without the support from the shadowy ‘godfathers’ who wield power from behind the scenes.
- The Economist (UK): It’s not just the mines, 8 Sept. 2012 – The author discusses how South Africa’s ruling party are failing to live up to their ideals.
- Business Day (South Africa) Africa’s powerhouses can reap many mutual benefits, 5 Sept. 2012 - Authors call for a strategic bilateral cooperation between Nigeria and South Africa, saying, such a relationship could substantially enhance the continents development prospects immensely.
- The Observer (UK): Why I had no choice but to spurn Tony Blair, 2 Sept. 2012 Archbishop Desmond Tutu writes about why he pulled out of the Discovery Invest Leadership Summit where Tony Blair was due to speak.
- Australian researchers and farmers are delivering specialised training to key African cotton farmers to help boost Africa’s cotton crops
- Australia and SADC sign memorandum of understanding on sustainable development, peace and security, climate change adaptation and mitigation, agriculture and food security, and human resource development
- China Exim bank provides a $600 million facility to finance rail and ICT infrastucture projects in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja
- China and Mozambique conclude negotiations to introduce genetically modified cotton into the African country
- Angola-South Africa trade peaks despite fears that the August elections in Angola would cause disruption to trade ties, in fact trade between the two countries has spiked since July
- Rt. Hon Justine Greening MP and Lynne Featherstone MP have been appointed as new ministers for international development
- UK's Development Finance Institution, CDC launches a new strategy to help the poorest countries pull themselves out of poverty
- According to a UNICEF report, 6.9 million children under 5 years of age died around the world in 2011, compared to almost 12 million in 1990; with Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia accounting for over 80 percent of under-5 deaths last year.
- Oxfam’s latest report, Extreme Weather, Extreme Prices: The costs of feeding a warming world, argues that existing research significantly underestimates the potential implications of climate change for food prices. It signals the urgent need for a full stress-testing of the global food system in a warming world.
- A new report by the Bellagio Initiative argues that sustainable development will only succeed if politicians prioritise people’s needs over economic progress.
|17-21 September||3rd session of the International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM-3): Nairobi, Kenya|
|17-21 September||ITU 2012 Green Standards Week: Paris, France|
|17 Sept.–5 Octber||Committee on the Rights of the Child, 61st Session: Geneva, Switzerland|
|18 September||67th session of the UN General Assembly:New York, U.S.A|
|22-24 September||Social Good Summit: New York, U.S.A|
|24 September||UNGA High-level Meeting on the Rule of Law: New York, U.S.A|
|24 September||High-level Event on Year of Sustainable Energy for All: New York, U.S.A|
|24 September||High-level Event on Year of Every Woman Every Child:New York, U.S.A|
|24 -26 September||WTO Public Forum 2012 ‘Is Multilateralism in crisis?’ Geneva, Switzerland|
|24 -26 September||Africa Trade Forum on “Boosting intra-Africa Trade and Establishing the Continental Free Trade Area”: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia|
|26 September||High-level Launch of the Secretary-General's Education First initiative:New York, U.S.A|
|26 -28 September||African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF): Arusha, Tanzania|