28 October 2008

Africa: Partnership - Foundations Commit to African Education

Lagos — Presidents of seven United States' foundations comprising the Partnership for Higher Education in Africa have announced their unanimous decision to continue both their collaborative and individual grantmaking aimed at strengthening higher education in Africa beyond their original ten-year commitment.

Their agreement, according to a statement by Africa Country Director of MacArthur Foundation, Dr. Kole Shettima, followed the annual meeting held in June at which they reviewed the foundations' individual and collective accomplishments since 2000 and assessed the challenges ahead.

The Partnership was created to strengthen Africa's institutions of higher education so that they can better contribute to poverty reduction, economic growth and social development in their respective countries.

Outcomes from partners investments range from more and cheaper Internet bandwidth for universities and the establishment of research and training networks in the sciences and social sciences to the launch of a new Internet gateway for the collection and dissemination of research.

According to Shettima, during the next phase of individual and collective foundation support for African higher education, which would begin in 2010, collaborative funding would be coordinated by the executive committee of participating foundations' program staff that currently supervises the coordinating office.

The presidents noted with great pride that by 2010, $350 million in Partnership grants would have assisted universities and other African institutions and programs dedicated to improving higher education access, excellence, research and diversity for men and women at select universities in Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda.

The foundation presidents are Paul Brest of Hewlett Foundation; Jonathan Fanton of MacArthur Foundation; Vartan Gregorian of Carnegie Corporation; Don Randel of Mellon Foundation; Rip Rapson of Kresge Foundation; Judith Rodin of Rockefeller Foundation and Luis Ubi'as of Ford Foundation.

They also announced their decision that the next phase of their cooperative activities would consist of bilateral and multilateral funding, in tandem with other alliances, while individual grantmaking would continue at each of their respective foundations.

The presidents stated that their foundations would continue to work in partnership with African universities to enrich their ability to provide high-quality educational opportunities to the men and women who are integral to the progress and development of sub-Saharan African countries.

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