A $1 billion Africa Education Trust Fund is on its way to help provide basic education for African children.
The push for the establishment of the Fund was mooted yesterday by Professor Jeffrey D. Sachs in Bali, Indonesia at the Second Babacar N’diaye Lecture 2018 hosted by Afreximbank.
The lecture, which held at the prestigious The Bulla Hotel, had Nigeria’s former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and Prof. Sachs, as the keynote speakers.
It was attended by Chairman/CEO of Afreximbank, Dr. Benedict Oramah; the Treasurer and Vice President of the World Bank and erstwhile Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Arunma Oteh and a host of other dignitaries from the international banking community and delegates to the 2018 International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank Group Meetings.
Sachs, a professor of Economics and Director Centre for Sustainable Development, said because of the poor state of education in Africa, nearly three out of four African children drop out of school, a development, he said, that has put Africa at a disadvantage in the digital age.
To address the situation, Prof Sachs said there is urgent need to create an Education Trust Fund that would help put every African child in school.
He called on the African Union (AU), to take the lead in this respect so that every child in Africa gets the full benefit of having basic education, and put the Continent on the path of competition with the developed and growing global economic blocks.
Sachs assured that he would be in the forefront of contributing to the fund.
“Create the fund to educate every child in African and I will help to build it,” he said.
Obasanjo, who said he has known Sachs for long, expressed concerns that Africa has become the underdog in the global trade war and protectionism between the US, China, Mexico and Canada due to failure of its leaders to promote economic integration in the face of the growing technological innovations in the world.
He called on Africa to be self -reliant, add value to its commodities and boost inter-African trade.
“We must add value to our commodities in developing Africa, boost inter-African trade and implement the Inter-African Trade Partnership Agreement,” he said, pointing out the implementation of the Inter African Free Continental Trade Agreement (AFCTA) will help develop Africa and place the continent in a position to export power to Europe.
On the call for Africa becoming a single entity, Obasanjo said that option may not be feasible but it can become one regional market. “Africa may not be one country, but it can be one market,” he said.
He said the required funds to develop the continent can be sourced from within Africa.
“There is money out there for good cause. They will bring the money if they are sure it will be put to good use and the people are accountable,” Obasanjo, assured.
Oramah, whose bank sponsored the event, said Afreximbank will support the Fund “once it is launched.”
“Where will the Fund come from? he queried, “The money will come from Africa,” Oramah said.
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