News from Berlin
German Diplomatic Relations with African Educational Institutions
June 25th, 2014
News from Berlin - “Africa is the land of opportunities” commented Jochana Wanka, the German Federal Minister of Education and Research on Friday, June 22nd. Special attention is turned to the education and research sector, which has the potential for “building bridges for sustainable cooperation”.
Growth last year reached 4.8% and surged to 5.3% this year according to the World Bank. Meanwhile, four African countries are today among the top ten countries with the highest growth rates in terms of GDP. This and further signs of success in African development have prompted the German Minister to announce a revisit of German policy towards promoting growth on the African continent. The statement was made at a conference last week in Berlin where she was joined by the Commissioner of Human Resources, Science and Research from the African Union, Martial Ikounga.
The German-African diplomatic relationship has been nurtured for 30 years now. The new course to be taken will include consultations with the African Union (AU) on future projects. Also, the 76 million euros already allocated by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research is going to be directed not only towards the better-off countries such as Egypt and South Africa.
Special attention is turned to education. The Commissioner pointed out that African countries are currently losing scientists and experts. "African students of economic affairs studying in Europe are writing their Master theses on European and not African problems." In effort to tackle the issue of brain drain, the Pan African University (PAU) was founded last year. The then German Minister of Education and Research, Dirk Niebel, pledged 20 million euro to the project.
An additional issue is the percentage of school graduates around the continent who attend higher education institutions or pursue research – there are only 8%. Meanwhile, more than half of the African population (nearly 1 billion) are under 18.
The largely young population of Africa and its resources present an immense potential for sustainable development and lasting stability. The German policy clearly indicates the focus on education.
News from Berlin – Berlin Global