Foundation Center Focus on Education
Education - Higher Education in Africa

Higher Education in Africa


“Education, particularly higher education, will take Africa into the mainstream of globalization.”
— John Agyekum Kufuor, President of Ghana

“Contrary to the conventional wisdom that basic education is sufficient for African development, higher education builds the intellectual capital required for sustainable development.”

— Suzanne Grant Lewis, Partnership for Higher Education in Africa


Nearly 20% of U.S. foundations’ international giving for education in 2007 focused on education in Sub-Saharan Africa


How do we ensure African nations are investing in and providing access to post-secondary education?


Strengthen a core group of African universities through collective and individual investment
— The Partnership for Higher Education in Africa (PHEA)

Foundation Supporters of PHEA

  • Carnegie Corporation of New York
  • Ford Foundation
  • William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
  • Kresge Foundation
  • John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
  • Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
  • Rockefeller Foundation

Case Study

Bandwidth Consortium
  • 12 African universities and a satellite service provider
  • Low-cost Internet access to academic institutions, etc.
  • $10.7 million in funding from Partnership for Higher Education in Africa (PHEA) between 2000 and 2008


  • Since 2000, the consortium has significantly lowered the cost of high-speed Internet access
  • Dramatically increased Internet use in teaching, learning, and research

Research Sources

Partnership for Higher Education in Africa

The Bandwidth Consortium: Opening the Power of the Internet to African Universities

The Bandwidth Consortium

"$200 Million Is Pledged for Higher Education in Africa"
New York Times
Celia Dugger

"Basic Education vs Higher Education - Where Should Support be Going?"
Alliance Magazine
Rohini Nilekani and Suzanne Grant Lewis

Come Together: African Universities Collaborate to Improve Bandwidth
The International Development Research Centre (IDRC)

Viewpoint: Bandwidth Can Bring African Universities Up to Speed
The International Development Research Centre (IDRC)

Globalisation and Higher Education
Simon Marginson and Marijk van der Wende

Accelerating Catch-Up. Tertiary Education for Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa
World Bank

"The Big Picture In African Colleges"
Vartan Gregorian, President Carnegie Corporation of New York, 5/21/07 Letter to the New York Times

Philanthropy News Digest

2008: Global Philanthropy Edges Toward Spotlight

Foundations Affirm Commitment to African Universities Beyond

Newsmakers — Susan V. Berresford, former President, Ford Foundation

Kresge Foundation Joins Partnership for Higher Education in Africa
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