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African Union Commission and ADEA pledge collaboration to improve education as Africa’s young population booms

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The African Union Commission (AUC) and the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to work closely together on the development of education across the continent of Africa. The ceremony for the signing of the MoU took place in Tunis on March 24 at the African Development Bank, where ADEA is hosted.

The two organizations will jointly develop and implement programs aimed at achieving Africa’s collective goals in education.

The MoU focuses on continuing the implementation of strategies and programs in the key priority areas spelled out in the African Union’s Second Decade of Education for Africa Plan of Action (PoA).

The two parties will also develop programs aimed at reaching specific goals for education in Africa, including the Millennium Development Goals and the post-2015 agenda where they relate to education and the Education for All initiative. They will also work together to further develop continental and regional integration through education.

During the signing ceremony, the Africa Union’s Commissioner for Human Resources, Science and Technology, Martial De Paul Ikounga said, “ADEA is much more than an association. ADEA is a partner that has proved to be essential to implement the African Union’s overall programs in education. ADEA also develops critical thinking in areas which are of prime importance, such as the use of ICT to improve teaching and learning… This is an indication of the role we would like to see ADEA play increasingly.”

Hamidou Boukary, Acting Executive Secretary of ADEA, said the MoU was in fact a renewal of a first MoU designed to facilitate implementation of the AU’s Second Decade of Education PoA. He pointed out ADEA’s contribution in this regard and progress made in several areas of the Plan of Action, notably: the establishment of regional and continental education management information systems (EMIS), implementation of the AU’s Pan-African university project, and helping to implement the PACTED teacher development program in the areas of math and science. ADEA has also convinced the AU to bring in two important priority areas which were not in the initial PoA: early childhood development and non-formal education.

Boukary added that the new MoU (2014-2019) will further progress made in the seven priority areas and position ADEA to support the AU’s new strategy for the next 50 years (2013-2063) and the post-2015 development priorities spelled out by African countries, which emphasizes development of technical and scientific skills. “ADEA’s Strategic Policy Framework adopted by the AU Heads of State is in line with these priorities, and positions ADEA to be a major actor to support Africa’s sustainable development,” he said.

Representing the Vice-President, Operations, of the AfDB, his Senior Advisor, Sering Jallow, said the African Development Bank fully supported the collaboration between ADEA and the AUC. “We hope that even greater synergies will be developed between ADEA, the AfDB and the AUC, in line with the Bank’s TenYear Strategy which underscores skills development and technology, which together remain a pillar for the Bank, as we try to achieve more inclusive and green growth in Africa.”

The AUC-ADEA agreement comes at a time when education is of prime importance in Africa as its young population continues to grow at a faster rate than elsewhere in the world. In 2010, there were 411 million children aged 14 years or under and, according to the UN, that number will more than double to 839 million by 2020.

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