“Africa must enormously invest in education if the human capital restraints that are besieging the continent are to be permanently addressed”, H.E. Mr. Erastus Mwencha, the Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission has said.
Mr. Mwencha was addressing the international and local media at a press conference organised on the sidelines of the ongoing 27th AU Summit in Kigali, capital city of Rwanda.
He said that at the African Union Commission, a milestone has been achieved in terms of facilitating the promotion of education and ensuring imparting skills among the African children, which constitute great steps towards elevating economic growth and development.
“Lack of adequate skilled labor force in African is considered among the principal challenges hindering the continent’s economic growth. However, with the full implementation of the Africa Agenda 2063, the continent labor challenges could be addressed”, underlined the AUC Deputy Chairperson.
Mr. Mwencha mentioned that in order to curb the labor challenges, the African Union Commission has established the Pan African University (PAU), with the intention of promoting science and technology to enhance Africa’s competitiveness on the international scene.
“The human resource gap we experience is huge. We have established the Pan African University to reduce this gap and we have already students graduating. We now want to focus on promoting e-learning, which will help our continent have an adequate human resource pool”, he said while responding to the journalists.
The Pan-African University (PAU) is a post-graduate training and research network of university nodes in five regions, supported by the African Union. The new Institution also enjoys the support of the Association of African Universities.
The PAU aims to provide the opportunity for advanced graduate training and postgraduate research to high-performing African students. Objectives also include promoting mobility of students and teachers and harmonising programmes and qualifications..
According to H.E. Mr. Mwencha , the PAU will stimulate collaborative and internationally competitive research, and enhance the attractiveness of African higher education and research institutions.
Owingto insufficient expertise, most countries in Africa end up importing experts from foreign countries outside the continent, making it expensive for developing countries. There is need for a clear strategy for African countries to develop their own experts through providing relevant education.
The Pan African University addresses five crucial thematic areas through a network of five flagship institutes, namely Basic Sciences, Technology and Innovation; Life and Earth Sciences including Health and Agriculture; Governance, Humanities and Social Sciences; Water and Energy Sciences including Climate Change; and Space Sciences.
Integration is a process
Asked whether the African Union was contented with the rate at which integration was moving, the AUC Deputy Chairperson noted that much still has to be done in order to deepen integration; however, he added, a tremendous milestone has been achieved.
He noted that the continent has triumphed in some areas, like coming up with a common passport for Africans, that will facilitate the free movement of people across the continent. The Africa Union Passport, he said, will be launched during the ongoing 27th AU Summit.
“Integration is a process,” he said, adding: “We are not satisfied …when you are fully integrated, it means one can freely move from one country to another without barriers caused by visa obligations. Therefore, we still have a long way to go but I know we are on the right track to achieve our objective,” said the AUC Chairperson, concluding his press conference on a positive note.