Higher Education and Economic Growth in Africa
International Journal of African Higher Education, 2014, 1(1): 22-57
36 Pages Posted: 20 Dec 2014
Date Written: December 18, 2014
Enrollment rates for higher education in Sub-Saharan Africa are by far the lowest in the world at 6%. Yet because of conventional beliefs that tertiary education is less important for poverty reduction, the international development community has encouraged African governments’ relative neglect of higher education. This article challenges beliefs that tertiary education has little role in promoting economic growth and alleviating poverty. First, we review recent evidence that higher education can produce significant public and private benefits. Next, we analyze the relationship between tertiary education and economic growth. We find evidence that tertiary education improves technological catch-up and, in doing so, may help to maximize Africa’s potential to achieve more rapid economic growth given current constraints. Investing in tertiary education in Africa may accelerate technological diffusion, which would in turn decrease knowledge gaps and help reduce poverty in the region. We also review new developments and trends in the higher education scene in Africa.
Keywords: higher education, Africa, economic growth
JEL Classification: I21, I28, O11
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation