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ACBF seeks comprehensive capacity development to make secondary education relevant

05 Aug, 2019

Harare, 05 August, 2019 (ACBF) – The African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF), the African Union’s specialized agency for capacity development, has called for a comprehensive and coordinated capacity development program that will make secondary education on the continent relevant in the emerging work environment.

The Executive Secretary of the African Capacity Building Foundation, Prof. Emmanuel Nnadozie, made the suggestion in Johannesburg last week at a high-level forum on the future of secondary education in Africa with a view to preparing the youth with skills they will be requiring. Prof. Nnadozie said stakeholders should develop the right education, labor and macro-economic policies and a review of the school curriculum to prioritize science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). He said schools should be provided with technology equipment and broadband internet connection as well as promote e-learning and online education institutions.

With more than 60 percent of its population under the age of 25, the continent is the world’s youngest region and by 2030, Africa’s working-age population is set to increase by two-thirds, from 370 million adults in 2010 to over 600 million in 2030, the Executive Secretary said. The major disruptions to labor markets anticipated in the emerging Fourth Industrial Revolution would create new occupations, new ways of organizing and coordinating work, new skills requirements in all jobs and new tools to augment workers’ capabilities, he said.

“For instance, it is estimated that, from a technological standpoint, 41 percent of all work activities in South Africa are susceptible to automation, as are 44 percent in Ethiopia, 46 percent in Nigeria, 48 percent in Mauritius, 52 percent in Kenya and 53 percent in Angola,” said Prof. Nnadozie.

He said the following skills are required for employability and Africa’s socio-economic transformation:

  • basic cognitive skills: basic mental abilities we use to think, study, and learn, and include numeracy and literacy; analytical and critical thinking; 
  • non-cognitive skills: openness to learning; oral and written communication; work habits (punctuality, application); teamwork; personal integrity; leadership; and entrepreneurship; and
  • specific and technical skills: language; basic business skills; ICT skills


“Given the increasing primary education completion rates and the low tertiary enrolment rates, secondary education which is becoming more accessible will increasingly become the main bridge to work for most youth,” said Prof. Nnadozie. But as the financing to implement capacity development is inadequate, unpredictable and unsustainable, he proposed the establishment of an African Capacity Development Fund that would be a unique, Africa-initiated strategy.

He also called for investments in human and physical capital and in energy and transport infrastructure to unleash the potential of secondary education on the continent. (ACBF)



For more information, contact:

Tsitsi Spargo-Chakonza

The African Capacity Building Foundation

Harare, Zimbabwe

+263 242 304663, 304622, 332002, 332014; Ext. 279



About the African Capacity Building Foundation

Established in 1991, ACBF builds human and institutional capacity for good governance and economic development in Africa. To date the Foundation has empowered people in governments, parliaments, civil society, private sector and higher education institutions in more than 45 countries and 6 regional economic communities. ACBF supports capacity development across Africa through mobilization and leveraging of resources for capacity development; grants, investments and fund management; knowledge services; promoting innovation in capacity development and capacity development advisory services. The establishment of ACBF was in response to the severity of Africa’s capacity needs, and the challenges of investing in indigenous human capital and institutions in Africa. ACBF interventions are premised on four principles: the centrality of capacity to the development process in Africa; the critical role of a partnership and demand-driven approach in tackling capacity challenges; African ownership and leadership in the capacity development process; and a systematic, sequenced and coordinated approach to the capacity development process that pays attention to capacity retention and utilization. For further information go to:

Thomas Kwesi Quartey

ACBF has been granted the status of a specialized agency because of the potential to transform Africa through capacity development.

H.E. Thomas Kwesi Quartey, Deputy Chairperson, AU Commission
Erastus Mwencha

The recognition of ACBF as the African Union’s Specialized Agency for Capacity Development launches the beginning of a new era for capacity building by ACBF, which will require an appropriate level of political commitment and financial support from all stakeholders.

H.E. Erastus Mwencha, Chair, ACBF Executive Board
Lamin Momodou

The remarkable achievements ACBF has registered over the past 26 years is not by accident in our opinion. They have come through hard work, dedication, commitment, purposeful leadership, support from the member countries as well as productive partnership building.

Mr. Lamin Momodou MANNEH, Director, UNDP Regional Service Centre for Africa
Goodall Gondwe

Africa needs ACBF as much, probably more now, than at the time it was created in 1991.

Hon. Goodall Gondwe, former Chair of the ACBF Board of Governors and Minister of Finance – Malawi
Ken Ofori Atta

Ghana’s partnership with ACBF is a tremendous blessing for us and therefore the opportunity for Ghana to host the 26th ACBF Board of Governors Meeting is something that we treasure.

Hon Ken Ofori Atta, Chair of the ACBF Board of Governors and Minister of Finance - Ghana