Former President of Malawi, Joyce Banda, and her Tanzanian counterpart, Dr Jakaya Kikwete, will on Tuesday, October 26, 2021 lead other dignitaries to launch the Human Capital Africa, an accountability and advocacy initiative.
The initiative seeks to charge policymakers to respond to the learning crisis in Sub-Saharan Africa, according to a statement by the Senior Media Consultant of HCA, Mr Ozioma Ubabukoh, on Monday.
Guests speakers and other dignitaries expected at the occasion are the Olu of Warri’s wife, Olori Atuwatse III, and Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki, it stated.
Spearheaded by Nigeria’s former Minister of Education and World Bank Vice President, African region, Dr Obiageli Ezekwesili, the HCA is to be launched on the sidelines of the 27th Nigerian Economic Summit themed, ‘Securing our Future: The Fierce Urgency of Now’.
“If we provide our children with a strong foundation in education, we can leave behind a legacy substantially greater than most are able to bequeath. I believe that the seeds of success in every nation on earth are best planted in children,” Banda, who is the chairperson of HCA advisory board, said,
The Chief Executive Officer of HCA, Ezekwesili, noted that this year’s theme for the NES resonated strongly with HCA’s vision to ensure that all boys and girls in SSA have the necessary education and tools to live productive and meaningful lives.
She said, “Africa’s growing youth population makes this intervention necessary, if we are to reverse the downward learning trend and unlock the dividends that can only come when children can read for meaning and understand basic mathematics. We do not want the children of the poor to continue being left behind in failing public school systems and in turn growing into poverty in their adult life.”
According to the statement, a 2019 World Bank report showed that nine out of 10 children in SSA do not achieve basic reading and numeracy skills by the age of 10.
“This is an alarming statistics, especially when compared to developed economies where only one out of 10 children do not achieve basic literacy and numeracy skills at the same age,” it noted
However, to fix this, the HCA said it would seek to collaborate with a broad set of stakeholders across the continent, leveraging evidence-based advocacy to mobilise governments and policy makers to take actions that improve early learning outcomes for children and drive the accountability needed to deliver change at scale across SSA.
HCA will help policymakers with the right will to gain access and understanding of globally-proven interventions, which can easily be adapted to address their country’s specific situation, it added.
On her part, the Leadership Team Member of HCA and Managing Director of the Education Partnership Centre, Dr Modupe Adefeso-Olateju, said, “We consider this a call to action for all policymakers, donor organisations, civil society organisations, teachers and parents. We urgently need to secure our children’s future, a cause important enough for all of us to unify for.”
The launch marks the beginning of pan-continental collaborations that seek to bridge the gap between evidence and action to improve learning outcomes for children under the age of 10, across SSA.
“HCA will work to foster collaboration and cooperation across public and private sector leadership with civil society and the public to move human capital – starting with fixing Foundational Literacy and Numeracy – to the centre of Africa’s development strategy.
“To learn more about HCA and our work, please visit our website at www.humcapafrica.org,” the statement added.
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