Educo Launches Project to Improve Education Access in Northern Burkina Faso Amid Security Crisis

GOURCY, BURKINA FASO — On Tuesday, March 5, 2024, the international NGO Educo unveiled a new initiative in Gourcy aimed at bolstering education for children impacted by the ongoing security crisis in Northern Burkina Faso. The launch of the project, named Strengthening Access to Resilient, Safe and Inclusive Education (READ), was presided over by Issouf Ouédraogo, the Governor of the Northern Region.

According to Burkina Information Agency, the Technical Secretariat for Education in Emergency Situations (ST-ESU) of the ministry responsible for education, the security situation has resulted in the closure of 844 schools, affecting 163,805 students in the Northern region. Educo’s READ project aims to address the educational needs of these children by enhancing access to and the quality of education through a comprehensive approach. Raphaël Noungou, the head of the READ project, outlined the project’s goals to improve educational access for girls, boys, and adolescents in the region, emphasizing the creation of educational infrastructure, scholarships, specific supplies and materials, training for educational stakeholders, awareness campaigns, food support, and organization of support courses.

The initiative also includes activities to promote protection and social cohesion within schools. Lucie Gounabou, speaking on behalf of Educo’s Country Director, urged all stakeholders to engage with the project to fulfill the organization’s mission of building a world where all children enjoy their rights and live in dignity. The project will directly benefit 14,980 children and adolescents, including 7,790 internally displaced persons, across 25 primary and post-primary schools in Ouahigouya, Gourcy, and Yako.

During the project’s unveiling, Governor Issouf Ouédraogo encouraged all partners, including the Tabital Lobal Association and the Network for Social Promotion (REPROSO), to work in coordination for the project’s success, highlighting its alignment with the state’s educational policy. The READ project, with a duration of 24 months, is supported financially by the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) with 524,765,603 FCFA and co-financed by Educo with 27,619,240 FCFA. Educo, having worked in Burkina Faso for 20 years, continues its commitment to assisting children in vulnerable situations across 14 countries worldwide.

Kenya’s Education Ministry Seeks Waiver for Public University DebtsAddis Ababa Residents Pledge Unwavering Support for Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam

NAIVASHA – The Ministry of Education is engaging with the Ministry of Finance and other stakeholders to potentially waive a portion of the substantial pending bills that public universities in Kenya currently face, which amount to more than Sh75 billion, announced Principal Secretary for Higher Education and Research Beatrice Muganda Inyangala. This initiative aims to alleviate financial pressures on these institutions, particularly regarding statutory deductions not remitted due to funding shortfalls.

According to Kenya News Agency, discussions are ongoing with the Treasury and the Pending Bills Committee to explore the possibility of the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) waiving dues owed from unremitted statutory deductions, such as Pay As You Earn and National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF), allowing universities to settle other outstanding debts. This move is considered crucial for the financial stabilization of public universities, which have accrued a total of Sh82 billion in pending bills over the last five to six years, primarily due to inadequate government funding.

The government previously employed a Differentiated Unit Cost (DUC) funding model, under which it covered 80 percent of the course costs for students, regardless of their socioeconomic status. However, only 68 percent of the required funding was disbursed over a six-year period, leading to the accumulation of debts. In contrast, Dr. Inyangala highlighted that the new funding model has increased universities’ budgets by Sh38 billion to accommodate growing student numbers and the introduction of new programs aligned with job market demands.

With student enrollment reaching approximately 563,000 in the 2022/23 academic year, public universities depend heavily on government subsidies. Despite an allocation of Sh44,023,955,000 from the Treasury for the 2023/24 financial year, universities faced a deficit of Sh27,921,094,600, deepening their financial crisis. President Ruto has promised an increased budgetary allocation of Sh84 billion for the upcoming fiscal year, though this commitment is challenged by a shortage of funds at the Treasury.

During a meeting with vice-chancellors and deputy vice-chancellors in Naivasha, organized by the Commission for University Education (CUE), discussions focused on preparations for the implementation of the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) by 2029. Dr. Inyangala underscored the efforts of local universities to align their curricula with the demands of the new education system, particularly in areas such as sports science, creative arts, and STEM.

CUE CEO Professor Mike Kuria emphasized the need for more professors and doctoral graduates to meet the growing demand for quality education and announced measures to enhance human capacity, including sponsoring teaching staff for doctoral studies abroad. He also pointed out the continuous efforts of universities to mobilize resources and secure alternative funding through research proposals and grants.

The initiative reflects a concerted effort by Kenya’s educational authorities to address the financial and operational challenges facing public universities, ensuring they are equipped to offer quality education and adapt to the demands of the CBC system.

ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA — Residents of Addis Ababa have expressed their continued support for the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), promising to back the project until its completion. The Office of National Coordination for the Construction of the Dam announced on Wednesday that the construction of GERD has reached 95 percent completion. As the 13th anniversary of the dam’s foundation laying approaches at the end of this month, approximately 19 billion Birr has been raised through public contributions.

According to Ethiopian News Agency, the GERD is seen as a crucial hydropower initiative that symbolizes the path to overcoming poverty and achieving collective development. The residents’ enthusiasm has been buoyed by the project reaching 95 percent completion, reinforcing their commitment to supporting the dam’s progress.

Megersa Yiyi, one of the city’s residents, told the Ethiopian News Agency (ENA) about the collective effort Ethiopians have made over the years, purchasing bonds worth billions of Birr to fund the dam’s construction. This year has been no exception, with continued financial contributions reflecting the public’s joy and motivation towards the dam’s nearing completion.

Yasin Hussain views the GERD as a beacon of Ethiopian unity and optimism for the nation’s future, emphasizing its significance as a self-funded project without international support. This achievement demonstrates Ethiopia’s capability to independently develop and execute major projects, instilling a sense of pride and hope among Ethiopians.

Eleni Teshome highlighted the dam’s importance as a national treasure for future generations, sharing her personal contributions through fundraising campaigns and bond purchases. Her efforts aim to inspire others to contribute to this national endeavor, underscoring the collective responsibility to secure a prosperous legacy for Ethiopia’s children.

The completion of the GERD is anticipated to conserve Ethiopia’s water resources, which have been underutilized, and to cement a united effort in leaving a lasting legacy on this significant infrastructure project. Residents are convinced that the dam will not only enhance Ethiopia’s energy capacity but also symbolize the country’s journey towards self-sufficiency and sustainable development, ensuring a brighter future for upcoming generations.

Partech Africa Fund II Hits $300 Million Cap, Showcasing Investor Confidence

The global technology and digital company investment platform, Partech, has successfully completed the final closing of its Partech Africa Fund II.

According to Africa News Agency, achieving a significant financial milestone with a cap of $300 million. Cyril Collon, a general partner at Partech, highlighted the overwhelming support from the investment community, noting that nearly all investors from Fund I have reinvested, with some doubling their commitments. This achievement underscores the growing investor confidence in Africa’s technology sector and Partech’s pivotal role in fostering digital and technological growth on the continent.

Coris Bank International Guinea Partners with International Finance Corporation to Support Local Trade

GUINEA — In a strategic move to enhance trade development and diversify financial services, Coris Bank International Guinea has partnered with the International Finance Corporation (IFC).

According to Africa News Agency, The collaboration introduces a $5 million trade finance credit line aimed at supporting CBI Guinea. This initiative is designed to aid small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in their import-export activities, thereby contributing to the strengthening of Guinea’s local economy.

Savelugu Textile Factory to Boost Ghana’s Economy with German Support

SAVELUGU, GHANA — Northshore Apparel Ghana Ltd is set to construct a £10.3 million textile factory in Savelugu, Northern Ghana, with financial backing from a German initiative.

According to Africa News Agency, the project has received a £2.5 million grant to support its establishment. The factory will focus on producing sportswear, workwear, children’s clothing, underwear, and promotional items, with an annual production goal of seven to eight million garments. These products are primarily destined for the US and South African markets, highlighting the factory’s potential impact on Ghana’s export sector and its economy.