This report is a follow-up to the 2008 study published by the World Bank, Accelerating Catch Up—Tertiary Education for Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa, which spelled out the case for more knowledge-intensive growth in Africa and described the critical role of higher education in this endeavor. It examines current practices in financing higher education in Sub-Saharan Africa, taking into account the significant differences that exist among countries. Drawing on experience from around the world, the report also examines the range of policy options that could be considered in tackling the financing issue.
The report concludes that in most Sub-Saharan African countries, enrollment in higher education has grown faster than financing capabilities, reaching a critical stage where the lack of resources has led to a severe decline in the quality of instruction and in the capacity to reorient focus and to innovate. It makes the case for a comprehensive approach that would combine all the tools that can ensure more financially sustainable higher education systems. It is hoped that the publication of this report will enrich the ongoing debate within countries, among stakeholders, and between African countries and their development partners, so that informed by global good practices, the common goal would be to make higher education contribute to finding solutions to the developmental challenges facing Africa.