Education as a Priority in the African Union Annual Convention

The 47th Ordinary Session of the Permanent Representative’s Committee (PRC), convened from January 15th to 26th, 2024, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, underscored the imperative of transforming and empowering education. This convention serves as a platform for African leaders to assess the progress in addressing the continent’s challenges. In the opening session, leaders highlighted pressing issues such as the resurgence of military coups, pre- and post-election violence, humanitarian crises stemming from conflicts, and the profound impacts of climate change.

The 2024 theme, focusing on education, reflects Africa’s commitment to enhancing education and skill development to align with continental aspirations and market demands. Titled “Educating an Africa Fit for the 21st Century: Building Resilient Education Systems for Increased Access to Inclusive, Qualitative, Lifelong, and Relevant Learning,” this theme underscores the essential steps toward realizing the Agenda 2063.

The Executive Council (Ministerial Session), scheduled for February 14th to 15th, 2024, will precede the Assembly of Heads of State and Government on February 17th and 18th, 2024. The emphasis on the education sector underscores its critical role in fostering the continent’s growth, with significant implications for security, population management, gender empowerment, agriculture, digitalization, and migration.

H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, highlighted the potential of educational reforms to reverse the trend of poverty and enhance Africa’s attractiveness for investment, thereby fostering prosperity. He emphasized the importance of education in cultivating young people with intellectual, scientific, and ethical capacities to drive the continent’s transformation into a thriving living environment.

H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission engaging with a colleague

The theme of “Educating an African Fit for the 21st Century: Building Resilient Education Systems for Increased Access to Inclusive, Lifelong, Quality, and Relevant Learning” aligns well with Africa’s aspirations amidst the global shift toward the 4th Industrial Revolution.

H.E. Claver Gatete, Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), stressed Africa’s imperative to take a proactive role in the 4th Industrial Revolution to avoid missing out on opportunities. He highlighted Africa’s potential through education to develop technological capabilities that drive value addition in strategic sectors such as agribusiness, manufacturing, green transitions, and global health.

In addition to education, the conclusion of the African Union’s 2023 theme, focused on accelerating the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area, has yielded progress, as detailed in a forthcoming report for consideration by the Assembly.

The upcoming session will further deliberate on the roadmap for the 2024 education theme, preparations for the elections of the Members of the African Union Commission, institutional and financial reforms of the Union, agriculture, climate change, health advancements, and the empowerment of women and youth, among other pertinent issues.

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