The state of tertiary education in Africa

It’s not looking so good, according to this graph showing gross spending* on higher ed in PPP terms, from Understanding Society:

It puts me in mind of a chapter from Easterly’s Elusive Quest for Growth, wherein he asks if it’s the case that African investment is low because there’s insufficient skilled labor on the continent – or whether Africans see few incentives for education when their job prospects on the other end are dim.  The obvious vote is for both.  See also Iyinoluwa Aboyeji on why the development industry should be funding universities in Africa rather than additional Centers for the Study of Development at Western universities, and Marginal Revolution for some interesting general thoughts on incentives for education in low-income countries.

*Thanks to Alison Cummins for pointing out that this is gross expenditure and not per capita!

6 thoughts on “The state of tertiary education in Africa

    1. Hi Stephen – fair point (and here’s the original for other interested readers: It looks like Worldmapper hasn’t updated their graphics since then. My guess would be that the global distribution of spending hasn’t changed incredibly much over a timeframe as short as a decade, but you’re right that this could be missing interesting movements on a country-specific level.


  1. The University of Sierra Leone is grossly under funded.This situation has led to lack of adequate classrooms,teaching and learning materials,poorly eqipped labortories,no adequate water supply and poor infrastructure.


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