→The eLearning Africa
Ministerial Round Table
A high-level, inter-governmental meeting on ICT for education, training and skills development, taking place in conjunction with the annual eLearning Africa conference.
For the past twelf years, eLearning Africa has convened the Ministerial Round Table alongside eLearning Africa to provide an open platform to discuss challenges and exchange knowledge about leveraging technology for education, training and skills development.
The goal of the meeting is to facilitate open dialogue and generate practical recommendations that will have real-world impact on policy drafting and implementation.
Please note, the Ministerial Round Table is an invitation-only event.
MRT 2019 Theme and Key Discussion Points
The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA):
Learning, Training, Skills and Investment
African governments are taking important steps towards uniting the continent in what could eventually be the world's biggest single market. As such, it will potentially quickly become a magnet for investors keen to capitalize on the many opportunities already apparent in many rapidly growing African economies.
This year's eLA Ministerial Round Table has focused on the implications for the education and training sector and specifically on how Africa's labour force can be rapidly equipped with the skills likely to attract investors, partners and employers.
Last year's Kigali Declaration launched the African Continental Free Trade Area - one of the most significant agreements in African history. Initially signed by 44 African countries, it has laid the foundations for the creation of a single African market and customs union - not just for goods but for services, investments and intellectual property too. With the removal of tariffs and many non-tariff barriers to trade, together with the possibility of free movement of labour across the African continent, the potential economic benefits are enormous.
But, in order to make the most of this opportunity and to ensure that young people, in particular, benefit from it, what should African governments do now? How should they prepare their businesses and citizens? What policy decisions should be taken to make Africa's workforce attractive to investors? What should employers and workers do to make the most of the opportunities? Which sectors will benefit most from a free trade area and what skills will be required for the new jobs that will be created in them? What will be the effect of rapid urbanization and how can African governments create thriving, sustainable cities? What role can ICTs play in preparing Africans? How can technology help to ensure that the wealth of traditional African knowledge is not lost in the transfer to a new age of competition and interdependence?
With a population of 1.2 billion people and a GDP of $2.5 trillion, if all African Union member states sign up to it, the African Continental Free Trade Area could be a catalyst for lasting change and sustainable growth in Africa, enabling Africa to meet the goals set out in the UN's 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and, more specifically, the Agenda 2063, "The Africa We Want". What will be needed, however, to make the most of the opportunity will be a focus on ensuring that Africa's young people are ready to make the most of the opportunity. How can African Governments help to inspire young Africans, particularly budding entrepreneurs, and how can they provide them with the skills they will need? How can African Governments ensure that AfCFTA leads to improvements and does not lead to the introduction of a range of new problems? How can AfCFTA be truly African?
This year's eLearning Africa Ministerial Round Table has focused on the steps that should be taken now, the options open to Governments and businesses, and the role of African schools, colleges, universities and the private sector in preparing the continent for what could be the biggest change in African history. It has also looked, at how the attitudes, concerns and intentions of investors and job creators can be influenced, providing a detailed analysis of the role of education and training in attracting investment and laying the foundations of future prosperity.
The Ministerial Round Table has discussed the following thematic areas:
- The impact of an African Continental Free Trade Area on African economies and labour markets and thus education and training systems
- Priority sectors - where AfCFTA will create jobs and what those jobs are likely to be
- Skills - the skills that will be needed and how to provide them
- What investors want - a discussion with leading international investors about the education and training policy decisions necessary to make Africa's workforce attractive to them
- Learning, Education and Training - the role of schools, colleges, universities and the private sector to prepare the youth to compete in the new and expanded labour market and for the challenges to embrace the 4th Industrial revolution
- Technology - how ICTs can increase awareness and preparedness
- Entrepreneurs and AfCFTA - how Governments, the private sector, development partners and NGOs can work together to train young entrepreneurs and help them to take advantage of AfCFTA
- Cooperation - How African countries and external partners can work together to make a success of AfCFTA
- Labour Mobility: Recognition of Qualifications/Competences to facilitate implementation of the AFCFTA - Need for Regional/Continental Harmonization of Qualification Frameworks
- Regional Partnerships to strengthen Public - Private Dialogue in enhancing Applied Research and Innovation
- Conserving and Improving - how AfCFTA can lead to improvements and how Governments can avoid introducing new problems
- Tradition and technology - how ICTs can ensure African traditional knowledge survives and thrives in an era of rapid change
→ Previous Editions: communiqués & resources
The 11th eLearning Africa Ministerial Round Table took place in Kigali, Rwanda on the 26th September 2018 on the theme 'Towards a Knowledge-Based Economy'. The MRT was attended by ICT and Education Ministers from 14 African countries (Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Congo Brazzaville, Djibouti, Ghana, Gambia, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Uganda) together with invited guests from international organisations.
The 10th eLearning Africa Ministerial Round Table took place in Balaclava, Mauritius on the 27th September 2017 on the theme “Meeting the Sustainable Development Goals for Education - How eLearning and Digitalisation can Support Inclusivity, Boost Training and Encourage Skills Development.” The MRT was attended by ICT and Education Ministers from 17 African countries including Cameroon, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritius, Namibia, Senegal, Seychelles, South Africa, Togo, Uganda and Zimbabwe, together with representatives of leading companies and educational institutions.
In 2016, the 9th edition brought together Ministers of Education and ICT from across the continent to focus on African visions and national plans for change and the role of ICT-enhanced learning and training in them. The discussions gave participants both an idea of the scope, scale and variety of change underway in Africa, as well as an understanding of key factors in successful implementation strategies.