Human Capital Africa has called on policymakers in Sub-Saharan Africa to respond to the learning crisis in the region.

The call was contained in a statement on Monday by the Senior Media Consultant, HCA, Mr Ozioma Ubabukoh, to announce the launch of HCA at the 27th Nigerian Economic Summit.

HCA, launched on the sidelines of the NES27 themed ‘Securing our Future: The Fierce Urgency of Now’, is an accountability and advocacy initiative spearheaded by Nigeria’s former Minister of Education and World Bank Vice President, African region, Dr Obiageli Ezekwesili, it noted.

According to the World Bank, ninety per cent of the children in SSA do not achieve basic reading and numeracy skills by the age of 10, the statement added.

“This is an alarming statistics, especially when compared to developed economies where only one out of 10 children do not achieve basic literacy and numeracy skills at the same age.

“To fix this, HCA will seek to collaborate with a broad set of stakeholders across the continent, leveraging evidence-based advocacy to mobilise governments and policymakers to take actions that improve early learning outcomes for children and drive the accountability needed to deliver change at scale across SSA,” it read.

The initiative also pledged to help policymakers with the right will to gain access and understanding of globally-proven interventions, which could easily be adapted to address their countries’ specific situations.

The group stated, “The launch marks the beginning of pan-continental collaborations that seek to bridge the gap between evidence and action to improve learning outcomes for children under the age of 10, across SSA.

“HCA will work to foster collaboration and cooperation across public and private sectors’ leadership with civil society and the public to move human capital – starting with fixing Foundational Literacy and Numeracy – to the centre of Africa’s development strategy.”

Ezekwesili, who is the Chief Executive Officer, was quoted as saying that this year’s theme for the NES resonates strongly” with HCA’s vision to give boys and girls in SSA the necessary education and tools to live productive and meaningful lives.

“Africa’s growing youth population makes this intervention necessary, if we are to reverse the downward learning trend and unlock the dividends that can only come when children can read for meaning and understand basic mathematics. We do not want the children of the poor to continue being left behind in failing public school systems and in turn growing into poverty in their adult life,” she added.

The Leadership Team Member of HCA and Managing Director of The Education Partnership Centre, Dr Modupe Adefeso-Olateju, said, “We consider this a call to action for all policymakers, donor organisations, civil society organisations, teachers and parents. We urgently need to secure our children’s future, a cause important enough for all of us to unify for.”

Also, the Chairperson, Advisory Board of HCA and former President of Malawi, Joyce Banda, said, “Africa will soon be home to more than 50 per cent of the world’s youth. We owe them the opportunity to be productive members of the workforce, contributors to the global economy and society. This will not happen if nine in 10 of them do not achieve basic literacy and numeracy.”

Guest speakers at the launch included the former President of Tanzania, Dr Jakaya Kikwete; Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki; the Olu of Warri’s wife, Olori Atuwatse III, among others.

“To learn more about HCA and our work, please visit our website at www.humcapafrica.org,” the statement added.

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