Trade Commissioner Update: Scott Morriss — Austrade Africa

01 Mar 2022

Scott Morriss, Trade Commissioner for Africa, shares insights on education opportunities and trends across Africa. Market intelligence is included in this regional overview, which reports Africa will be a continually growing future source of international students and presents increasing opportunities for partnerships.

Hi my name is Scott Morriss and I am Trade Commissioner for Africa. My Team made up of colleagues and partners in Morocco, Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa cover most of the African continent and I am very happy to be talking to you today on the Education opportunities and trends in Africa.

Covid-19 Update

But first – I would like to cover the COVID situation. One prediction at the outbreak of COVID-19 was that Africa could be the epicentre of fatalities from the pandemic. This hasn’t happened. The record of rate of infections, fatalities and recoveries shows that Africa is the second least affected region of the world.

Today numbers across Africa of daily infections are low, anyone who wants a vaccine can get one easily and in most cases for free, and vaccination uptake amongst populations is increasing. Conversations around COVID across Africa are now centred on opening up economies again and loosening restrictions and getting back to business and back to class. A great example of this move towards a post pandemic optimism is the resumption of a lot of international and trans Africa flights. A particularly welcome development for African and Australia people to people links is the resumption of QANTAS flights between Johannesburg and Sydney three times a week – and likely to be more as border restrictions relax.

Free Trade Agreement

Another recent pan African development to take notice of is that Jan 2021 marked the first year of enactment of the African continental free trade agreement. AfCFTA aims at growing intra-African trade, simplifying and harmonising regulations and standards and increasing the cross-border mobility of businesses, people and investment. It is touted as a global game changer that will see the rise of the world’s largest trading block and huge economic growth. The engine of that growth will be young Africans hungry for high quality education and globally recognised skills and qualifications.

Diversification Strategy

So with all these positive very recent developments, now is the time to look at Africa as an important part of your diversification strategy. The statistics are compelling.

By 2030 one in four college aged people on the planet will be African, and by 2050 Africa's total population will reach nearly 2.5 billion people. On current population growth trajectories, Africa is due nearly equal the population of Asia by 2100 – with a great proportion of this population being young, multilingual, and entrepreneurial. In short – Africa will be the global work force and talent pool of the future.

Today, the continent has around 1.34 billion inhabitants, with Nigeria, Ethiopia, and Egypt as the most populous countries.

Though poverty, security and environmental problems remain key challenges for many African countries, it is worthwhile to note that prior to COVID Africa had some of the fastest growing economies on earth as well as large numbers of students seeking a high-quality education abroad. In the last few years, Nigeria alone sent roughly 90,000 students abroad a year to study undergraduate or post graduate degrees. I should also point out that of the just under 10,000 African students that chose Australia to study abroad in 2019, the average spend per student in Australia was high – more than 10% higher than the global average.

A significant driver for so many Africans going overseas to study is that though many qualify for entry into higher education, many African countries struggle with capacity to provide places domestically for education and training to their growing and youthful populations.

So this means Africa will not only be a continually growing future source of international students but also that its Universities, Colleges and TVET institutes will be hungry for new partnerships that can help them improve capacity and delivery of education and skills through innovations in EdTech, curriculum development and content as well as teacher training capabilities.

So Africa should be an important part of your overall future strategy to grow your overseas source markets, presence and new institutional partnerships. Please contact Austrade in order to find out more. Thank you.

Scott Morriss — Trade Commissioner, Austrade Africa.

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