Designing Education and Workforce Development for Africa’s Future

Friday, March 24, 10:30 AM - 11:45 AM PST

Session Description

Amid Africa’s population boom comes a rising need for quality education for youth. According to the state of Global Learning Poverty (2022), 80% of 10-year old children in Western and Central Africa are unable to read and understand simple text. More than 32 million children are out of school, the largest on record compared to regions worldwide.
How can we reimagine education in Africa? This session focuses on understanding new perspectives and research on innovations in teaching, learning, and infrastructure that help youth build a thriving future for Africa and themselves.
  • What are examples of effective educational models and policies supporting youth in Africa?
  • What role do communities play in creating an ecosystem for both formal and informal learning?
  • What is the role and value of digital learning platforms for African communities? 
  • What skills training, tertiary education, and industry preparation will be needed as individuals pursue various trades and career paths?


Patrick Awuah

Founder & President, Ashesi University

Patrick Awuah is the Founder and President of Ashesi University, an institution that has gained a global reputation for innovation and transformation. Located in Ghana, Ashesi aims to contribute to a renaissance in Africa by educating a new generation of ethical, entrepreneurial leaders with the critical thinking skills and ethical courage it will take to transform their continent. Over 1600 Ashesi graduates are now working across sectors and countries to tackle some of the continent’s greatest challenges. Before founding Ashesi University, Patrick worked as a Program Manager for Microsoft where, among other things, he spearheaded the development of dial-up internet working technologies and gained a reputation for bringing difficult projects to completion.


Philip Clay

Phillip L. Clay

Professor and Former Chancellor

Phillip L. Clay, Ph.D. is the former Chancellor of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Professor of City Planning. He served as Chancellor from 2001 to 2011. He was a Founding Director and Vice-Chair of the MasterCard Foundation Board, 2007-16. Professor Clay is active in higher education. He is an Advisor to the Africa-American Institute and is a Trustee of the Aga Khan University with campuses in East Africa and South Asia. Professor Clay has an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Johannesburg. Professor Clay resides in Boston.


Nicholas M. Bassey

Nicholas M. Bassey

Deputy Vice President, Congressional and Public Affairs, Millennium Challenge Corporation

Nicholas M. Bassey is Deputy Vice President for MCC’s Department of Congressional and Public Affairs, where he works to strengthen relationships with Congress, NGOs, businesses, government officials, and the U.S. public. His portfolio includes the planning, implementation, and oversight of domestic and international communications, media relations, events, and digital and outreach strategies, as well as nurturing strategic relationships with key partners. Mr. Bassey previously served as Division Chief for Private Sector Engagement (PSE) Institutional Capacity in the U.S. Agency for International Development’s PSE Hub. There, he fostered strategic alliances to enhance the Agency’s capacity to leverage private sector resources for international development.

Olivia Lynch, Ed.D

Education Coordinator, The Africa America Institute and Independent Educational Consultant

Dr. Lynch’s experience as an educator in New York and California is multifaceted, having served as a teacher, principal, director, superintendent, leader of educational organizations, professor of education, and educational consultant. Dr. Lynch deeply believes and knows that education is key to promoting positive life outcomes for all students. She received her B.A. from New York University, her M.A. from Adelphi University, her principal and district leadership certificates from The City College of New York, and her Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) from Mills College. She was also the recipient of a Revson Fellowship from Columbia University. Her research, presentations, workshops, and writing focus on school creation and innovation, educational leadership, culturally responsive curriculum and teaching, English Language Learners, and urban education.
Clarence George III, Ph.D.

Clarence George III, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Pan African Studies Program, Department of Ethnic Studies, California State University, Sacramento

Dr. Clarence George III’s research focuses on Afrocentric pedagogy and African historiography. In addition to the study of Afrocentric pedagogy, Dr. George III has a strong concentration in the study of classical civilizations such as the early civilizations of the Great Lake region of central Africa and early Nile valley civilizations. Dr. George III holds a bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies from Sacramento State University, a Master’s degree in Ethnic Studies from San Francisco State University, and received his Ph.D. from Michigan State University in the Department of African American and African Studies. He is also a member of the Ankh Maat Wedjau honor society.
Martha Saavedra

Martha Saavedra

Associate Director of the Center for African Studies at the University of California, Berkeley

Martha Saavedra is the Associate Director of the Center for African Studies at the University of California, Berkeley where she manages the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program, other Center fellowships and public programs. She received a PhD in Political Science at Berkeley and has taught at St. Mary’s College of California, Ohio University, Escuela de Estudios Universitarios Real Madrid and UC Berkeley. In addition to her work on gender, development, and sport, she has also researched agrarian politics and ethnic conflict in Sudan, representations of Africa in Chinese popular culture and mental health support services at African universities. She is a board member of Sports Africa and Soccer Without Borders.