The Presidents of the University of Lomé and Clark Atlanta University signed a Memorandum of Understanding in Lomé, Togo today, in a partnership facilitated by the World Bank Group. The partnership will create opportunities for students and faculty to collaborate on research and promote more inclusive and sustainable social and economic development.
This follows a Memorandum of Understanding signed in October 2022 between the World Bank and six Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in the United States.
“Education is the bedrock of development. Africa’s economic transformation hinges on its human capital and the skills of its workforce,” said World Bank Group President David Malpass. “Recognizing the great interest by HBCUs in research exchanges and collaboration with strong African education institutions, bringing these institutions together has been a priority. I look forward to the World Bank Group’s continued role as a convening entity to help forge partnerships among educational institutions,” he said.
Two historic institutions consolidated to form Clark Atlanta University. Atlanta University, established in 1865 by the American Missionary Association, was the nation’s first institution to award graduate degrees to African-Americans. Clark College, established four years later in 1869, was the nation’s first four-year liberal arts college to serve a primarily African-American student population. Clark Atlanta University is the oldest HBCU in the southern United States and today has more than 4,000 students. The UNCF is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing financial support to minority students seeking higher education.
“The HBCU community commends the World Bank Group and President Malpass for facilitating this pivotal partnership, keen on making transformational impact,” said Dr. George Tony French, President of Clark Atlanta University and UNCF Chairman of Presidents. The cutting-edge research of Clark Atlanta and Lome universities will be further amplified through this transnational collaboration and represents an inflection point within higher education with creative modalities of engagement in the mission to eradicate extreme poverty.”
The largest university in Togo, the University of Lomé – which was founded in 1970 – hosts three African Centers of Excellence (ACE), the first large-scale African program funded by the World Bank in the higher education sector.
“Together with our partners, including the World Bank, African universities are modernizing and opening up more to the world for teaching and research in the service of sustainable development,” said Professor Dodzi Komla Kokoroko, President of the University of Lomé.
Since 2014, the World Bank has provided more than US$600 million through the ACE program to support more than 70 centers across 20 countries across Africa. In Western and Central Africa, the World Bank’s annual commitment for education tripled between 2018 and 2021 from US$400 million to US$1.2 billion.