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Summary and Outcomes - Building Brand Africa in Higher Education – Strengths and Opportunities to Reimagine Futures. 


Africa has the youngest population and the fastest growing middle class in the world, particularly in the sub-Saharan region, according to statistics published by the United Nations, UNESCO, and the world bank. This has led to unprecedented growth in the demand for quality higher education, which is set to continue until 2050 and beyond. 

Through QS Africa Forum held in Rabat, Morocco, organised by QS Quacquarelli Symonds and hosted by the Mohammed VI Polytechnic University, participants were able to engage in inspiring discussions and explore positives examples in higher education practice and projects on the African continent. The forum provided an opportunity for African higher education institutions:

  • To present the narrative from their point of view and to discuss the enormous potential on this continent from their unique perspective. 

  • Generate discussions around how higher education institutions can grow on the foundation of their strengths to benefit themselves, their local communities and have a positive influence on the future of education in Africa, which meets the needs of Africans and all those living on this great continent. 

  • Consider how to meet the needs of the continent’s young people, empower, and enable them to reach their best potential, recognise and publicise strengths globally and build a sustainable future full of opportunities that meet societal and educational needs.

  • Engage in debates exploring the need to work towards a sustainable and self-sufficient educational future to benefit the rich diversity of people and cultures that call Africa home.

  • Reimagine approaches to funding and investment in higher education –approaches and solutions for future sustainability, building infrastructure and technology. 

  • Discuss the untapped potential for excellence in the field of business education and graduate management education through leadership, employability, and skills for the future of work – the role of business schools and universities in bridging the skills gap and developing the full potential of young Africans for the 21st century and beyond. 

  • Showcase examples of interaction between universities, industry, and government by creating a regional and global scientific brand through research and innovation –- building ecosystems for the future.


Based on evidence from QS Quacquarelli Symonds proprietary data, there are examples of academic excellence in the region which deserve to be showcased globally. For this to happen it is important for different institutions and countries on the continent to understand their strengths and potential through the power of data. Access to accurate data can remove factors that can cause division and distrust from the discussion - and help countries understand their strengths and potential at regional, national, continental, and global level. Data and information can be a mirror which objectively tells us the facts that are vital to decision-making and highlight what is being done well but also to diagnose pain points and bring to light what can be done even better. 

The future of a considerable proportion of young Africans depends on being able to access affordable, high-quality locally available education. In building a unique, regional Higher Education brand that addresses the skills and scientific needs of the African continent, there is an opportunity to avoid replicating the errors of the past or those made by other nations and regions around the world. An opportunity to respect tradition and culture, while being open to innovation and growth, without replicating models that may not be viable in an African context.

It is hoped that the QS Africa Forum has inspired further discussion and opportunities for networking and collaboration between Higher Education institutions, which lead to positive outcomes and actions to shape a present and future Brand Africa in Higher Education and to building systems, frameworks, and quality assurance models, informed by accurate data and information. This will benefit all sectors of African education, academia, business, and industry and most importantly, the quality of education available to the core future capital of the African continent – its young people.

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