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Out of Africa

Neglectful rulers and faddish aid policies have led to the steady decline of African universities. Are they now due for a rebirth? Plus the truth about remittances

By Richard Dowden   February 2006

Rebirth of the African university Africa’s universities are in a dire state. Starved of funds, politicised, their lecturers mistrusted, their students suppressed, their libraries looted and their buildings left to rot, the once dynamic universities of Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Ivory Coast and Kenya are in ruins. As African countries became poorer in the 1980s and 1990s, they had less to spend on education. Africa’s rulers had little interest in universities, suspicious of institutions that brought together large numbers of bright young people to learn and discuss. Just as they sent their stolen millions to Swiss and British banks rather than investing…

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