I welcome you to African Business Centre for Developing Education (ABCDE) – A Pan African-based organization dedicated to bridging the gap between the expectations of industry and reality of education in Africa.
Looking back over the relatively brief period since ABCDE was established, I am overwhelmed at the level of interest and support ABCDE has garnered particularly among companies, industries, the private sector as well as the service sector. Currently companies supporting ABCDE’s activities include: Kama Group of Industries, Glico, Unilever, Microsoft, Poly Group, Centre for Development Initiatives (CENDIs), African Business Media (ABM), African Business Communication (ABC), Sea Front Properties, Ghana Business and Finance (GB&F) and British Council.
During my stay in office as the Education Minister of Ghana from 1998-2000,I realized that students both in the second cycle and higher institutions of learning lack non-technical skills and competencies that have always been an important part of effective and successful participation in the modern workplace. What is new about employability skills is the emphasis they are being given. Both the manufacturing and the service sectors as well as the enterprises are increasingly looking for employability skills, and as result students and graduates need to know what these skills are and how to demonstrate them. I knew I wanted to leverage the benefits of these non-technical skills to address the biggest challenges confronting students in their quest to look for employment in reputable organizations.
Fifteen years later, thanks to our supporters and corporate partners, the ABCDE has grown faster and reached more students in secondary and tertiary institutions than any of us thought possible. Today what began as an idea has evolved into a Pan-African based organization which aims to implement programmes initially in at least four African countries in order to provide effective strategies that bridge the gap between the expectations of industry and the reality of education. ABCDE will do this by connecting students to business alumni in long-term mentoring and coaching relationships that seek to develop the employability skills of students for the world of work.
Today, more than ever before in our history, we have the ability to work together to build a better world for young people in terms of preparing them for the modern world of work. And the organization’s story over the past 15 years has been one of people coming together, across boards, to implement real solutions to the biggest challenges confronting young graduates.
Through personal development planning workshops, seminars and other activities, mentors will work with students to equip them with personal development skills. Additionally, ABCDE works in schools to equip classrooms, lecture halls, libraries and laboratories with computers and ICT equipment, books, textbooks and education supplies. ABCDE’s activities also contribute to Curriculum research and development as we will seek to investigate the ways specific curriculum content can be tailored and added to in order to meet the needs of students in preparing them for the expectations of industry.
ABCDE was founded on the principle that leaders of industry have a fundamental right to engage and contribute towards the creation and development of quality education for students. ABCDE works with multiple partners. This partnership serves as a force multiplier, complementing programmes implemented by governments and non-governmental organizations in a coordinated and cohesive approach to help tackle the skills shortage in the job market.
The sad reality is that there is still a vast amount of work to be done to address and alleviate the problem of skills shortage. As such, ABCDE is on a mission. However, without the dedicated support and collaboration of all stakeholders and corporate partners, this vision will not be achieved. We therefore urge all stakeholders to support ABCDE in making this initiative a success.
On behalf of our Board of Trustees, staff, partners and supporters, we thank you for your interest and continued support.
H.E.Dr. Ekwow Spio-Garbrah
Founder & Chairman, ABCDE.