Introduction by Cemile Hacibeyoglu, IFC’s Senior Country Officer for Ghana at The Education Collaborative 2022

Vice Chancellor for Accra Technical University, distinguished government officials, representatives from higher education institutions, cherished partners, private sector leaders, IFC colleagues, ladies and gentlemen.

My name is Cemile Hacibeyoglu, IFC’s Senior Country Officer for the Ghana cluster of countries, and it is my pleasure to welcome you to this seminar on Effective Employer Engagement.

As you know IFC, or the International Finance Corporation, is the largest global development institution focused on private sector in emerging markets. As a member of the World Bank Group, we work in more than 100 countries providing financing and advisory services for private sector development.

Needless to say, the private sector is nothing without people, skilled, educated people and higher education is critical in this effort.

The number of students in higher education is set to double over the next 3 years, with nearly all growth taking place in developing markets. What else is growing rapidly? Graduate unemployment.

Sadly, this divergence between the number of graduates and the number of graduate jobs is driven in part by mismatch between the graduates preparation and the skills employers need. Thus, we’re facing a paradox, but we also have an opportunity because this is a solvable problem.

IFC’s employability program in Ghana, helps higher education institutions prepare students for the workplace. IFC’s Vitae program specifically targets employability outcomes to produce graduates who can flourish in an increasingly global economy.

Since 2019, we have worked with The Ghana Tertiary Education Commission (GTEC) to improve the employability outcomes of technical universities across Ghana and enrich the educational environment of our students. Therefore, IFC remains committed not only to expanding access to high-quality tertiary education across Africa, but also expanding access to jobs upon graduation.

One such way is through industry partnerships – an effective method for educational institutions to ensure that students are working with cutting-edge technologies and gaining practical experience. Bringing together colleges, universities, and employers ultimately helps narrow the skills gap, implement educational programs, and meet market needs.

Advancing economic development depends on access to high-quality education and skills development. Ultimately, helping propel Ghana to a sustainable, long-term, growth, and economic transformation.

Universities and industry are natural partners for bridging the skills gap and sparking innovation. By seeking to understand industry and community requirements, we can provide high quality teaching that meets the needs of today’s local and global industries.

The seminar today will focus on effective frameworks to improve university-industry collaboration. Together we can create opportunities for our students and communities we serve, and IFC’s proud to support this work as we seek to advance employability outcomes for students and graduates.

Thank you very much for your strong support and belief that together we can continue to grow and strengthen graduate employability across Ghana and throughout the African continent.