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Opportunities exist for educational institutions in Africa to target students outside of their home countries. A new report by the World Bank, titled The Unexplored Potential of Trade in Services in Africa, highlights new commercial opportunities opening up in areas such as franchising and the twinning of academic programmes, which allows students to earn credits for courses from universities besides their own.
To take advantage of high demand for educational services, some African institutions have already established satellite campuses in neighbouring countries. For example, Kenya’s Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology has a presence in Rwanda. There is also potential to provide distance learning services by taking advantage of technological advancements. The Virtual University of Uganda – which uses digital multimedia to deliver online education – has, for instance, attracted foreign students from Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Somalia and South Sudan.
“These relatively new forms of trade are beginning to gain in importance in sub-Saharan Africa, and have high potential for further expansion… Trade in education and health services also features high on the agenda of policy makers and regional organisations in sub-Saharan Africa,” notes the report.