World Bank - IFC team visits Ashesi
by Sarah Mills with Akuba Agyeman Boakye
Ashesi University students, faculty and administrators interacted with a team of World Bank and IFC (a member of the World Bank Group) officials at the universityâ€™s premises on Tuesday, February 9, 2010. The team that visited were led by Ishac Diwan, Country Director for Ghana, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Sierra Leone and Liberia; Mary-Jean Lindile Ndlovu, IFC Country Manager for sub-Saharan Africa and Kyle Kelhofer, Senior Investment Officer.
The team first met with administrators and faculty; where Ashesiâ€™s President Awuah gave a brief overview of the universityâ€™s progress and plans for expansion. He outlined Ashesiâ€™s focus on building an environmentally-friendly campus with plans to harvest rain water, use building materials from the site, installation of biogas technology and even the possibly of adapting solar energy technology. â€śWe are excited about Ashesiâ€™s success so far and continue to imbibe in our students the importance of doing the right thing even when no one is watching; the basis of the universityâ€™s Examination Honour Code.
We are on a mission to change how Africaâ€™s leaders are educated by turning out graduates who are ethical, innovative and entrepreneurial,â€ť Awuah said. In early 2009, the IFC invested $2.5 million in Ashesi to enable the university begin the construction of a permanent campus in Berekuso, a village approximately 15 miles north of Accra. The first phase of construction will enable Ashesi to double its enrollment to 800 students. Kyle Kelhofer of the IFC said, â€śthe IFC chose to invest in Ashesi because of the universityâ€™s great business model, commercial viability and its developmental potentialâ€ť.
Ishac Diwan, Country Director emphasized Ashesiâ€™s importance, especially at this time in Africaâ€™s history where thereâ€™s the need for critical-thinking leaders who can make a difference. He said, â€śitâ€™s interesting to see in Africa, a place such as Ashesi, where students can question, think, share ideas and build bridges which, I believe will eventually lead to regional integration.â€ť
The team later met and interacted with a cross-section of student representatives for a question and answer session. Questions asked varied from the disbursement of Millennium Development Account funds; World Bank commitments; the structural adjustment programs of the 1980s; the situation in Haiti and the role of the International Development Association.
Mary-Jean Lindile Ndlovu and Ishac Diwan answered the studentsâ€™ questions. She reminded the students present about the quality of education Ashesi offers them and the importance of developing their critical-thinking and communication skills if they want to be successful.