Access Holdings Group CEO, Herbert Wigwe, to build $500 million University in Nigeria

Access Holdings Group CEO, Herbert Wigwe, to build $500 million University in Nigeria

Herbert Wigwe, the Group Chief Executive Officer of Access Holding Plc, is investing the sum of $500 million to build a new university in Nigeria.

The tertiary institution is said to help build skills needed for the finance and technology industries in Africa’s most populous nation.

According to the business mogul, Wigwe University—as it will be called— will be a hybrid, technology-driven institution centred around providing courses in management, science and engineering, information technology, and creative arts courses.

“The school will be hybrid. I don’t need 100 years or billions of dollars to achieve the same quality of education as we find in those schools. India is churning out a lot of developers through a single building”, Wigwe added.

Tackling Japa Syndrome in the Academic Sector

Furthermore, Wigwe said that with the aid of the burgeoning technology in the country, the institution can achieve the same quality of education as what is offered in advanced countries like the UK and the US, thus reducing education “tourism” in the country.

Notably, Nigeria confronts a significant skills crisis, with the United Nations Children’s Fund revealing that one in five of the world’s out-of-school children resides in the country.

Merely 11.8% of Nigeria’s working-age population is employed, and last year, a staggering 96% of the nation’s revenue went toward servicing debt, leaving limited resources for education.

Wigwe said this malaise can be addressed if more investors are drawn to the academy sectors in the country. According to him, the lack of funding has crippled the potential of the education system in Nigeria.

It is important to note that wealthy Nigerians prefer overseas education for their children, contributing to the enrollment of 44,195 residents in UK universities in 2022—the highest figure in eight years, according to the UK’s Higher Education Statistics Agency.

Among international students, Nigerians rank third in the UK, trailing only China and India, and show interest in Canada and the US.

Wigwe insisted that this narrative can be altered through robust investment and technology-driven innovation in the education system.

He said he is planning to recruit 30% of teaching staff from the UK and the US.

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Furthermore, the banker reveals that the tuition fees will be about $12,500 plus 3.5 million naira ($4,171) annually.

Currently, public universities charge less than $300 with the new hike in the tuition fee by the federal government.

Accordingly, the university will teach and mentor students and engage some of the country’s biggest entrepreneurs including billionaire Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man, Wigwe added.

“To get the next set of leaders in banking, you need to create the right education for them,
“When you look at the real contribution of education, it’s beyond that money. It changes people, it changes countries,” he added.

The university expects to enrol 1,400 students next year, which may rise to 10,000 in five years.


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