I came across a fascinating and thought-provoking web site on higher education in Africa. I'll just quote from the first page directly to give an idea of its scope:
University enrollment rates in sub-Saharan Africa are among the lowest in the world, averaging 5%. International economists have often considered this fact irrelevant to Africa’s development and have advised African governments to reduce university budgets. However, the correlation between university enrollment rates and national income is strong (see Figure).
Low enrollment rates [in Africa] are not caused by lack of qualified applicants. Recent graduates of universities throughout Africa, surveyed in 2006, described exploding demand for higher education in most African countries, with overflowing classrooms and families pooling money to send one child to college. Rising demand means that students come from a wide range of family backgrounds and incomes. Universities in Africa, as anywhere, can be engines of social mobility.
This website presents the writings and experiences of these students and resulting recommendations for concrete policy actions to help 1) expand university access in Africa, 2) strengthen university education and training, and 3) retain university graduates.
Also interesting is the material on Computing and Online Knowledge. For example:
Access to the internet is so desirable to students in Africa that they spend considerable time and money to get it. Many students surveyed, with no internet connection at their universities, resorted to private, fee-charging internet cafes to study and learn. The fees are not small: several US$/hr, exceeding in many countries the average daily income. One student reports spending large amounts of time walking to the internet cafe because he could not afford both the internet fee and the taxi fare. (Imagine, by analogy, U.S. college students walking for hours and paying $100/hr to do optional reading). Connection to online knowledge is valued enough by students in Africa that they will make that sacrifice.