Home » Nigerian philanthropist Afe Babalola donates $12.2 million to King’s College London to empower African youths

Nigerian philanthropist Afe Babalola donates $12.2 million to King’s College London to empower African youths

by Mfonobong Nsehe
Afe Babalola

Nigerian philanthropist and lawyer Afe Babalola has made a donation of £10 million ($12.2 million) to King’s College London in a bid to empower and equip talented young Africans with the resources and opportunities that they need to make meaningful contributions to their communities and the world.

The generous contribution from Nigerian philanthropist and lawyer, who is the 93-year-old founder of Afe Babalola University, a private university in Ekiti State, Nigeria, will be used to establish the Afe Babalola African Center for Transnational Education at King’s College London.

The center aims to empower and provide opportunities for young Africans who would otherwise not have access to education.

Its vision is grounded in the belief that education can unlock the potential of talented young people and enable them to make meaningful contributions to their communities and the world.

To ensure accessibility to students whose journeys to higher education have been disrupted by conflict, displacement, or other transitions, the center will offer blended and online programs. Additionally, post-graduate-level modules that can be combined to create professionally recognized qualifications ranging from diplomas to master’s degrees will be available.

What Afe Babalola is saying about the King’s College London Partnership

Babalola expressed his enthusiasm for partnering with King’s College London, one of the first universities in the world to recognize the transformative power of education in providing quality education for underprivileged individuals during the 1960s.

“Partnering with King’s College London, to me one of the first universities in the world to appreciate the power of education to provide quality education for the underprivileged in the 1960s, is a project that is dear to my heart. This is the more so because education is the unquestionable panacea to ignorance, poverty, extremism, religious bigotry, and tribalism, among other vices,” he said.

Babalola further revealed that his contribution is a way of reciprocating the benefits he received from the University of London’s laudable and unique external degree program during the 1960s.

He added that without this program, he would likely have become an anonymous farmer or, at best, the secretary of a local motor union.

Professor Shitij Kapur, president and principal of King’s College, said the partnership between King’s and Babalola represents a shared commitment to the power of education and its crucial role in serving society. This aligns with the ethos upon which King’s was founded nearly two centuries ago.

What you should know

Babalola has had a diverse career, including stints as a pupil teacher, secondary school teacher, secondary school vice principal, university lecturer, economist, auditor, administrator, farmer, and educationist. He is now recognized as a leading legal figure globally, having risen to prominence on the African continent.

He credits the high-quality primary education he received as the foundation for his achievements and laments that such quality is no longer prevalent in most institutions.

His experience as chancellor of the University of Lagos from 2002 to 2007, as well as at other top universities in Nigeria, motivated him to found Afe Babalola University in 2007.

Afe Babalola University provides a comprehensive range of academic programs across six colleges, namely: sciences, law, engineering, social and management sciences, medicine and health sciences, and postgraduate studies.

Notably, the Engineering College spans 3.5 acres of land and is widely recognized as one of the largest in Africa.

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