Herbert Wigwe, the Group Chief Executive Officer of Access Holding Plc, has announced a significant investment of $500 million to establish a new university in Nigeria. Named Wigwe University, this institution aims to address the skills gap in the finance and technology sectors in Nigeria, Africa's most populous country.
The university will offer a hybrid, technology-driven approach to education, focusing on courses in management, science and engineering, information technology, and creative arts. Wigwe's vision for the institution is to match the quality of education found in advanced countries like the UK and the US, thereby reducing the trend of educational tourism among Nigerians.
This initiative comes at a time when Nigeria faces a critical skills crisis, as highlighted by the United Nations Children’s Fund, which reported that a significant portion of the world's out-of-school children resides in Nigeria. The country also grapples with high unemployment and substantial debt servicing, which leaves limited resources for education.
Wigwe's plan includes recruiting 30% of the teaching staff from the UK and the US to ensure a high standard of education. The annual tuition fee is set at about $12,500 plus 3.5 million naira ($4,171), a significant increase compared to the current fees in public universities in Nigeria.
Furthermore, the university aims to involve some of Nigeria's most prominent entrepreneurs, including billionaire Aliko Dangote, in mentoring the students. This is part of Wigwe's broader vision of fostering the next generation of leaders in banking and other sectors through quality education.
The university is set to enroll 1,400 students in its first year, with plans to expand to 10,000 students within five years. Wigwe's investment in the educational sector represents a substantial private contribution to addressing the educational and skills gap in Nigeria, potentially altering the landscape of higher education in the country.