Overview of the UNESCO Office in Dakar

© UNESCO/Anne Muller
The Office of UNESCO Dakar, located in the heart of the Senegalese capital.

The UNESCO Regional Bureau for Education in Africa is based in Dakar, Senegal. It is the largest UNESCO Office in Africa.

Its mandate is twofold:

  • As Regional Bureau for Education, the Office covers all 46 countries of sub-Saharan Africa.
  • As a Cluster Office it represents UNESCO in seven West African countries (Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau. Mali, Niger, Senegal and The Gambia) in all UNESCO's fields of competence, namely Education, Natural Sciences, Social and Human Sciences, Culture as well as Communication & Information.

The official title is UNESCO Dakar, but most people in Dakar know it as BREDA (Bureau régional de l'Education en Afrique – Regional Office for Education in Africa).

The Mission

UNESCO Dakar's mission is to:

  • ensure that education, science, social and human sciences, culture, communication and information are placed on the top Member States’development agenda.
  • develop documents on major trends of the Organization’s fields competence for the countries covered by the Office (Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and the Gambia) and of education in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • ensure that the needs of Member States are taken into account when preparing the UNESCO medium term plans and biennium programmes.
  • ensure that UNESCO Dakar’s activities meet the needs expressed by Member States in the region.
  • promote partnership and ensure that Governments, regional and international IGO’s and NGO’s, other UNESCO’s offices in Africa, national commissions for UNESCO, the United Nations family, the international community and the civil society unite their efforts for the emergence of a peaceful and prosperous Africa.

Some 65 people work in the Dakar Office, which is directed by Ms Ann Therese Ndong- Jatta.

Historical Background

The Dakar office was created in 1970 initially to deal with educational planning in sub-Saharan Africa.

The Office progressively extended its activities to other sub-sectors of education as well as to UNESCO’s other fields of competence (science, human and social sciences, culture, communication and information).

Today, UNESCO Dakar is a multi-sectoral Office, although education remains its priority field of intervention.

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