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ACA members boost higher education cooperation with Africa

Science diplomacy and higher education cooperation with African partners remained a top priority for ACA members this autumn, with a plethora of events, activities, and projects taking place in a variety of settings. With these joint activities, stakeholders discussed opportunities for capacity building, exchange of good practice and know-how, technology transfer and partnership building between the two continents.

© OeAD_Nina Zuckerstätter

On 17-19 October, OeAD organised the second Austrian-African Research Network (Africa UniNet) General Assembly and Erasmus + Cooperation Seminar at Egerton University in Kenya. More than 130 representatives of universities and higher education institutions from Austria and 16 African countries convened to discuss international academic cooperation in the context of growing global uncertainty. The participants explored opportunities to establish new institutional partnerships between Austrian and African higher education institutions, including new mobility collaborations. During the General Assembly, the Austrian Academy of Sciences (AW) and the Austrian Foundation for Development Research (FSE) were officially admitted to the network, bringing the total number of members to 68, i.e., 26 from Austria and 42 from African countries. To date, 41 joint projects in more than 100 scientific disciplines were funded as part of the Africa UniNet. OeAD’s Austria – Africa Activity Report provides a a concise overview of the initiatives and programmes focusing on higher education cooperation with African countries.

In a similar vein, SEPÌE organised on 3-4 November 2022 a contact seminar in Luanda, Angola to promote cooperation under Erasmus+ in the Sub-Saharan Africa. Over 60 participants from five Spanish and 11 Angolan higher education institutions discussed new cooperation opportunities. The seminar was supported by the Spanish Embassy in Angola and hosted by the Agostinho Neto University.

In terms of programme-based cooperation, EDUFI published the results of the second annual call 2022 under the Team Finland Knowledge Programme earlier this year to support cooperation with higher education institutions in South Africa as one of the target regions. Overall, 13 cooperation projects between Finnish higher education institutions and South African universities were approved for funding.