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European-African Cooperation

Aiming for an overview of academic cooperation between EU and Africa, the European Parliament’s in-house think-tank published a well-rounded briefing. The document outlines the implementation of three elements of EU-Africa academic cooperation, namely the measures taken under the Erasmus+ programme, the Intra-Africa academic mobility scheme and the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) of the Horizon 2020 programme, as well as other initiatives involving higher education and research institutions from both continents.

The document also lists some key developments that have contributed to the current political willingness for strengthening collaborations in and between existing funding schemes, such as:

  • The 5th African Union – European Union Summit in November 2017,
  • African Union's strategic documents on education,
  • European Parliament’s resolution,
  • European Commission's high level conference on higher education collaboration in October 2019.

In the current Erasmus programme short time mobility exchanges, capacity building in higher education (CBHE), Erasmus Mundus Joint Master's Degrees (EMJMDs) and Jean Monnet activities were open to African institutions and individuals. A high increase of African beneficiaries is expected in the upcoming Erasmus programme. The Intra-Africa academic mobility scheme, funded by DG DEVCO’s Pan-African programme and the African Union, focuses on internal mobility consortiums in Africa.

As in Erasmus, there are several parts of Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions open to African institutions and researchers: innovative training networks (ITN), individual (postdoctoral) fellowships (IFs), research and innovation staff exchanges (RISE) and the COFUND scheme. Other activities include joint harmonisation initiatives such as The Tuning Africa initiative and The harmonisation of African higher education quality assurance and accreditation initiative (HAQAA).

The briefing further highlights that the EU-African cooperation is progressing, but that the scale of this cooperation is still inadequate given the number of African students and researchers. It can be expected that with the booming numbers, the appetite for cooperation with the EU will also grow.

Full briefing