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The EU has invested an additional EUR 17.6 million to support over 8 500 newly selected African students and staff to participate in Erasmus+ in 2019. The total number of exchanges between Africa and Europe now counts 26 247 since the beginning of the programme in 2014 and is on track to meeting the 2020 target of supporting 35 000 people, as announced in the Africa-Europe Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Jobs.
The additional funding of EUR 17.6 million – coming from the European Commission's (EC’s) external financial instruments and the EU Trust Fund for Africa – has increased participation of African nationals by 40% overall. It has made it possible to include more countries in the programme, such as Eritrea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Congo and Burundi, and to increase the number of exchanges, in particular for Benin, Cape Verde, Mali, Niger, Nigeria and Somalia. In addition, competing against the best students worldwide, 313 young students from 33 African countries were awarded scholarships for the Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree (EMJMD) programmes. African institutions are increasingly involved in teaching the EMJMD programmes, with 46 institutions from the continent collaborating in running the 44 programmes selected this year. They range from specialised universities to research institutes active in areas such as infectious diseases, biodiversity and ecosystems, or harnessing the power of cloud computing to benefit the environment.
On a related note, on 25 October, a high-level conference on higher education collaboration between Europe and Africa will take place in Brussels. The event is jointly organised by the European Commission, the African Union Commission, and four higher education stakeholder organisations of EU member states - the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the British Council, Campus France and Nuffic. The registration deadline is 10 October.