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Report reveals where Africa’s international mobility is heading

A new Campus France study, that draws on UNESCO 2013 and French government data, shows emerging patterns in African student mobility.  While global mobility overall has increased, African student mobility worldwide faces decline. The report finds that about 373 000 students from Africa pursued studies abroad in 2013. While this still represents about 10% of the worldwide international student body, this number nevertheless marks a stagnating trend compared with a 2011 high in African mobility - dropping mobility numbers by 9.5% from 2011-2013.

Sub Saharan Africa keeps steady, and exhibits roughly double the mobility rate compared to the global average. Although the increasing presence of various other sending markets on the world stage has affected the global share of African students, but the continents outgoing mobility continues to show growth. There are significant differences in the mobility rates across the continent and the list of key African sending markets is topped off by countries as Morocco and Nigeria. Algeria, Tunisia and Libya as well as Cameroon, Zimbabwe and Kenya follow down the line.


Looking at top choices of study destination for African students, South Africa places high on the list and Europe remains a key player with close to half of the continent’s students choosing to study at a European institution. Top destinations include France and the UK, although an overall decline of incoming numbers to Europe is observed. So where will African students orientate in their choice of study destination in the future? The report finds that an increasing number of students is giving preference to the Middle east. Notably, trends show that intra-continental mobility is rising substantially, with nearly one in five students opting to venture to other African counties for studies. 




Source: UNESCO, Campus France

African student mobility is seen to link to a match in the language background of students and that of the destination country. French and English are thus historically and up to this point, directing mobility flows in the continent.

Campus France – Full report: La mobilité internationale des étudiants africains.