The European Commission (EC) has released a Communication (Joint Communication for a renewed impetus of the Africa-EU Partnership) that gives renewed impetus to the two continents’ cooperation on shared challenges in a range of areas, with two main foci: 1) building more resilient states and societies, and 2) creating more and better jobs, especially for youth. With regard to cooperation in education and training, the Communication draws up a range of actions - new initiatives to be rolled out and existing ones enhanced - aiming to drive quality in and widen access to education. Particularly, support for youth empowerment and vocational education and training is extended in a series of flagship initiatives, including an EU VET Facility and an African Youth Facility, comprising a “Youth empowerment” programme, VET mobility programme and a reinforced network of Erasmus+ Students and Alumni from Africa.
In the Communication the EC proposes taking the partnership in the field of education and training to the next level by:
- Supporting quality education at all levels, including raising Africa’s participation in Erasmus+ to increase student and staff mobility as well as academic cooperation. Support is envisaged for regional mobility and harmonisation of higher education through cross-border programmes and addressing gender imbalances in access to and completion of primary and secondary education.
- Extending support for VET and entrepreneurship by enhancing capacity building and mobility in higher education through Erasmus+, including the development of pilot projects to extend VET mobility schemes to Africa, as well as providing support for the development of digital literacy and skills through an enhanced use of digital technologies and promotion of entrepreneurship, especially among women.
- Intensifying Africa-EU collaboration on research by fostering joint initiatives between researchers from the two continents, where Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions and Horizon 2020 projects will take on the task of enhancing professional development opportunities. Programmes as the The enhanced partnership seeks to align with Africa’s Agenda 2063 that aims to ‘catalyse education and skills and actively promote science, technology research and innovation’. Dealing with a rapidly growing young population, raising employment opportunities is a key objective for Africa where the 2063 Agenda in the first ten years sets important targets: 30% of secondary school leavers are to transition into higher education (40% being women), and those 70% not entering tertiary education should be provided with opportunities for skills development. So far, about 8 000 mobilities have been supported by Africa’s participation in Erasmus+ and the EU has set aside EUR 1.34 million in grants to promote primary, secondary and VET programmes till 2020, on top of which EUR 375 million are expected to be invested in support of global partnering initiatives.
European Commission – Press release
Fact Sheet & Flagships in support of the Africa-EU Partnership