The partnerships between European Union and Africa under the Erasmus+ programme sharply increased in the last years, allowing 26.247 exchanges to take place since 2014. The additional eur 17,6 million have been provided by the EU Trust Fund for Africa, which aims to reach more countries, provide always more funding and promote the participation, especially of young people, in these development projects.
During his state of the Union address in 2018, Commission’s president Jean-Claude Juncker launched the new Africa-Europe Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Jobs. It stated the necessity to “build a true partnership among equals and deepen the EU’s economic and trade relationship with Africa, through strategic investment and job creation”. The goal within the end of the seven-year period 2014-20 is to reach 35.000 mobilities.
Mobilities for teachers and learners are the most popular initiatives. Students, researchers and staff traveled through short-term Erasmus+ University exchanges between Africa and Europe.
There have been also many projects under capacity buildings in the field of youth. Between 2014 and 2018, 206 projects in Africa have been approved, covering 39 African countries from Benin to Zimbabwe. 8.500 young people and youth workers from European and African countries are involved. Projects cover topics from human rights to inter-cultural dialogue, migration, rural entrepreneurship, digital empowerment and innovative learning platforms.
Capacity Buildings in Higher Education are very important instruments too. Since 2015, 146 projects have focused on Africa. The 35 projects involving African institutions selected in 2019 are helping to foster innovative learning and new methodologies, supporting entrepreneurship, laboratories of Innovation and Business for Young
Actors of Start-ups, new study programmes on climate change.
Almost 1.200 have also benefited from Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degrees scholarships, in order to spend a period of studies abroad in the above mentioned countries.
A new project for mobility in vocational education and training (VET) has been launched, covering a three-year period. it is a pilot project, the selection of the institutions is still ongoing. It aims to develop technical skills and revitalise vocational education.
This pilot project will offer an Erasmus-type cooperation between VET providers in the EU Member States and all regions of Africa, combining capacity building and learner and staff exchange programmes in the priority fields of engineering, manufacturing and construction, agriculture and tourism/catering.
“Empowering young people in Africa is key in building a better future. This means promoting education, and this year, we have focused in particular on boosting cooperation with businesses to ensure that young people in Africa acquire all the skills they need for their professional life” said Tibor Navracsics, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport.
“Our Africa-Europe Alliance is first and foremost about people. We want to invest in quality education in Africa. We want to strengthen the connections between European and African students and higher education institutions. Giving them the chance to exchange know-how and inspire one another will boost inclusive socio-economic growth, and reduce poverty and inequality. On top of this, it will equip African students with the skills they need to find decent jobs” also commented Neven Mimica, Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development.