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France looks to African research partnerships

France’s national research agency agence nationale de la recherche has renewed its calls for university partnership projects as part of the “Partnerships with African Higher Education program”.

Funding from France is available for “ambitious university partnerships” in 18 eligible African countries. Photo: Pexels

The winning projects that are selected by the ANR will be supported for four years

With nearly €20 million of funding from the French Development Agency, the program looks to finance “ambitious university partnerships” in 18 eligible African countries.

It forms part of the Welcome to France strategy, which is supported by the country’s ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Higher Education and Campus France.

“As the number of students in sub-Saharan Africa is expected to double over the next decade – to reach 22 million in 2030 – strengthening higher education systems appears to be an essential lever to support the diversification and resilience of economies and to promote sustainable development,” the announcement reads.

It comes after the first edition was launched in March 2020, just before the pandemic – despite its timing, almost 60 applications were filed with seven winning projects.

The program aims to offer successful African students the possibility for tuition in their country at bachelor’s degree level to meet the “needs of the socio-economic world”.

“The PEA program is open to the 18 African countries defined as ‘priority'”

It also aims to support players in French higher education for partnerships development, particularly in “strategic economic sectors” for the African countries.

Finally, it looks to open up movement for students and teachers between France and the countries concerned.

“The PEA program is open to the 18 African countries defined as “priority” by the Interministerial Committee for International Cooperation and Development,” the announcement adds.

The countries include Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guinea, Liberia, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, the Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Senegal, Chad and Togo.

Each selected project will subsequently led by a “consortium” coordinated by a higher education institution one of the selected countries, with “possible reinforcements” by other institutions.

The winning projects that are selected by the ANR will be supported for four years – each receiving around one and a half million and three and a half million euros.

Upon the announcement, the ANR quoted Emmanuel Macron’s speech in Ouagadougou in 2017 at Ki-Zerbo University: “Strengthening institutions and university courses means multiplying partnerships, exchanges, cross-training, dual degrees, which will meet the expectations of African students – and allow us to learn better from each other.”

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