Erasmus+ for Africa, and the EU-Africa Strategy
Agreements between European and sub-Saharan Africa universities have allowed higher education institutions in these continents to send or receive around 100 students and staff for short-term study or teaching so far. With new agreements to be adopted this summer, each year has seen some 70 to 80 students from the same region receive scholarships for Erasmus Mundus Joint Master degrees, with Ethiopia, Ghana and Nigeria supplying the most African students.
But Africa is more than student and staff mobility, as it has allowed for Erasmus+ capacity-building projects for youth, as exemplified by the JAMBO and CLICK initiatives:
JAMBO was a 12-month project that involved the increased participation of women and girls in voluntary projects and services based out of Uganda, Tanzania, and Kenya with the aim of improving the women's skills, knowledge and employability. The voluntary projects and services themselves (such as working in women's groups, children's centres, and anti-AIDS organisations) also helped raise awareness about gender and women issues in the region.
CLICK was a 24-month project that recognised the growing problem of a digital divide. In an attempt to breach this divide, CLICK has provided learning opportunities and an increased communication network between European countries and Latin American, Asian, and ACP countries. The project successfully helped young people from developing countries learn more about technology, improved their digital literacy, and increased their overall employability in a technology-dependent world.
The future is promising: in May, the European Commission released its latest EU-Africa Strategy ahead of the Africa-EU Summit in November. In terms of Erasmus+, this means more good news for the burgeoning educational partnership between these 2 regions. The communication on the new EU-Africa Strategy is particularly focused on the empowerment of youth, and vocational training mobilities will be coming in less than a year to improve skills and employability for youth in Africa and the EU.
This year's EU Development Days on 7 and 8 June in Brussels were an opportunity to share ideas and the best practices in the areas of development and youth. At a high-level panel on the first day of the event, Commissioner for Education and Culture Tibor Navracsics spoke about the EU's initiatives for youth empowerment in developing countries. With the new EU-Africa Strategy now up for adoption at the November summit, the future for youth and education in these regions looks bright.