New EU-Africa strategy: a major role for Erasmus+ and higher education cooperation

The European Commission’s new Communication on a renewed impetus of the EU-Africa partnership, launched this week, has strong focus on education and youth..

The new Communication sets out how the two continents can work together on common challenges, and in particular in the ways that Africa can deal with the impact of its rapid population growth and an increasingly young population. It is estimated that Sub-Saharan Africa needs to create 18 million new jobs each year up to 2035 to absorb new labour market entrants, compared to the 3 million formal jobs created today.

This will need to unlock and unleash the full potential of young people. There is a clear role here for education initiatives and Erasmus+. The Communication aims to launch new, or boost existing, initiatives including:

  • more African participation in the Erasmus+ programme: mobility of staff and students and academic cooperation to improve students’ skills and education quality and relevance
  • support to the harmonisation of higher education in Africa on the basis of experience gained in Europe
  • more focus on skills development with new pilot projects for VET mobility in Africa
  • developing the capacities of organisations that support young peoples’ mobility and active participation in society
  • support for alumni networks and activities in Africa

Press release – EU proposes enhanced partnership with Africa on peace and security, and job creation for youth