SU International’s role in African Higher Education strengthened

Stellenbosch University International's (SU International) long involvement with the African Higher Education sector is expanding further with the official launch of the Africa Centre for Scholarship (ACS) on 24 November 2018. SU will not only launch the ACS but also celebrate African University Day, that took place on 12 November. Celebrations will include an African University Day dialogue with Prof Jonathan Jansen, distinguished professor in the Faculty of Education at SU, who will deliver a keynote address. Jansen is also the former vice-chancellor and rector of the University of the Free State. He will lead discussions about higher education and scholarship on the continent.

SU has been viewing African Higher Education as an important sector collaborating with the Association of African Universities (AAU) and African Universities in developing Higher Education in Africa.

The University's mission is to develop a framework for SU's African footprint beyond South African borders, inter alia by expanding scholarship development initiatives across the continent through the utilisation of existing, or the establishment of new, partnerships, has been a main strategic focus point, said Prof Hester Klopper, Vice-Rector: Strategy and Internationalisation.

African University Day has been celebrated by higher education institutions since 2005. The day puts African Higher Education in the spotlight, while it gives an opportunity to reflect on progress, challenges and opportunities faced by this sector.

SU's involvement with initiatives to promote African higher education:

• The ACS that will be formally launched next week was established with the purpose of increasing SU's academic footprint in Africa. Prof Sarah Howie was appointed as Director for ACS on 1 July 2017. The ACS houses the African Doctoral Academy (ADA), initiates the development of a curriculum for scholarship development interventions and oversees its delivery through the ADA and joint doctoral schools. New initiatives include establishing a research unit focusing on the Internationalisation of Higher Education and mechanisms for promoting African scholarship. More ICT based interventions will also be developed to present capacity building programmes for young students outside of South Africa.

  • SU International's Centre for Collaboration in Africa (CCA) was established in 2016 to foster SU's African interests at an institutional level. 400+ registered active collaborative projects, in more than 42 African countries with more than 600 African collaborators explain the extent of the collaboration. The figure depicts the reported collaborative projects of SU staff with staff / universities / departments / research centres or organisations and individuals on the continent. The five countries with the most projects are: Kenya, Botswana, Uganda, Namibia and Nigeria with more than 300 projects between them.

SU sustains institutional has 18 institutional bilateral partnerships and six departmental agreements with 24 higher education institutions (HEIs) in Africa. For students and staff, mobility grants provide access to exchange programmes with these institutions.

•            African Doctoral Academy (ADA)

Since its establishment in 2009, the ADA has grown significantly and since 2012, 2 143 delegates have attended 141 workshops at the Summer and Winter Schools of whom 32% are from other African countries.

During the reporting period, the ADA presented two doctoral schools with 406 participants coming from a diverse disciplinary background with the largest groups being from AgriSciences (19%), Economic and Management Sciences (16%) and Arts and Social Sciences (29%):

ADA Summer School (January 2017): 218 participants with 16 presenters (including four presenters from KU Leuven as an extension of the preferential partnership between SU and KU Leuven).

ADA Winter School (July 2017): 188 participants with 18 presenters of whom 8 came from Belgium, Germany, Switzerland and the USA.

•            Africa Collaboration Grants (ACG)

The Africa Collaboration Grants (ACG) provides seed funding for full-time SU staff to establish or strengthen academic collaboration with one or more partners based at institutions elsewhere on the continent. Since 2010, there have been 100+ African Collaboration Grants awarded.

•            SU Students from African Countries

Currently 58% of international students at SU come from 42 African countries.  Of the more than 2 500 students from Africa, the five largest groups are from Namibia, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Zambia and Lesotho. It is evident that SU is an attractive destination for students from the rest of the continent, especially with regard to postgraduate studies.

•            African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA)

ARUA was launched in 2015 with the purpose of boosting continental research capacities and the need to develop first-class Higher Education for postgraduate training to address complex economic, social and developmental problems. There are 16 partner universities on the continent in this alliance.  The partnering universities are:

ARUA Partner Universities:

1. University of Lagos, Nigeria

2. University of Ibadan, Nigeria

3. Obafemi Awolowo University lle-Ife, Nigeria

4. University of Ghana, Ghana

5. University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

6. University of Nairobi, Kenya

7. University of Cape Town, South Africa

8. University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa

9. University of Rwanda

10. University Cheikh Anta Diop, Senegal

11. Makerere University, Uganda

12. University of Stellenbosch, South Africa

13. University of Pretoria, South Africa

14. Rhodes University, South Africa

15. University of Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa

16. Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia

            Bilateral and Multilateral African partnerships

The multilateral African partnerships etworks that exist with their focus areas are:

1.       TRECCAfrica I and II

(EU Intra-ACP)   Climate Change, Agriculture, Science, Food Science, Engineering and Governance. There are 65 mobility flows from the TRECCA 1. SU is coordinating the consortium.

2.       SHARE

(EU Intra-ACP)   Fisheries, Aquaculture, Agro-meteorology, Risk Management, Agricultural and Rural Innovation, and Plant Breeding.

3.       PAFROID

(EU Intra-ACP)   Engineering, AgriSciences.

Predominantly a Francophone network.

4.       AFIMEGQ

(EU Intra-ACP)   Food Security, Public Health, Engineering, Environmental Science and Biotechnology.

5.       P4HPT

(EU Intra-ACP)   Health Sciences, Public Health, Nursing, Medical Microbiology, Pathology and Dental Surgery.

6.       PANGeA

(Hosted in Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences)        The PANGeA network strives to develop research capacity. Members participate in exchange schemes, workshops and training seminars alternating between the seven partner campuses, joint projects and PhD supervision in the arts, humanities and social sciences.

7.       PERIPERI-U

(Secretariat in RADAR)   Periperi-U is a partnership of African universities spanning across the continent and is committed to building local disaster risk reduction related capacity. This network of 11 African HEIs, offer short courses and degree programmes in seven languages, thereby reaching DRR students and practitioners.

8.       RUFORUM

(Secretariat in Uganda)  This consortium with a focus on Agricultural Sciences, consists of 66 African partner universities operating within 26 countries. It has a mandate to oversee graduate training and networks of specialisation in the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), as well as to support the contribution and wellbeing of small scale farmers and economic development of countries throughout the sub-Saharan Africa region.


(Secretariat hosted by CCA within SU International)         The AU/NEPAD SANWATCE, a network of 11 partner institutions in Southern Africa and 5 in Western Africa, brings together institutions across Africa, who conduct high-end scientific research on water and related sectors, in order to achieve impact. It is mandated by the African Ministers of Water (AMCOW) and the African Ministers of Science and Technology (AMCOST) and is a member of the International Waters Network, with secretariat hosted by the University of British Columbia (UBC), Canada.