Joint Africa – EU Strategy Conference
November 1, 2017
The Common Good First (CGF) project was invited to attend Joint Africa – Africa -EU Strategy Conference by the European Commission, a two-day international conference organised in the framework of the EU Erasmus + Programme. The conference was attended by representatives of 15 Capacity Building projects under the 2015-2016 Erasmus+ programme. The conference took place on 16-17 October 2017 at the Bingerville Campus, University Felix Houphouet Boiny Abdijan, Ivory Coast.
The main objective of the conference was to create a platform for a structured dialogue with students and alumni in Africa that are supported by the European Commission (EU) EU Erasmus + Programme to be part of creating the strategy for University Capacity Building 2018-2019. The exciting part was that Cluster Members that are part of the currently active 15 Capacity Building Projects Erasmus + African projects and UK partners were also given an opportunity to contribute to the discussion.
As highlighted by Paivi Hernesniemi, programme manager,
“The purpose of the 15 Project E+ Capacity Building in Higher Education Cluster Meeting was to create a greater awareness of the Erasmus + projects on the African continent and for the partners to get to know, learn from and to find ways of working together”.
As each representative presented their project it was evident that there were synergies that we could be forged for future collaboration. An opportunity was provided to give feedback in the plenary session, which was done by Ms Adelaide Sheik. The main reason was exposure for the Erasmus + students and alumni students to the types of projects the African Cluster was currently busy with, but to also attract greater involvement from the students. The incorporation and participation of the Erasmus + students was seen as a critical future opportunity to provide an additional level of practical involvement.
The dialogue resulted in a two page declaration that highlighted the significant areas requiring funding in light of capacity building for universities and students as seen from an African lens. One of the interesting areas highlighted for consideration, is that the Erasmus Plus fund has to extend the reach to students that can’t make it into a university setting, but that needs technical or vocational skills training. Being more inclusive is at the heart of meeting societal needs resulting in greater social impact.
The declaration will be presented at the EU-AU Summit in November 2017 for consideration and approval. The conference created a buzz of excitement and an opportunity for exchanges to happen in one form or another. The joint meeting is a first of its kind for the Project Cluster Meeting which turned out to be beneficial and hugely successful.