The Association of African Universities (AAU), representing over 200 university members throughout Africa, and the European University Association (EUA), representing over 800 universities and university organisations in 46 European countries, have embarked upon structured dialogue and cooperation on pressing issues regarding higher education and development in both regions.
Over the last two years the Erasmus Mundus project ‘Access to Success: Fostering trust and exchange between Europe and Africa’ has provided a platform for both organisations to engage the academic community, but also donors and regional governments in discussions on the role of universities and university partnership in development cooperation.
The resulting White Paper Africa-Europe Higher Education Cooperation for Development: Meeting Regional And Global Challenges refers to a wealth of university driven approaches and initiatives to enhance research and innovation, education and training, and economic and social development. It highlights the importance of interuniversity collaboration to ensure further progress, and outlines a number of recommendations to governments, donor organisations, universities and university organisations. It also makes specific reference to the Africa-EU Strategic Partnership, which will be the subject of the next Africa-EU Heads of State Summit (29-30 November 2010).
In this joint statement adopted by their Councils in October 2010, AAU and EUA reiterate the concern expressed in the White Paper that the role of universities in Africa, and in particular the potential for Africa-Europe university partnership, has hitherto not been fully recognised or addressed as an important element of the bi-regional political agenda. The two associations also provide specific recommendations for Heads of state, the African Union and European Union Commissions and the European Parliament.