Into Africa

Higher ed groups and U.S. back 11 partnerships in which American universities will help African peer institutions solve -- and take ownership of -- problems they've identified.
September 9, 2010

The federal government and leading college groups on Wednesday unveiled the next major step in their expanding effort to strengthen American higher education's role in helping African universities build their continent.

The U.S. Agency for International Development and the nonprofit group Higher Education for Development announced the awarding of grants of as much as $1.1 million to 11 pairs of American and African universities, each of which will team up to focus on environmental, education, energy or other issues in Africa.

The successful recipients were among more than 30 pairs of institutions that were awarded $50,000 planning grants in 2009. The 11 grantees were chosen based on five-year strategic plans that lay out 10-year visions in which each American institution will provide technical and other support to help its partner African university develop its own expertise to attack a problem that it has identified, said Peter McPherson, president of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities. APLU is one of several higher education groups that sponsor the Africa-U.S. Higher Education Initiative, which spawned the partnerships and announced the awarding of the grants.

McPherson, who headed the Agency for International Development during the Reagan administration, noted that the new initiative in Africa represents a return to the agency's funding of significant numbers of projects on that continent during the 1980s, but with a few twists.

This time, he said, the projects are focused less on importing American technical expertise and more on "African universities figuring out what they want to get done through U.S. partnerships, and the American universities trying to build capacity so that the [African] universities can help their countries solve their own problems."

"Compared to a generation ago, this is more African-centric," McPherson said.

The university pairs, and their projects, follow:


Back to Top