Press release – Launch of the Partnerships with African Higher Education (PEA) programme: France strengthens its support to African universities


Paris, 30 April 2020 - The French National Research Agency (ANR) has today published a new call for projects, financed by the Agence Française de Développement (AFD, French Development Agency) under the French “Welcome to France” strategy led by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, and Campus France. It aims to finance ambitious academic partnerships in priority sectors for the development of 18 eligible African countries.

In sub-Saharan Africa, university lecture halls are getting busier every year, in the context of strong demographic growth and improved access to secondary education. The number of students is set to double in the next decade, reaching 22 million in 2030. The strengthening of higher education systems is an essential means of supporting the diversification and resilience of economies and promoting sustainable development.

With this in mind, the French President stressed the importance of supporting the development of local higher education systems during his Ouagadougou speech in November 2017: “Boosting […] your colleges and university courses means bringing in more partnerships, exchanges, joint training programmes and dual degrees, which will meet [the] expectations [of young people in Africa] and allow each of us to better learn from the other.”

The current health crisis shows that it is more important than ever to structure integrated higher education and research sectors to help all countries prepare to respond to the common challenges of tomorrow.

The Partnerships with African Higher Education (PEA) programme is one aspect of the “Welcome to France” strategy presented by the French Prime Minister in November 2018. It will strengthen the policy for the reception of African students in France. With the two-fold aim of building the capacities of African establishments and fostering the international outreach of their French counterparts, it seeks to:

  • • Offer students from Africa the chance to find quality training in their countries and region from undergraduate level onwards, while addressing socio-economic needs;
  • Support French higher education stakeholders in developing partnerships, particularly in sectors that are strategic for the economies of the countries concerned;
  • Enable mobility for students and teaching staff between French and African establishments, in both directions.

This call for projects could be financed with up to €20 million from the French Government via the AFD, under the assistance policy for developing countries implemented by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs with the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation. It is operated by the French National Research Agency (ANR) and Campus France.


The PEA programme is open to the 18 African countries defined as priorities by the Interministerial International Cooperation and Development Committee (CICID): Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guinea, Liberia, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal and Togo.


Each project will be coordinated by a higher education establishment in an African country and one or more French establishments. It will focus on training at Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctorate level concerning a priority sector for the economic development of the country concerned.

The selection process for this call for projects will take place in two phases: candidates will have until 21 September 2020 to submit a preliminary project; shortlisted candidates will later be invited to submit a complete project. Selected projects will be supported for four years with funding of between €1.5 million and €3.5 million.

For any questions, contact: pea at
View the text of the PEA call for projects at:

About the French National Research Agency (ANR)

The French National Research Agency (ANR) is the funding body for research projects in France. It is a public agency under the supervision of the Ministry responsible for research, and is tasked with funding and promoting the development of basic and applied research, technical innovation and technology transfer, as well as partnerships between research teams in the public and private sector at national, European and international levels.

The ANR is also the leading operator of future investments programmes (PIA 1, 2 and 3) in the higher education and research sectors, selecting, funding and monitoring projects covering excellence initiatives, research infrastructure, support for progress and the promotion of research.

The ANR is ISO 9001-certified for all project selection processes.

Press contact:
Katel Le Floc’h | contactpresse at | +33 6 81 61 12 97

About the AFD

The Agence Française de Développement (AFD) is a public agency which implements France’s development assistance and international solidarity policy.
The AFD’s staff are involved in more than 4,000 projects with high social and environmental impact in overseas France and 115 countries, covering sectors such as the climate, biodiversity, peace, education, urban planning, health and governance. The Agency contributes to the commitment of France and its people to the Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs).

Press contact:
Lou Bachelier-Degras | bachelierdegrasl at | +33 6 26 87 91 46

About Campus France

Campus France supports the attractiveness of the French higher education sector and promotes it among international students. It is also responsible for managing the scholarship students of French and foreign governments, supporting students and academics in mobility programmes, managing the France Alumni network and analysing student mobility in France and worldwide.
In France, the agency coordinates the Campus France Forum network (376 establishments). Abroad, it works through the 259 Campus France offices, under the authority of French Embassies in 127 countries.

Press contact:
Florent Bonaventure | florent.bonaventure at |+33 6 34 68 59 25