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ADESFA 3 programme to support African higher education: a look back at its first year

Since 2019, the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs (MEAE) has been funding a series of projects through the Solidarity Fund for Innovative Projects (FSPI), which has become the “Fonds équipe France” fund. The goal of some of these projects is to support initiatives to promote academic cooperation between French and African higher education institutions in 44 countries in Africa. The focus of this third edition of the programme is the employability of African graduates.


The MEAE has tasked France Éducation international (FEI) with managing and monitoring all these projects, which are grouped together under the name ADESFA (fund to develop French higher education in Southern and Eastern Africa and the Maghreb). The programme was launched in March 2023.

Varied and original projects

Projects put forward by French and African school and university consortia fall under three key areas: 

  • Implementing international partnership degrees 
  • Developing digital education 
  • Expanding capacity by supporting local entities from the pedagogical, financial, and administrative sides

The projects stand out on account of the wide range of different themes and activities. Between creating a professional certificate in automation and maintenance in Senegal, introducing a specialised bachelor’s degree in agriculture, agrifood and animal herding (Agro-Bachelor) in Côte d’Ivoire, and developing a master’s degree in innovation and entrepreneurship for the industry of the future in Guinea, the institutions have invested in all lines of business in the social and professional sphere relevant to the situation in Africa.

In the field of digital education, the emphasis is on the healthcare sector – with the creation of an online course on sickle cell disease (in the form of a MOOC) in response to a problem that is widespread in Africa, especially in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

As regards expanding capacity, the French project holders want to support local entities from the pedagogical, financial, and administrative sides. The many projects include setting up a technical hands-on learning programme on entrepreneurship in Angola, strengthening the skills gained through energy-related courses in Kenya, and training staff in archive management in Madagascar, among others.

Other innovative and ambitious projects include focusing on the geothermal energy sector in Ethiopia and the electronics industry in Tunisia, and creating a sector specialised in bamboo in Rwanda.

Experts at FEI working closely with project holders

Project holders could count on the expertise of France Éducation international, both as regards steering each project (formulating objectives and indicators) and offering administrative and financial support to the teams responsible for project management within the institutions. 

With its extensive experience and expertise, FEI is able to assist with projects in a way that ensures they are developed smoothly. The organisation can also provide the academic support required for launching international partnerships. Its crucial role was recently praised by the MEAE.

Lastly, the first ADESFA 3 newsletter about ongoing projects – set up on the initiative of France Éducation international – will soon be ready and it will be shared to all the information channels used by FEI and the MEAE.