General objective

The Overall Objective of this action is to provide African countries with the skilled workers, managers and administrators they need to foster sustainable development and encourage the trade and investment as well as to enhance citizenship and democratic values.

Specific objectives

  • Quality assurance (QA) culture and quality enhancement in higher education institutions and capacities of quality assurance agencies and national/regional authorities are strengthened to develop, implement and use transparency tools such as the African Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance (ASG-QA) and African Credit Transfer System (ACTS)
  • The capacities of quality assurance agencies and national/regional authorities are strengthened to promote mutual recognition of qualifications and accreditation, use of transparency tools and the setup of the PAQAA (Pan-African Quality Assurance and Accreditation Agency) is further developed
  • The capacity of the higher education sector (including policy makers) on issues related to evidence based and informed policy making and regional integration is built, with a view to strengthen regional and continental integration, enhance the sector’s responsiveness and contribution to socio-economic challenges and to support the revision/extension of the CESA 2016-2025



What is the Youth Mobility for Africa flagship initiative?

The flagship initiative on Youth Mobility for Africa promotes opportunities for learning mobility on the continent and between Africa and the EU. It supports cooperation in higher education and skills development, strengthens regional and continental harmonisation mechanisms, while promoting Africa as a study destination. Thereby, the initiative contributes to youth empowerment for sustainable employability and active citizenship. The Youth Mobility for Africa flagship initiative is part of the Global Gateway Africa-Europe Investment Package 

The Investment Package will be delivered through Team Europe initiatives: the EU, its Member States and European financial institutions will work together to support concrete and transformational projects jointly identified in priority areas.

Beyond HAQAA3, Youth Mobility FOR Africa brings under one umbrella several existing and new EU-funded programs, including:



What is the Pan-African Quality Assurance and Accreditation Framework (PAQAF)?

HAQAA has supported and continues to support the realisation of “PAQAF”, which is an African Union endorsed overriding framework for the harmonisation of quality assurance in higher education in Africa. It consists of several action lines and tools that have been developed or are in the process of being developed, intended to ensure quality provision in higher education in Africa, recognition of studies across borders and a common understanding on quality definitions and standards.

These action lines and tools comprise:

  •  African Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance (ASG‐QA) ‐ Developed between 2017 and 2018 under the HAQAA1 Initiative, the ASG-QA is a major reference document for organising and evaluating international and external quality assurance. They are published in the four official languages of the African Union and are already being used by many QA agencies and universities across the continent. Under HAQAA2, a User’s Guide was also published in four languages.
  • African Continental Qualifications Framework (ACQF) –The African Union Commission (AUC), between 2018 and 2022, partnered with the European Union, the German GIZ and the European Training Foundation (ETF) in developing the ACQF, a key output of the “Skills for Youth Employability project” (SYEP) launched in June 2019. “ACQF II” is now underway, in which further capacity will be built to implement the framework and exploit it for recognition, flexible study pathways and education systems transparency.
  • African Quality Rating Mechanism (AQRM) – An institutional quality assessment tool. The development of the AQRM was spearheaded by the African Union Commission and it was endorsed by the African Union in 2007. It is currently hosted and promoted by the Association of Africa Universities which is developing an virtual verification method for the self-assessment survey that institutions take.
  • Addis Convention for Recognition of Qualifications – Developed with the support of UNESCO and still pending ratification by many African states. The UNESCO Addis Ababa Liaison Office will support national contact points to operationalise the Convention in Africa.
  • African Credit Accumulation and Transfer System – A proposal for a standardised system for measuring credits based on workload has been made by the TUNING Africa initiative (2018). In 2022, HAQAA2 has relaunched discussions with stakeholders about how to politically endorse and implement such a system. HAQAA3 will take it forward and pilot it at the level of HEI.
  • Continental Register for Quality Assurance agencies and quality assured higher education institutions ‐ Pending development. This register would serve as a clearinghouse for QA agencies in Africa that comply with the ASG-QA. It should enhance transparency between QA regulators and hold them to common standards. It would be managed by the Pan-African Quality Assurance and Accreditation Agency.

HAQAA made the following contributions to PAQAF:

  • Developed and promoted the uptake and usage of the ASG‐QA amongst quality assurance agencies (QAA) and systems in Africa

  • Promoted the uptake and usage of the ASG‐QA (Part A) amongst higher education institutions (HEI), via dedicated HAQAA Training Courses, as they provide important standards and guidelines for quality assurance, which also help HEI to develop their quality cultures and to better prepare for external audit and evaluation.

  • Contributed to the uptake of the ASG-QA at the level of QA agencies and the development of QA systems, via external evaluations of such agencies (and QA systems) against the ASG-QA in (‘Agency reviews and consultancy visits’)

  • Generated a cohort of over 250 trained QA professionals across Africa from QA authorities and HEI, specialised in evaluating higher education institutions and systems on the basis of African continental standards and guidelines.

  • Further promoted and assessed the impact of the AQRM, in conjunction with the ASG‐QA, as an African tool for institutional quality assessment and institutional quality improvement.

  • Provided scenarios and recommendations for the development of a Pan‐African Quality Assurance and Accreditation Agency (PAQAA), which would be the guardian body of the PAQAF, and supported the AUC to take important steps towards its set up.

  • Supported the AU to promote the different action lines and tools of the PAQAF and generated visibility for higher education in the CESA

  • Revived the ACTS proposal and sensitized stakeholders to it

  • Promoted a more comprehensive understanding of regional integration in higher education and where quality assurance fits into this picture



What is CESA?

CESA is the Continental Education Strategic for Africa, 2016-2025. It was adopted by the Summit of Heads of State and Government of the African Union in January 2016 to provide the post 2015 framework that links education to the human resource needs of Agenda 2063 and the SDGs, as well as national development goals.

This continental strategy matches the 2016-2025 framework of the African Union 2063 Agenda and meets the Common African Position (CAP) on the Post-2015 Development Agenda. CESA has 12 specific objectives, many of which target or include tertiary education.

SO4 refers explicitly to “ensuring acquisition of requisite knowledge and skills as well as improved completion rates at all levels and groups through harmonisation processes across all levels for national and regional integration”, to which the PAQAF and HAQAA2 contribute.

In order to deliver upon CESA in a collective way, stakeholders are invited to join 12 different ‘Clusters’, including higher education. HAQAA2 supported and promoted the CESA clusters related to higher education and quality assurance.

This entailed new academic and public policy training activities including:

  • A Comparative Study of Higher Education and Regional Integration and production of learning materials
  • A MOOC Series targeted at policy makers and HE practitioners, based upon the Comparative Study
  • The contribution to the set-up of a coordinated and coherent Data on Higher Education in Africa
  • Awareness raising for CESA, through the online event series ‘CESA Higher Education in Focus
  • A CESA Higher Education Book Series, developed by the coordinators of the CESA Higher Education cluster and sub-clusters

HAQAA3 Implementing Team

The HAQAA3 Implementing Team oversees, manages and supports the implementation of the third phase of the HAQAA initiative.

This initiative is implemented on behalf of the European and African Union Commissions by:

OBREAL Global the coordinator, is a membership organisation of diverse, internationally‐oriented academic and research institutions, as well as individual researchers and professionals from Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. It’s mission is to support South-South North partnerships for development. OBREAL Global guaranteed continuity from HAQAAA1 and brought extensive experience in regional intergation frameworks for higher education and quality assurance.

AAU is the only pan‐regional stakeholder body representing over 400 African universities in five African regions. It is the official implementing body of the African Union Commission’s strategy for Harmonisation in African Higher Education and also has been hosting the AfriQAN secretariat. It supports institutional quality development as well as defining policies regarding higher education harmonisation. The AAU is also the entrusted official implementer and promoter of the African Quality Rating Mechanism (AQRM) ‐ one tool of the PAQAF – as mandated by the African Union Commission.

DAAD, a university membership body and higher education agency, has demonstrated impressive investment in higher education internationalisation in Germany and globally and has a strategic commitment to development cooperation in higher education. It has a long experience in Africa and is one of the only European higher education agencies that has invested in quality assurance training in higher education in different African regions over the course of the last decade. It has supported both the Eastern African Community as well as Western and Central Africa and SADC to advance in defining and applying regional quality assurance guidelines and in capacity development of quality agencies and institutions.

ENQA, which unites quality assurance agencies in the European Higher Education Area, is consultative member in the Bologna Follow‐up Group (BFUG) and the founding member of the European Quality Assurance Register (EQAR). In addition providing a cooperation space for external quality assurance in Europe, it also engages in global dialogue and capacity building around the topic of quality assurance. It has coordinated the Technical Working Group that developed the ASG‐QA and the review methodology in the first phase of HAQAA and the pilot agency evaluations and consultancy visits of external quality

HAQAA3 is a very complex initiative that requires coherent and inter-connected management and execution structure. The HAQAA3 Implementing Team proposes an integrated structure with an Executive Committee, the Management Team and General Coordination, coordinating experts per Work Area, project officers, and specialized units and structures linked to more political and longitudinal deliverables, such as the PAQAA Technical Unit and the Regional HE Data Units.

Executive Committee

The Executive Committee is the highest strategic interface between the Implementing Team, the European Commission and the African Union Commission.

Management Team

The Management Team is the highest oversight body of the HAQAA3 Implementing Team, consisting of OBREAL Global, AAU, DAAD and ENQA.

Strategic Partner Steering Committee

The Strategic Partner Steering Committee is comprised of Strategic Partners, formally nominated and committed to the HAQAA3 initiative and HAQAA3 Implementing Team, each with designated roles in the contract implementation, communication and political promotion.

The Regional Strategics partners are:

SARUA – Southern Africa: A regional university organisation that unites public and private universities in SADC. SARUA has a strategic partnership with SAQAN (the Southern African Quality Assurance Network) and has prioritised quality management in HEIs as one of its key strategic priorities. SARUA “enables collaborative networks and partnerships that develop the institutional and human capacity of the region’s universities in order to make a distinctive contribution to regional development and integration.”

IUCEA – East Africa: A regional university association officially recognised and supported by the East African Community. It is the key stakeholder in the East African Higher Education Area and supports university quality enhancement via EAQAN, which it created, and the set‐up and further development of national QA systems and agencies in East Africa, according to East African standards and guidelines.

CAMES– West/Central Francophone Africa: An intergovernmental institution supporting universities in 17 countries in West and Central Francophone Africa in pursuit of higher education development. It runs capacity building programmes related to QA enhancement, accredits bachelors, masters, doctoral degrees and evaluates professors. CAMES is linked closely to a council of ministers of education in the region.

CNAQ – Mozambique (Lusophone): The National QA agency of Mozambique has been a champion of the continental harmonisation agenda and is strategic partner for Lusophone Africa.

NAQAAE – Egypt/North Africa: The national accreditation agency for education in Egypt gas also been a champion for continental integration in quality assurance and contributed extensively to the development and translation of the ASG‐QA into Arabic.

ANAQ SUP– Autorité nationale d’assurance qualité de l’enseignement supérieur, de la recherche et de l’innovation – is the main QA body of Senegal and has championed the establishment of  RAFANAQ – Réseau africain francophone des Agences nationales d’Assurance Qualité de l’Enseignement supérieur

The Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF) brings together more than 1,000 universities, grandes écoles, university networks and scientific research centres using the French language in 115 countries. Created 60 years ago, it is one of the largest associations of higher education and research establishments in the world.

All-Africa Students Union (AASU) is the largest student movement in Africa and a very dominant force on the continent and beyond. The All-Africa Students Union (AASU) organises all students in Africa – from primary school to tertiary institutions; it is essentially the umbrella organisation for all students in Africa.

The European University Association (EUA) represents more than 850 universities and national rectors’ conferences in 49 European countries. EUA plays a crucial role in the Bologna Process and in influencing EU policies on higher education, research and innovation. Through continuous interaction with a range of other European and international organisations, EUA ensures that the independent voice of European universities is heard.

The mission of UNESCO Addis Ababa Liaison Office   is to contribute to sustainable human development in a culture of peace underpinned by tolerance, democracy, and human rights through programs and projects in UNESCO’s fields of competence: Education, Natural Sciences, Human and Social Sciences, Culture and Communication and Information.

Advisory Board

The Advisory Board is a broader grouping of relevant stakeholders in African higher education, ranging from international organizations to university associations and QA networks

Africa HE Data Team

A regionally and linguistically representative operational team that is directly versed in the PDU Development Team (constituted under HAQAA2) mapping report and road map, which can drive the set-up of the Regional Data Units, provide expertise and support and also support the content development of the Data Capacity Building Program.

ACTS Expert TeaM

This team will design and oversee the ACTS Component, notably the university pilot and the development of the Training Materials and a User’s Guide.

Task Force PAQAA Statutes

This team will be tasked with drafting and proposing the statutes of the Pan-African Quality Assurance and Accreditation Agency, according to the consultations and recommendations of HAQAA2, and in line with the further consultative meetings.

ASG-QA Task Force

This will be an extension of the Task Force constituted under HAQAA2. It will essentially be tasked with the ASG-QA revision that will begin in the end of year 4 of the contract. The revision will improve the drafting and clarity of both the ASQ-QA and the User’s Guide, where needed, based on feedback from stakeholders.