Project Description

The Access to Success project (2008-2010), funded by the Erasmus Mundus programme of the European Union, aimed at raising awareness of access and retention issues in higher education in Africa and Europe, and at exploring how higher education institutions in both regions are coping with the changing demands of their specific socio-economic environments. By doing so, the project also intended to contribute to a wider discussion on effective inter-institutional cooperation between Europe and Africa, in particular with regards to student and staff mobility schemes, capacity building partnerships and government/donor support.

The messages of the project have been captured in the White Paper of project recommendations: Africa-Europe Higher Education Cooperation for Development: meeting regional and global challenges. The White Paper contains multi-actor recommendations for taking forward the Europe-Africa higher education cooperation agenda.

Project activities

The project included:
  • Parallel institutional surveys on access and retention in higher education conducted in 2009 across a sample of 16 African and 19 European countries. The surveys were supplemented with three student focus groups on access and mobility, one in Europe led by the European Students’ Union and two in Africa led by the All-Africa Students’ Union and the Erasmus Mundus Alumni Association.
  • A first Europe-Africa rectors’ dialogue in Addis Ababa, 17 November 2009, that examined issues of common interest to university leadership. View the Summary Report
  • Three dialogue-intensive workshops involving university leadership and faculty, donors and government agencies, students and regional government bodies. The workshops explored the following themes:

Project recommendations

During the final dissemination conference that took place in Brussels, Belgium, on 28 September 2010, the project outcomes presented in the White Paper of Project Recommendations were discussed with policy makers, cooperation agencies and the university community.

To view the White Paper, available in English and French, click here.

Implementing Partners

European University Association (EUA)
Association of African Universities (AAU)
European Access Network (EAN)
European Students' Union (ESU)
Norwegian Association of Higher Education Institutions (UHR)
Association of Flemish Universities - Department of University Cooperation for Development (VLIR-UOS)

Project Publications

Africa-European higher education cooperation for development: Meeting regional and global challenges
White Paper

Access to Sucess: Fostering trust and exchange between Europe and Africa
Project Compendium

Project follow-up

The European University Association has followed up the Access to Success project with two initiatives focusing on Europe-Africa university cooperation and continues to work with relevant partners in Africa on higher education development and partnership:

Europe-Africa Quality Connect: Building Institutional Capacity through Partnership (Europe-Africa QA Connect) (2010-2012). This Erasmus Mundus supported project piloted the longstanding EUA Institutional Evaluation Programme (IEP) approach with five African universities in different regions of sub-Saharan Africa as a trial application. The project was jointly led by EUA and AAU with the support of IUQB and the University of Aveiro. A report was produced that highlights the evaluation methodology and the prospects for a continued AAU-led institutional evaluation programme in Africa. Find the report here . Click here to see the project website.

Cooperation on Doctoral Education between Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe (CODOC) (2010-2012) studied trends in doctoral education in different developing regions of the world and provided occasions for dialogue and networking in order to foster stronger doctoral education partnerships between Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America. The project brought together different regional associations, including the Southern African Regional University Association (SARUA) in Southern Africa. A project report  was produced in 2012.


Elizabeth Colucci
Project Officer

European University Association (EUA)

Brussels office:
Avenue de l’Yser, 24
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