African and U.S. Universities Partner to Tackle Development Challenges Across Africa

USAID Provides Funding to Higher Education Partnerships to Jointly Address National and Regional Development Challenges; Build In-Country Educational Capacity; Maximize Resources and On-the-Ground Knowledge Between African and U.S. Institutions

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, September 8, 2010
USAID Press Office

WASHINGTON, D.C. - USAID and Higher Education for Development announced that 11 innovative new partnerships between 22 universities in Africa and the United States have each been awarded up to $1.1 million for activities to address issues including food security and agriculture, solar energy, health care, education, and water in Africa. These partnerships will maximize the resources of U.S. institutions while placing African universities in the lead to capitalize on their on-the-ground knowledge, proximity to the challenges, and build their own capacity to better address these challenges.

"The citizens, academics, and civic and educational institutions of developing countries must be integrated into the way we partner to address development challenges," said USAID Deputy Assistant Administrator for Africa Franklin Moore. "In this way, we can ensure that projects are sustainable, reflect decades of lessons learned, are maximally effective and targeted, and help to build in-country capacity to solve development challenges. Universities are among the most important parts of civil society, and their engagement in policy and program design and implementation is critically important."

"Higher education is critical to building a strong Africa," said A·P·L·U President Peter McPherson, a former USAID Administrator. "These partnerships will combine the knowledge and resources of African and U.S. universities to solve some of the critical issues hindering economic development in African countries and each of the sectors in which USAID is working. Developed in partnership with African higher education and government leaders, these projects are part of the vision USAID and the other partners have for Africa."

"The partners' expertise and drive have been proven through success in a highly competitive review and selection process," said HED Executive Director Tully Cornick. "I am encouraged to see today's plans being transformed into sustainable solutions through applied research, higher education opportunities and community involvement. These Africa-led partnerships have seized an opportunity for change and reflect a deep level of understanding shaped by the contributions of the African institution partners."

These 11 partnerships have detailed five-year strategic plans with a 10-year vision to address national and regional development priorities in sub-Saharan Africa through higher education human and institutional capacity development. Funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through a grant to Higher Education for Development (HED), the partnerships are the result of the Africa-U.S. Higher Education Initiative, a collaborative effort started in 2007 by a number of higher education associations and other organizations and led by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (A·P·L·U) to advocate for increased engagement in African higher education capacity development.

Lead U.S. institutions include: Brown University (RI), Colorado State University, Indiana University, Michigan State University, North Dakota State University, Syracuse University (NY), The Ohio State University, Tuskegee University (AL), University of Cincinnati (OH), University of Connecticut, and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Lead African institutions of the partnerships include: Addis Ababa University (Ethiopia), University of Juba (Sudan), Catholic University of Sudan, International Institute for Water and Environmental Engineering (Burkina Faso), Kenyatta University (Kenya), Makerere University (Uganda), University of Cape Town (South Africa), Université Gaston-Berger (Senegal), University of Ghana, University of Liberia, University of Malawi, and the University of Nairobi (Kenya).

To view more information on each partnership, please visit:

Host Organizations

United States Agency for International Development

The American people, through the United States Agency for International Development, have provided economic and humanitarian assistance worldwide for nearly 50 years. For more information, visit

Higher Education for Development

Higher Education for Development (HED) works closely with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and is founded by the nation's six presidential higher education associations to support the involvement of higher education in development issues worldwide.

The Africa-U.S. Higher Education/A·P·L·U

The Africa-U.S. Higher Education Initiative was established in July 2007 to advocate for increased U.S. engagement in African higher education capacity development, with the main purpose of increasing teaching, problem solving and administrative capacity in African institutions. The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (A·P·L·U) spearheaded the development of this initiative and will continue to provide resources and leadership. The American Council on Education is providing important administrative and financial support. Also engaged in the undertaking are: the American Association of Community Colleges; the Association of African Universities; the Association of American Universities; the American Association of State Colleges and Universities; the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; the Forum for Agricultural Research; Higher Education for Development; the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities; the Partnership to Cut Hunger and Poverty in Africa; and, USAID.

Last updated: September 28, 2017

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