Where we work

We currently work with 28 partner countries, mostly in the context of the EU's enlargement and neighbourhood policies.

The relationship with Africa is a key priority for the European Union (EU). 

The 2020 communication Towards a Comprehensive Strategy with Africa identified five areas to work on with African partners: green transition and energy access; digital transformation; sustainable growth and jobs; peace, security and governance; and migration and mobility.

The post-Covid reality and the growing threats of the climate crisis make the relationship with Africa even more important. Under the EU’s Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument – Global Europe, EUR 29 billion have been allocated to Sub-Saharan Africa, and EUR 12.5 billion to the Southern Neighbourhood (including North Africa). 

Following the sixth European Union-African Union Summit – A Joint Vision for 2030 in February 2022 (final declaration), it is time for the European Training Foundation (ETF) to revisit its engagement and activities in Sub-Saharan Africa. 

The ETF aims at supporting the development and implementation of sustainable reforms in education and training systems in a lifelong learning perspective, and the promotion of skills and skills development for the future. In particular, we aim at improving the occupational prospects of young Africans through the development of innovative market-oriented skills.

Ongoing activities

  • Supporting the African Continental Qualifications Framework project. Ensuring that regional and national qualifications frameworks across Africa are interoperable to allow for skilled migration and mobility, facilitate the recognition of skills and qualifications, and improve pathways for upskilling and reskilling.
  • Building on the ETF Network for Excellence, an international network of centres of vocational excellence, identifying barriers and enablers to high-quality vocational education and training in Sub-Saharan Africa. The network is already connected with centres of vocational excellence in Sub-Saharan Africa. 
  • Training and capacity building for EU delegations and headquarters on human capital development, skills and lifelong learning systems. This could be done at the national, regional or global level. 

Looking ahead 

  • Supporting the implementation of the European Union-African Union Summit’s outcomes, for instance through the creation of an African Skills Observatory in line with the African Union’s Agenda 2063, and developing the capacity of regional and pan-African bodies to support youth employability. 
  • Supporting EU delegations in Sub-Saharan Africa throughout the different programming and implementation phases of EU actions, including policy advice/technical guidance in identifying and developing initiatives for skills and lifelong learning; identification and formulation of EU actions based on the assessment of needs in education and training; and monitoring of programmes and sector strategies.
  • Contributing to EU policy dialogue at both bilateral and regional levels. Facilitating dialogue between the EU and the African Union on skills and skills development, and lifelong learning. Supporting the EU in making the EU-Africa Business Forum a permanent network.
  • Partnering and sharing knowledge with international organisations active in the field of skills and employment in Sub-Saharan Africa (for example, ITC-ILO, IIEP-UNESCO Dakar, African Network of Institutions and Vocational Training Funds).