The Russian Ministry of Education and Science hosted a meeting between the Deputy Minister of Science and Higher Education Natalya Bocharova and the Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamut. The parties discussed the prospects for expanding cooperation between Russia and the African Union countries in the field of science and education.
The agenda of the event included the preparation of African students and graduate students by Russian universities, especially in the field of exact sciences, as well as strengthening cooperation between the Pan African University, supervised by the African Union, and the Russian-African Network University (RAFU), which was established in August 2021 on the initiative of the Ministry of Education and Science of Russia and which today includes 12 Russian universities and research centers.
Pan African University is established by the African Union and is supported by its 55 member states. The university positions itself as a regional center of excellence in research and higher education. One of its main tasks is to train world-class personnel for the implementation of the African Union Agenda 2063, a strategic document that determines the development of the Union countries until 2063.
In this regard, the experience of leading Russian universities, which train specialists in mathematics, physics, chemistry, is of particular interest to African partners. To exchange best practices and establish direct contacts between Russian and African educational organizations, the Russian Ministry of Education and Science proposed to conduct mutual visits and joint scientific and educational forums. The parties plan to sum up the results of such practical interaction within the framework of the second Russia-Africa Summit in 2022.
Currently, more than 27 thousand African citizens study in Russian universities, of which more than 5 thousand are funded from budget funds within the quota of the Government of the Russian Federation.
Natalya Bocharova noted that the decision of the Government of the Russian Federation to gradually increase from 18 to 30 thousand places by 2024 the quotas for admission of foreign citizens and stateless persons, including compatriots living abroad, will help attract African students.
“When the Ministry of Education and Science of Russia draws up admission plans for the next years, the need to increase the number of places for citizens of the African Union countries within the quota will be taken into account. This initiative is especially relevant in the framework of the implementation of one of the most important tasks for the African Union to improve the training of African personnel, mainly in the field of exact sciences, ”said Natalya Bocharova.
Development of cooperation in the field of science and education is one of the key points of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of the Russian Federation and the African Union on the basis of relations and cooperation, which was signed at the first Russia-Africa Summit in 2019. To develop this initiative, the parties will continue to work together to formulate and agree on a draft Action Plan for 2022–2025, which, among other things, provides for a number of initiatives to develop academic mobility and conduct scientific research.