Edinburgh Global

University of Edinburgh-Africa Commitment

The University of Edinburgh announced a multi-year commitment to support a Principal’s African Partnership Fund during a recent visit to Ghana.

Working collaboratively with African partners

The University of Edinburgh is set to undergo an exercise to reset its future engagement with the African continent. By working collaboratively with African partners, the aim will be to co-create a ‘University of Edinburgh-Africa Commitment’ that will shape the University’s approach to partnerships with the African continent over the next seven years – running in parallel with the University’s Strategy 2030 – and beyond. This work, over the next two years, will be supported initially by the newly established Principal’s African Partnership Fund.

The work undertaken towards this Commitment will echo and complement the values and approach of the University’s  Review of Race and History work, ensuring all collaborations are rooted, needed, and sustainable.  

Visit to Ghana

Throughout 3-7 March 2023, a team from Edinburgh, led by the Principal, Professor Sir Peter Mathieson, visited Ghana at the invitation of the African Academy of Sciences (AAS).

The visit, led by our African partners, was the first stage of a listening exercise with partners from across the continent to develop the University of Edinburgh-Africa Commitment. It included visits to historic sites linked to the transoceanic trafficking and enslavement of Africans (often referred to as the ‘slave trade’), as well as opportunities to meet and learn from key partners including universities, alumni, current students, and youth movements.

Ghana was a natural starting point of this listening and learning process for several reasons. By the end of this century, the UN projects that Africa, which had less than one-tenth of the world’s population in 1950, will be home to 3.9 billion people, or 40% of humanity. Nowhere will this extraordinary growth be more felt than in coastal West Africa.

Ghana is home to some of the continent’s top educational institutions that are in prime position to support the potential for economic growth, interconnectivity, and vibrant interdisciplinary and guide institutions, like the University of Edinburgh, on how, in partnership, solutions can be found for the benefit of all.

Principal’s African Partnership Fund

During the visit, the University of Edinburgh announced its commitment to exploring innovative educational opportunities for African students and building research partnerships across the African continent. The Principal’s African Partnership Fund will initially commit a quarter of a million pounds to build collaborations, potentially supporting research, innovation, teaching and learning and engagement with African colleagues.

Edinburgh and Africa

The University has a deep and longstanding relationship with Africa – it can count three Presidents who led their countries to independence amongst its alumni. The University has collaborated on 3,000 research projects with 84 institutions across Africa in the past ten years and has a community of over 3,600 African alumni across 45 countries. Today it is proud of its high-profile scholarship programmes, ambitious partnerships and impactful interdisciplinary research.

Later in 2023, a follow-up visit is planned by the University of Edinburgh colleagues to the AAS campus in Nairobi. This visit will further shape the University of Edinburgh-Africa Commitment, in collaboration with partners.

Find out more

The Africa Regional Brief provides key information focusing on community, partnerships and exchanges between The University of Edinburgh and Africa.


Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program

Review of Race and History work