General objective

To improve the quality and harmonisation of African higher education and support students’ employability and mobility across the continent.

Specific objectives

  • Quality assurance culture in higher education institutions is further enhanced
  • Capacities of quality assurance agencies to implement African Standards and Guidelines for quality assurance (ASG-QA) is strengthened and cross-regional coordination are enhanced
  • Capacities of the African Union (AU) in implementing the Pan-African Quality Assurance and Accreditation Framework (PAQAF) are strengthened



What is the Pan-African Quality Assurance and Accreditation Framework (PAQAF)?

HAQAA1 and 2 intend to support the realisation of “PAQAF”, which is an African Union endorsed overriding framework for the harmonisation of quality assurance in higher education in Africa. It consists of several action lines and tools that have been developed or are in the process of being developed, intended to ensure quality provision in higher education in Africa, recognition of studies across borders and a common understanding on quality definitions and standards.

These action lines and tools comprise:

  •  African Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance (ASG‐QA) ‐ Developed between 2017 and 2018 under the HAQAA1 Initiative, the ASG-QA is a major reference document for organising and evaluating international and external quality assurance. They are published in the four official languages of the African Union and are already being used by many QA agencies and universities across the continent.
  • African Continental Qualifications Framework (ACQF) –The African Union Commission (AUC), between 2018 and 2022, partnered with the European Union, German GIZ and the European Training Foundation (ETF) in developing the ACQF, a key output of the “Skills for Youth Employability project” (SYEP) launched in June 2019.
  • African Quality Rating Mechanism (AQRM) – An institutional quality assessment tool. The development of the AQRM was spearheaded by the African Union Commission and it was endorsed by the African Union in 2007. It is currently hosted and promoted by the Association of Africa Universities.
  • Addis Convention for Recognition of Qualifications – Developed with the support of UNESCO and pending ratification by many African states. UNESCO currently supports national contact points to operationalise the Convention in Africa.
  • African Credit Accumulation and Transfer System – A proposal for a standardised system for measuring credits based on workload has been made by the TUNING Africa initiative (2018). In 2022, HAQAA2 has relaunched discussions with stakeholders about how to politically endorse and implement such a system.
  • Continental Register for Quality Assurance agencies and quality assured higher education institutions ‐ Pending development. This register would serve as a clearinghouse for QA agencies in Africa that comply with the ASG-QA. It should enhance transparency between QA regulators and hold them to common standards.

HAQAA2 made the following contributions to PAQAF:

  • Further promoted the uptake and usage of the ASG‐QA amongst quality assurance agencies (QAA) and systems in Africa
  • Further promoted the uptake and usage of the ASG‐QA (Part A) amongst higher education  institutions (HEI), via dedicated HAQAA Training Courses, as they provide important standards  and  guidelines  for  quality  assurance,  which  would  also  help  HEI  to  develop  their  quality  cultures and to better prepare for external audit and evaluation. 
  • Further promoted the uptake of the ASG-QA at the level of QA agencies, via external evaluations of such agencies (and QA systems) against the ASG-QA in 7 African countries (‘Agency reviews and consultancy visits’)
  • Generated a cohort of 175 trained QA professionals across Africa from both QAA and HEI, specialised in evaluating higher education institutions and systems on the basis of African continental standards and guidelines.
  • Further promoted and assessed the impact of the AQRM, in conjunction with the ASG‐QA, as an African tool for institutional quality assessment and institutional quality improvement.
  • Provided scenarios and recommendations for the development of a Pan‐African Quality Assurance and Accreditation Agency (PAQAA), which would be the guardian body of the PAQAF, and supported the AUC to take important steps towards its set up.
  • Supported the AU to promote the different action lines and tools of the PAQAF



What is CESA?

CESA is the Continental Education Strategic for Africa, 2016-2025. It was adopted by the Summit of Heads of State and Government of the African Union in January 2016 to provide the post 2015 framework that links education to the human resource needs of Agenda 2063 and the SDGs, as well as national development goals.

This continental strategy matches the 2016-2025 framework of the African Union 2063 Agenda and meets the Common African Position (CAP) on the Post-2015 Development Agenda. CESA has 12 specific objectives, many of which target or include tertiary education.

SO4 refers explicitly to “ensuring acquisition of requisite knowledge and skills as well as improved completion rates at all levels and groups through harmonisation processes across all levels for national and regional integration”, to which the PAQAF and HAQAA2 contribute.

In order to deliver upon CESA in a collective way, stakeholders are invited to join 12 different ‘Clusters’, including higher education. HAQAA2 supported and promoted the CESA clusters related to higher education and quality assurance.

This entailed new academic and public policy training activities including:

  • A Comparative Study of Higher Education and Regional Integration and production of learning materials
  • A MOOC Series targeted at policy makers and HE practitioners, based upon the Comparative Study
  • The contribution to the set-up of a coordinated and coherent Data on Higher Education in Africa
  • Awareness raising for CESA, through the online event series ‘CESA Higher Education in Focus
  • A CESA Higher Education Book Series, developed by the coordinators of the CESA Higher Education cluster and sub-clusters

Executive Board

The Executive Board consists of the HAQAA2 Implementing Team Leader and General Coordinator, the European Commission and the African Union Commission.


  • Ms. Claire Herrmann, European Commission, Directorate General for Education and Culture, Belgium
  • Mr. Hambani Masheleni, Act. Head, Education Division, African Union Commission, Ethiopia
  • Prof. Ramon Torrent, President, OBREAL Global Observatory, Spain

Advisory Board

The AB is the main advisory body of the initiative and convenes twice a year. It advises on strategic political decisions, outputs and potential impact. It is essential for buy‐in of HAQAA2


  • Tariq Alsindi, General Secretary of the Arab Network for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ANQAHE), Bahrein
  • Amr Ezzat Salama, Secretary General, Association of Arab Universities (AArU), Jordan
  • Stephen Simukanga, Chief Executive Officer, Southern African Quality Assurance Network (SAQAN),
  • Martin Ooosthuizen, Chief Executive Officer, Southern African Regional Universities Association (SARUA), South Africa
  • Abdou Napon, Act. Secretary General, Conseil Africain et Malgache pour l’Enseignement Supérieur (CAMES), Burkina Faso
  • Lamine Gueye, Secretary General, Autorité national d’assurance qualité de l’enseignement supérieur (ANAQ-Sup), Sénégal
  • Gaspard Banyankimbona, Secretary General of the Inter University Council for East Africa (IUCEA), Uganda
  • Maria Chicote, President, Mozambique National Council on Quality Assurance in Higher Education (CNAQ), Mozambique
  • Michaela Martin, UNESCO IIEP, France
  • Felix Kabwena, African Students Alumni Forum (ASAF)
  • Michael Gaebel, Head of the Higher Education Policy Unit, European University Association (EUA)
  • Bernard Zuppinger, Director, Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF)
  • Peter Kwasi Kodjie, Secretary General, All Africa Students’ Union (AASU)

Task Force for the ASG-QA

A Task Force was convened to further the promotion and uptake of the ASG-QA

The tasks were as follows:

  1. Conduct desk research on the impact of the first round of QA agency reviews and consultancy visits completed during HAQAA1
  2. Interview agencies and experts that participated and come up with recommendations for improvements and adjustments in the next round of agency reviews that will take place under HAQAA2.
  3. Debate the pending questions relevant to the agency reviews.
  4. Develop the User’s Guide and Tool Kit for the implementation of the ASG‐QA in QA agencies and in universities, upon debating the appropriate focus for such a tool, which would respect the diversity of ways in which the ASG‐QA can be applied.

The Task Force members represent key organisations, have hands on experience in applying regional QA related principles and guidelines and in agency reviews, have knowledge of continental harmonisation processes in Africa, and possess technical knowledge regarding both IQA and EQA.

  • Abdou Lahate Cissé, L’Autorité Nationale d’Assurance Qualité de l’enseignement Supérieur (ANAQ-Sup), Senegal
  • Amine Allal, Tlemcen University, Algeria
  • Florence Lenga, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Kenya
  • Juma Shubani, Burundi – CESA HE Quality Sub-Cluster
  • Anneley Willemse, Namibia University of Science and Technology, Namibia
  • Jeffy Mukora, National Council for Quality Assurance of Higher Education (CNAQ), Mozambique (chair)
  • Noel Saliu, National Universities Commission, Nigeria
  • Caty Dukearts – Agence pour l‘Evaluation de la Qualité de l’Enseignement Supérior (AEQES), Belgium

Technical Working Group for the PAQAA

A Technical Working Group has been convened to support the development of the Pan-African Quality Assurance and Accreditation Agency

In the context of the HAQAA2, a Technical Working Group has been convened to support the development of the Pan-African Accreditation Agency – a politically agreed body of the Pan African Quality Assurance and Accreditation Framework. It made suggestions regarding the mandate, establishment plan and organisational set‐up of the PAQAA. It was composed of 8 members with profiles ranging from experts in continental harmonisation, AU policy making and legalities and the establishment of previous AU entities or bodies, African quality assurance regulatory bodies and a European expertise with experience in the EHEA, the ESG, agency review and the set-up of the EQAR (European Quality Assurance Register).

Technical Working Group composition

  •  Ana Nhampule (Co-Chair) | SADC
  • Peter Okebukola (Co-Chair) | West Africa
  • Olusola Oyewole, AAU | West Africa/Continental
  • Youhansen Eid, President NAQAAHE | North Africa
  • Bella Sattar, SARUA | SADC
  • Zakare Lire, CAMES | West and Central Africa
  • James Jowi, East African Community – EAC | East Africa
  • Maria Kelo, European University Association – EUA | Europe

policy-data unit development team

The PDU (Policy-Data Unit) Development Team, nominated by important regional university associations with strong policy ties, has explored and made recommendations for enhanced and coherent higher education data collection in Africa.

PDU Development Team composition: 

  • Chair: Nodumo Dhlamini, Director for ICT Services and Knowledge Management, AAU
  • Strategic advisors HAQAA Team: Nicolas Patrici, OBREAL Global and Ursula Painter, DAAD
  • Strategic advisor North Africa: Wail Benjelloun – Honorary president of the Union of Mediterranean Universities – UNIMED
  • Senior Data and Policy Analyst: Nicolas Jooste, SARUA
  • Senior Data and Policy Analyst: Ben Ruhinda, IUCEA
  • Senior Data and Policy Analyst: Aïsatou Sy Wonyu, Director of the AUF regional Office for Central Africa and the Grands Lacs
  • Regional integration and policy consultant: Kibrome H. Mekonnen – Addis Abeba based
  • Policy and data consultant: Tafadzwa Mutsvedu Rusive – Gabarone based
Its mandate included :
  • Conducting a comprehensive mapping of existing African data sources and initiatives related to HE, including one-off studies and more longitudinal data collection, at different levels,
  • Building contacts with the relevant stakeholders (ADEA, UNESCO, RECs, African Union agencies, etc) and ensuring complementarity: Identifying gaps, challenges, opportunities.
  • Specifically studying regional frameworks and initiatives for HE data collection and the opportunities afforded.
  • Proposing a Road Map for the next stages of coordinated and coherent African HE data collection and the needed capacity building

HAQAA2 Implementing Team

The HAQAA2 Implementing Team oversees, manages and supports the implementation of the second phase of the HAQAA initiative.

This initiative is implemented on behalf of the European and African Union Commissions by:

OBREAL Global the coordinator, is a membership organisation of diverse, internationally‐oriented academic and research institutions, as well as individual researchers and professionals from Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. It’s mission is to support South-South North partnerships for development. OBREAL Global guaranteed continuity from HAQAAA1 and brought extensive experience in regional intergation frameworks for higher education and quality assurance.

AAU is the only pan‐regional stakeholder body representing over 400 African universities in five African regions. It is the official implementing body of the African Union Commission’s strategy for Harmonisation in African Higher Education and also has been hosting the AfriQAN secretariat. It supports institutional quality development as well as defining policies regarding higher education harmonisation. The AAU is also the entrusted official implementer and promoter of the African Quality Rating Mechanism (AQRM) ‐ one tool of the PAQAF – as mandated by the African Union Commission.

DAAD, a university membership body and higher education agency, has demonstrated impressive investment in higher education internationalisation in Germany and globally and has a strategic commitment to development cooperation in higher education. It has a long experience in Africa and is one of the only European higher education agencies that has invested in quality assurance training in higher education in different African regions over the course of the last decade. It has supported both the Eastern African Community as well as Western and Central Africa and SADC to advance in defining and applying regional quality assurance guidelines and in capacity development of quality agencies and institutions.

ENQA, which unites quality assurance agencies in the European Higher Education Area, is consultative member in the Bologna Follow‐up Group (BFUG) and the founding member of the European Quality Assurance Register (EQAR). In addition providing a cooperation space for external quality assurance in Europe, it also engages in global dialogue and capacity building around the topic of quality assurance. It has coordinated the Technical Working Group that developed the ASG‐QA and the review methodology in the first phase of HAQAA and the pilot agency evaluations and consultancy visits of external quality

Regional Strategic Partners

The HAQAA2 Implementing Team has six strategic partnerships with key organisations in each of the five regions/linguistic groups of Africa. These organisations are operationally critical to execution of the initiative across the continent, in four official AU languages

The Regional Strategics partners are:

SARUA – Southern Africa: A regional university organisation that unites public and private universities in SADC. SARUA has a strategic partnership with SAQAN (the Southern African Quality Assurance Network) and has prioritised quality management in HEIs as one of its key strategic priorities. SARUA “enables collaborative networks and partnerships that develop the institutional and human capacity of the region’s universities in order to make a distinctive contribution to regional development and integration.”

IUCEA – East Africa: A regional university association officially recognised and supported by the East African Community. It is the key stakeholder in the East African Higher Education Area and supports university quality enhancement via EAQAN, which it created, and the set‐up and further development of national QA systems and agencies in East Africa, according to East African standards and guidelines.

CAMES– West/Central Francophone Africa: An intergovernmental institution supporting universities in 17 countries in West and Central Francophone Africa in pursuit of higher education development. It runs capacity building programmes related to QA enhancement, accredits bachelors, masters, doctoral degrees and evaluates professors. CAMES is linked closely to a council of ministers of education in the region.

CNAQ – Mozambique (Lusophone): The National QA agency of Mozambique has been a champion of the continental harmonisation agenda and is strategic partner for Lusophone Africa.

NAQAAE – Egypt/North Africa: The national accreditation agency for education in Egypt gas also been a champion for continental integration in quality assurance and contributed extensively to the development and translation of the ASG‐QA into Arabic.

ANAQ SUP– Autorité nationale d’assurance qualité de l’enseignement supérieur, de la recherche et de l’innovation – is the main QA body of Senegal and has championed the establishment of  RAFANAQ – Réseau africain francophone des Agences nationales d’Assurance Qualité de l’Enseignement supérieur