Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

France Eyes Vast Student Market in Africa as It Strengthens Ties

Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

France Eyes Vast Student Market in Africa as It Strengthens Ties

Article excerpt

National agency focuses on continent exporting vast numbers of students. Matthew Reisz reports

The huge French market for internationally mobile African students - and the desire for France to target even anglophone higher education markets in Africa - has been showcased at an event in Paris.

Campus France is the national agency, with offices in 120 countries, responsible for "the promotion of higher education, international student services and international mobility". In 2013, according to one of its recent reports, 373,000 Africans were seeking higher education outside their home countries - more than a tenth of the total cohort of internationally mobile students. Fifty-four per cent of them came from francophone countries.

While France is the third most popular destination, after the US and the UK, for all internationally mobile students, it is by far the destination of choice for African students, taking in more than 92,000 or 26.5 per cent of the total. Ninety-eight per cent of the African students in France come from countries where French is spoken. For eight African countries starting with Algeria (85 per cent), Madagascar (74 per cent) and Senegal (67 per cent), half or more of the mobile students opted for France.

For Rencontres Campus France 2016, therefore, held in Paris last month, the focus was firmly on sub-Saharan Africa. A number of African higher educational ministries and even individual universities were represented, along with Campus France staff from all over the world, African ambassadors to France and French ambassadors to francophone Africa.

The event was opened for the first time by the French minister for foreign affairs and international development, Jean-Marc Ayrault, who said that France's internationalisation strategy in higher education had to be "much stronger, more efficient and more effective". …

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