In 2018, having spent ten years developing partnerships in Latin America, ParisTech began exploring possibilities for cooperation in Africa, in particular with the University of Nairobi in Kenya. The University of Nairobi is the top-ranked university not only in Kenya but in all of East Africa. It has around 84,000 students and is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2020.
Thanks to the ADESFA* programme, which is financed by the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs and run by France Education International, five of the ParisTech schools (AgroParisTech, Chimie ParisTech, Ecole des Ponts ParisTech, Institut d’Optique Graduate School and Mines Paris - PSL) have been investigating the possibility of forming a partnership with the Université de Nairobi.
The first fact-finding trip to Nairobi took place in July 2019. The ParisTech delegates visited the College of Agriculture and Veterinary Sciences (Upper Kabete Campus), the College of Biological and Physical Sciences (Chiromo Campus) and the College of Architecture and Engineering (Main Campus). They met with lecturers and researchers and learned how engineering courses are structured in Kenya. A return visit was organised in February 2020, allowing representatives from the University of Nairobi to visit the campuses and facilities of the five ParisTech schools and learn more about the French engineering education system.
With the aim of allowing the partner institutions to get to know each other better and reinforce their scientific and academic ties, ParisTech has been keen to develop actions to promote mobility between the two countries – especially because the ParisTech schools and the University of Nairobi share a number of areas of interest: energy, the environment, chemistry, mechanics, etc.
Thus, thanks to the support of the French Embassy in Kenya, in September 2020, for the first time, a student from the University of Nairobi will be joining the Ecole des Ponts ParisTech to study for a Master’s in Transport and Sustainable Development (TRADD).
Moreover, following on from the success of the ADESFA programme, the ParisTech schools have been awarded a grant under the Erasmus+ International Credit Mobility (ICM) scheme to fund exchanges with the University of Nairobi. The funding covers several types of exchange – work placements or periods of study abroad for students, and teaching assignments or training for staff. Over the next three years, the ParisTech schools are therefore looking forward to welcoming Master’s students, doctoral students and lecturers and researchers from the University of Nairobi. In turn, they will be sending staff and doctoral students on exchanges to Kenya. ParisTech and the University of Nairobi have signed a collaboration agreement in the autumn 2020.
*ADESFA: “Appui au développement de l’enseignement supérieur français en Afrique” = Support for the Development of French Higher Education in Africa