African Excellence – Centres of African Excellence

Cover of the Programme African Excellence

The DAAD helps African universities establish centres of excellence, improve the quality of the education they provide, and increase their research capacities, thus enabling future decision-makers in Africa to be trained in line with international standards.


Establishing university centres of international standing in the framework of a partnership between German Institutions of Higher Education and regional universities aims to train highly qualified future managers and leaders in Africa. The programme African Excellence seeks to significantly contribute to the quality and relevance of selected disciplines at African universities, create research capacities, and establish networks between African universities and research institutes, including German partners.

Support for future managers and leaders should play a special role here. At the centres of excellence, they will have the opportunity to enjoy an excellent, cutting-edge education in line with international standards.

At the same time, an environment conducive to sustainable research will be fostered, offering favourable conditions for international partnerships. The aim is for each centre to have a transregional impact.

For this programme, the DAAD receives funding for foreign cultural and educational policy from the Federal Foreign Office (AA).

Programme objectives

In the long term, the programme aims

  • to create centres that are internationally competitive on a sustainable basis and thus publicly visible and
  • to contribute to improving the functioning of socially relevant sectors in African countries as a result of activities performed by graduates in their role as decision-makers.

Funded projects and partners involved

The programme supports various centres in a variety of specialist fields at a number of universities in Africa.

  • Congolese German Centre for Microfinance (CCAM) 
    Cooperation partners:    
    - Université Protestante au Congo, DR Congo
    - Frankfurt School of Finance and Management, Germany
  • Ghanaian-German Centre for Development Studies (GGCDS)
    Cooperation partners:    
    - University of Ghana, Institute for Statistical Social and Economic Research, Ghana
    - University of Bonn, Centre for Development Research (ZEF), Germany
  • Namibian German Centre for Logistics (NGCL)
    Cooperation partners:    
    - Namibia University for Science and Technology, Namibia
    - Flensburg University of Applied Sciences, Germany
  • Tanzanian-German Centre for Eastern African Legal Studies (TGCL)
    Cooperation partners:    
    - University of Dar es Salaam, School of Law, Tanzania
    - University of Bayreuth, Institute of African Studies and Faculty of Law, Business and Economics, Germany
  • African-German Research Network for Transnational Criminal Justice (TRANSCRIM) 
    (TRANSCRIM has emerged from the formerly funded South African-German Centre for Transnational Criminal Justice, cooperation between Humboldt University of Berlin and University of the Western Cape, South Africa)
    - Humboldt University of Berlin, Faculty of Law, Germany
  • South African German Centre for Development Research (SA GER CDR)
    Cooperation partners:    
    - University of the Western Cape, School of Government and Institute for Social Development, South Africa
    - Ruhr-University Bochum, Institute of Development Research and Development Policy (IEE), Germany
  • East and South African-German Centre for Educational Research, Methodologies and Management (CERM-ESA)
    Cooperation partners:    
    - Moi University School of Education, Kenya
    - Nelson Mandela University, South Africa
    - University of Oldenburg, Germany
    - University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
    - Uganda Managemnet Instiute, Uganda
  • West African German Centre for Sustainable Rural Transformation (WAC-SRT)
    Cooperation partners:    
    - University of Ghana, Institute for Statistical Social and Economic Research, Ghana
    - Université Abdou Moumouni, Faculty of Science and Technology, Niger
    - University for Development Studies, Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Consumer Sciences, Ghana
    - University of Business and Integrated Development, Faculty of Planning and Land Management, Ghana
    - University of Bonn, Centre for Development Research Bonn (ZEF), Germany
  • West African German Centre for Local Governance in Africa (CEGLA)
    Cooperation partners:    
    - African Centre for Higher Studies in Management (CESAG), Senegal
    - Abdou Moumouni University Niamey (UAMN), Niger
    - University of Law and Political Sciences of Bamako (USJPB), Mali
    - University of Applied Sciences Kehl (HSK), Germany    
    - Laboratoire d‘Etudes et de Recherche sur les Dynamiques Sociales et le Développement Local (LASDEL), Niger
    - Arnold Bergstraesser Institute (ABI), Germany
  • Kenyan German Centre for Mining, Environmental Engineering and Resource Management (CEMEREM)
    Cooperation partners:    
    - Taita Taveta University, Kenya
    - University of Applied Sciences Dresden (HTW Dresden), Germany
    - TU Bergakademie Freiberg, Germany
  • Promoting Academic Capacities for Sustainable Agricultural Resources Use in West Africa (Pro-RUWA)
    Cooperation partners:    
    - University of Abomey-Calavi (UAC), Benin
    - University of Abdou Moumouni (UAM), Niger
    - University of Dédougou (UDDG), Burkina Faso
    - University of Kassel, Germany
  • Sustainable Operations for Resource Management and Food Supply (SCO)
    Cooperation partners:    
    - University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM), Tanzania
    - University of Nairobi (UoN), Kenya
    - Kuehne Logistics University (KLU), Germany
  • Digital Initiative for African Centres of Excellence (DIGI-FACE)
    Cooperation partners:  
    - University of Applied Sciences Kehl (HSK), Germany  
    - University of Oldenburg, Germany
    - Nelson Mandela University, South Africa


In order to achieve the intended programme objectives even more efficiently, the DAAD targets the needs of developing and newly industrialised countries with its funding instruments and evaluates the impact of our funding programmes. A concept for a result-oriented monitoring system was developed and introduced in 2013 for the Centres of African Excellence programme.

The programme has been running for seven years. An interim evaluation shows that the funding model is on the right track:

  • The centres are becoming increasingly well-known in their region (increasing number of applicants and increasing internationality of the student body);
  • The centres are developing into “crystallisation points”, attracting further funding opportunities from various external sponsors (e.g. EU programmes, the BMZ, the Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation), and enabling integration with other DAAD programmes;
  • We have noted a great and increasing commitment and feeling of ownership of the project on the part of the African host universities (e.g. creating additional lecturer posts at the respective centre, providing further buildings);
  • The African partners have put together highly-motivated management teams;
  • The centres allow for training courses/degree programmes to be linked with practical modules “on site” in the form of work placements, field studies, or training with future employers or NGOs;
  • They are operated individually and adapted to the respective development situation and social needs of the host country;
  • They thus counter some of the obstacles (poor management structures, poor support, lack of infrastructure) to development and education in Africa.
DAAD - Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst - German Academic Exchange Service