A major Afropolitan initiative for the University of Cape Town (UCT) is its current membership of the Africa Regional International Staff/Student Exchange (ARISE) programme. UCT is one of the programme’s partner institutions and the co-ordinating institution for ARISE.

The programme is the result of the ambitious Intra-ACP Academic Mobility Scheme, which aims to promote co-operation between higher education institutions in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (the ACP regions) and support mobility in these regions. More specifically, the scheme aims to increase access to quality education, thus enabling ACP students to undertake postgraduate studies, and to promote student retention in the region along with mobility of staff (academic and administrative), while increasing the competitiveness and attractiveness of the institutions themselves.

The primary funder of the scheme is the European Development Fund, which provided €40 million for the initiative. A further €5 million was provided by the South African government through the African Union’s Mwalimu Nyerere programme for Africa, a flagship project of the AU.

In 2012, UCT received funding from the Intra-ACP Mobility Scheme to partner with other institutions on the continent to start the ARISE programme. The ARISE partner institutions are the University of Cape Town (South Africa, co-ordinating institution), Addis Ababa University (Ethiopia), Makerere University (Uganda), the University of Nairobi (Kenya), the National University of Rwanda (Rwanda) and the University of Ghana, Legon (Ghana). ARISE’s technical partner is the University of Leuven (Belgium) and the International Education Association of South Africa (IEASA) serves as an associate partner.


The aim of ARISE is to support sustainable development and poverty alleviation by increasing the availability of trained and qualified high-level professional personnel in African countries. It does so by funding postgraduate studies, as well as opportunities for student and staff exchanges, within and between partner countries and institutions.

‘Food Security and Sustainable Human Wellbeing’ was selected as a theme in response to the pressing Millennium Development Goals. The focus areas for the programme are agriculture, energy, engineering and the medical sciences.

ARISE will offer 100 mobility opportunities. Awards take the form of full-degree scholarships for Master’s and doctoral students, short-term exchanges and opportunities for academic and administrative staff mobility. The first 41 scholarships were awarded in 2013.  For more information, please visit the ARISE website.