Australia Awards in Sub-Saharan Africa


Australia's flagship aid investment to Africa is a substantial but targeted Australia Awards Scholarship program. Australia Awards bring many benefits for Australia and recipients’ home countries including investment job creation and wealth generation. Through Australia Awards, we contribute to African leadership and human capacity development in the areas of extractives, agricultural and public policy, where Australia has extensive experience and expertise. By contributing to African leadership and skills development in these fields, Australia Awards are also supporting Australia's national interest in the security, stability and prosperity of Sub-Saharan Africa. Australia Awards have been offered in Africa since the 1960s. Australia will fund up to 500 short and long term awards for African students in 2018.

The Australia Awards program in Africa promotes and supports Australian development and economic diplomacy objectives in Sub-Saharan Africa through:

  • alumni returning from their study in Australia or Africa with new skills that help them to contribute to their country's development
  • Australia being recognised and valued by African nations as reliable partner and source of expertise, and
  • relationships formed between Australian and African people and organisations, which strengthens ties and cooperation.

The Australia Awards program to Africa offers Masters scholarships and short course awards to 21 countries. Our focus is on areas where Australia has world class expertise and existing development and economic interests. Australia Awards are open to high calibre, mid-level professional applicants from the public, private and community sectors (civil society). Our goal is to ensure 50 per cent of awards recipients are women.

Australia Award Scholarships

Australia Award Scholarships are Masters-level awards undertaken at Australian universities. Australia Award Scholarships contribute to the long term objectives of developing countries by equipping Awardees with the skills and knowledge they need to drive change and achieve sustainable economic growth and social development. Scholarships are offered to emerging leaders from eligible countries in a variety of fields aligned with national development priorities and in which Australia has world class expertise.

Australia Awards Africa short courses

The Australia Awards Africa short courses are tailored short (usually 6-8 weeks) post-graduate courses in sectors where Australia has recognised expertise and which are areas of priority to partner governments (agriculture, extractives and public policy). They are delivered through Australian registered training organisations, in partnership with African institutions, to 21 countries. Short courses also provide awardees with a broader set of skills and appreciation for gender equity, inclusive development, good governance, ethics and transparency.

Agricultural Productivity Short Course (Agribusiness)

The Australia Awards - Africa short course on agricultural productivity (Agribusiness) recently concluded in Accra, Ghana. The Australian High Commissioner, H.E. Andrew Barnes, hosted a reception to welcome the 26 course participants from 12 African countries. Participants included 15 women.

Course participants entering an event walking past HE Andrew Barnes as he welcomes them.
H.E. Andrew Barnes welcoming Agribusiness course participants.

The course, delivered by The University of Queensland, included six weeks training in Australia and a ten-day fieldwork component in Accra, Ghana. The course objective was to further develop the participants’ knowledge and skills, and enable them to contribute more effectively to their nation’s response to the challenges of sustainable economic development and food security.

Large group of people waving at the camera.

Australia Awards in Africa comprises Masters level scholarships and short courses. These awards aim to support the leadership needs of African professionals as well as effectively focus training on areas most relevant to Africa’s development priorities.

Australia Awards Alumni

Australia Awards alumni represent an engaged and influential global network of leaders, advocates and change-makers. African alumni of Australian Government scholarships are a growing number occupying senior positions in government, regional organisations and in key commercial sectors. Australia Awards will continue to strengthen these enduring people-to-people links.

The Australia Awards Alumni Ambassador initiative taps into the enormous potential of alumni by forming a cadre of volunteer champions across the continent committed to promoting and representing the Australia Awards program in Africa and further raising the profile of Australia in Africa. There are currently 24 alumni associations across Africa. We offered nine training opportunities to support 98 alumni in 2017, eight of which took place in Africa.

Deakin University’s Alumni Community Awards

Each year, Deakin University's Alumni Community Awards recognise, acknowledge and promote prominent Alumni around the world who have achieved outstanding success in their communities, professions or given outstanding service to the University. Deakin University hosted a reception in Melbourne on 27 September 2017 for HE George K Zulu, then High Commissioner of Zambia (in Canberra). He was awarded the Alfred Deakin Alumni Award for International Diplomacy for his contribution and commitment to International Diplomacy.

HE George K. Zulu holding his award in front of a Deakin University banner

Alumni association empowers youth and female leaders

The Australia-South Africa Alumni Association (ASAA) places great emphasis on youth empowerment and supporting future female leaders. Among the key highlights for the ASAAA in 2016/17 was the partnership with Aurora and Letsibogo Girls' High Schools. The ASAAA has been working with the schools to implement a mentorship program.

The ASAAA hosted a career day for the Grade 12 students of Letsibogo Girls' High School on October 1, 2016, where various industry professionals discussed with the girls how to make informed career choices. Take-a-girl-child-to-work-day is one of the association's flagship projects. In 2016/17, 318 young female students from the adopted girls' high schools participated in this initiative. Sixteen girls from the ASAAA's adopted schools were invited to attend the Business Women's Association of South Africa, Business Woman of the Year Awards, held at the Sandton Convention Centre in August 2016.

How to apply

Eligibility criteria for Australia Awards in Africa may differ from country to country. For more details on the application guidelines and eligibility, visit the Australia Awards in Africa website.

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Last Updated: 4 January 2019