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EU and Zambia Strengthen Cooperation on Education and Research

Today at the Global Gateway High-Level Event on Education in Brussels, European Commissioner Jutta Urpilainen showcased the European Union’s strong commitment to invest in quality education for all, signing with the Honourable Minister of Education Douglas Syakalima an agreement to work together to implement €110 million in EU grant funding for the benefit of Zambia’s National Development Plan and Free Education Initiative. The funds will help enhance the quality of primary and secondary education, reduce girls’ dropout rate, increase accessibility for learners with disabilities, and boost early childhood education and development in the Luapula and North-Western Provinces.    

Commissioner Urpilainen said: “The European Union’s Global Gateway investments in education are focused on enhancing access to quality education and skills training for all in an equitable way. Education and skills are key to combating inequalities and to creating jobs and prosperity, in particular in the context of the just green and digital transitions.”

Commissioner Urpilainen also signed 15 Intra-Africa Mobility Scheme projects funded by the EU with €27 million under the flagship Youth Mobility for Africa. The projects will provide learning mobility opportunities for students, trainees and staff across the continent to boost high-level green and digital skills. The Copperbelt University in Zambia will participate in the projects Gr2A – Grow Green Africa: Building Climate Change Resilience Through Smart Green Technologies. The project will be funded by the EU with €1.8 million in total.

The Gr2A project seeks to address the challenges of climate change and promote sustainable development through knowledge exchange and the acquisition of green computing competences. This is expected to result in an increase of both human and technological capacity in green computing, climate change mitigation, more employment opportunities in green jobs, and an enhanced global competitiveness of the region and Africa.

Commissioner Urpilainen also launched a key initiative of the Youth Action Plan in EU external relations, the Africa-Europe Youth Academy, which will provide opportunities for formal and informal learning and exchanges to young people looking to improve their leadership skills and create networks between Africa and Europe. Finally, Zambia can also benefit from the regional Team Europe Initiative on Opportunity-driven Skills and Vocational Education and Training in Africa, launched today, which will orient country-level vocational training initiatives towards concrete employment opportunities created by Global Gateway investments.


Education is a powerful mechanism to address inequality and poverty, boosting human potential, opening doors for girls, youth and marginalised groups, and providing a springboard for human connections, debate and democratic values.

The European Union is the leading investor in education worldwide. The EU institutions and Member States provide more than 50% of all official development aid to education worldwide. The EU committed to dedicating at least 10% of its international partnerships budget for the period 2021–2027 to education. In the period 2021–2023, the EU’s commitments have amounted to around €3 billion, approximately 13% of the budget.

Source: European Commission