Harmonisation of African Higher Education Quality Assurance and Accreditation (HAQAA) initiative

Introduction and background

HAQAA Initiative logo

The Harmonisation of Quality Assurance and Accreditation in African Higher Education Initiative (HAQAA Initiative), now entering its third phase, aims to establish a harmonised system of quality assurance and accreditation at institutional, national, regional and continental pan-African levels. The HAQAA Initiative intends to support the realisation of the Pan-African Quality Assurance Framework (PAQAF), which is an African Union endorsed overriding framework for the harmonisation of quality assurance in higher education in Africa. It consists of several action lines and tools that have been developed or are in the process of being developed, intended to ensure quality provision in higher education in Africa, recognition of studies across borders and a common understanding on quality definitions and standards.

The HAQAA Initiative is funded by the European Union in partnership with the African Union.

HAQAA Resources

African Standards and Guidelines

African Quality Rating Mechanism


Between 2015 and 2018, the HAQAA1 initiative was implemented by a consortium comprising the University of Barcelona (coordinator), the Association of African Universities (AAU), the European University Association (EUA), the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA) and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). This initiative led to the development of the African Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance (ASG-QA), and the African Quality Rating Mechanism (AQRM).


The HAQAA2 project was launched in 2019 and ended in December 2022. With respect to the Consortium partners, OBREAL Global took over the responsibility assumed the responsibility for the overall coordination of the project from the University of Barcelona. All the other consortium partners remained the same as for HAQAA 1. HAQAA expanded the scope of HAQAA 1, through the introduction of a Policy Data Unit (PDU) and the development of recommendations for the establishment of the Pan-African Quality Assurance and Accreditation Agency (PAQAA). The PDU, co-ordinated by the AAU, brings regional higher education associations together to promote higher education data collection to support CESA (Continental Education Strategic for Africa) 2016-2025 and Agenda 2063.

Find out more about the achievements HAQAA 2, and to access the documents and reports developed during this phase of the Initiative.

Capacity Development for IQA and EQA under HAQAA 2

SARUA supported the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the University of Potsdam in the development of the HAQAA2 Training Course to build capacity for EQA and IQA. The purpose of the training was to promote understanding of the African Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance (ASG-QA) and the African Quality Rating Mechanism (AQRM) which are tools for internal and external quality assurance. These tools and other publications/reports are available at haqaa2.obsglob.org.

Two case studies were developed by Ms Sattar: “Quality Assurance developments in the SADC”, and “The African Standards and guidelines for Quality Assurance (ASG-QA)” which was developed collaboratively with Jeffy Mukora from Mozambique. SARUA has also provided support in the selection of the SADC cohort for the training. The training programme was offered in November 2021.


The Harmonisation, Quality Assurance, and Accreditation of African Higher Education Initiative (HAQAA3) is one of the flagship initiatives of the Global Gateway package of the EU in partnership with the European Commission and the African Union Commission. It was launched in July 2023 in Windhoek, Namibia – and is a 5-year project. The HAQAA3 Initiative is a continuation and expansion of the work done under HAQAA1 (2015-18) and HAQAA2 (2019-2022) and is an ambitious response to African and international development objectives, framed within the context of the EU’s growing investment in African partnership.

The ‘HAQAA3 Implementing Team’, comprises OBREAL Global (lead), AAU, DAAD and ENQA, and is supported by 9 strategic partners, and key stakeholders who also form a Steering Committee and are integrated into the implementation structure. HAQAA3 is based on an approach that underlines continuity with HAQAA1 and 2; regional buy-in and ‘beneficiaries’ who are also partners in implementation and building African capacity to lead. The core principles of HAQAA3 are building an understanding of the fundamentals of regional and continental higher education integration; multilingualism; Africa in a global context; gender balance and empowering African female leaders; embracing digitalization and greening, environmental sustainability and waste reduction.

SARUA’s Participation in HAQAA Structures

SARUA is a strategic regional partner for the SADC region under HAQAA 3. As such the SARUA Executive Director is a member of the HAQAA 3 Strategic Partner Steering Committee. In addition, Ms Bella Sattar represents SARUA in the Work Areas for the PAQAA, EQA & IQA, and the ACTS, and is a member of the PAQAA Technical Unit. Dr Charles Sheppard represents SARUA in the Work Area for African HE Data, and is a member of the Regional Data Units, under the leadership of the AAU.

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