Who Can Join the AAU

Public and private universities, polytechnics, higher education colleges and other institutions recognized by the country authorities as higher education and research institutions. For details, see the AAU constitution and bye-laws.

How to Join the AAU

  • Download and fill the application form
  • Attach copy of the charter, constitution and bye-laws, decree or other legal instrument of official creation of applicant institution
  • Attach copy of annual calendar, main academic regulations or other relevant documents that provide comprehensive information about the institution
  • Mail the full set of documents to the AAU Secretary General

Know More About the AAU

The following publications and sources provide a clearer insight into the AAU

The AAU website www.aau.org provides up-to-date information on current and future activities.

About the AAU

The Association of African Universities is an international non governmental organization set up by universities in Africa to promote cooperation among themselves and between them and the international Academic community.

The AAU, whose headquarters is in Accra, Ghana, was formed in November 1967 at a founding conference in Rabat, Morocco, attended by representatives of 34 universities who adopted the constitution of the Association. This followed earlier consultations among executive heads of African universities at a UNESCO conference on higher education in Africa in Antananarivo, Madagascar, in 1962 and at a conference of heads of African universities in 1963 in Khartoum, Sudan.

The AAU is the apex organization and principal forum for consultation, exchange of information and cooperation among the universities in Africa.

Objectives of the AAU

The constitutional objectives of the AAU are:

(a) To promote interchange, contact and cooperation among universities and other institutions of higher education in Africa;

(b) To collect, classify and disseminate information on higher education and research, particularly in Africa;

(c) To promote cooperation among African institutions in curriculum development, post graduate training, research, quality assurance, recognition of qualifications, the determination of equivalence of degrees, and other matters of special policy or practical interest to African higher education;

(d) To encourage and empower its members to address developmental challenges and become an effective voice in national, regional and global bodies;

(e) To study, and make known the educational and related needs of African universities and other institutions of higher education and, as far as practicable, to co-ordinate the means whereby those needs may be met;

(f) To contribute to the improvement of leadership, institutional management and the policy environment of African higher education;

(g) To organise, encourage and support public forums for information dissemination and exchange and policy dialogue on issues of higher education;

(h) To promote gender equity in policies on higher education and in the delivery of higher education services.

Please click here to see the full membership list.

Funding of the AAU

AAU is funded through:

  • Membership subscription fees;
  • Income from services provided and sales of publications;
  • Subventions from the African Union and African governments;
  • Grants from development partner agencies;
  • Capital investment fund and possibly an endowment fund (under consideration).

Membership Benefits

  • Participation in workshops and conferences and sharing experiences with other African universities in the international higher education community;
  • Access to information and documentation on African universities;
  • Participation in AAU staff exchanges and scholarship programmes;
  • Listing in AAU directory of higher education institutions;
  • Serve as short-term consultant and resource person;
  • Receive AAU publications  


  • Academic Staff ExchangeProgramme

The Academic Staff Exchange Programme is desinged to foster inter-university cooperation through exchange of external examiners, staff exchange for teaching, participation in seminars, workshops and conferences and research cooperation.  Universities may use the service to support invitations to staff from other universities for intensive teaching missions, usually lasting between one to three months.

The service may also be used to enable staff to participate in seminars, conferences and workshops in another African university outside their country or to facilitate research cooperation between African universities in different countries.

  • Fellowships and Scholarships

As part of the effort to enhance student mobility in Africa, the AAU makes available fellowships and scholarships on a competitive basis to support students from AAU member universities wishing to study in an African university outside their country of citizenship or normal residence.

  • On and off campus Special Issues Workshops

Over the years, the AAU has carried out a number of studies and conducted workshops and seminars on critical issues of higher education in Africa. In the process, considerable expertise on these issues has been accumulated both within the AAU Secretariat as well as among AAU resources persons in member universities.

On the invitation of a member university in good financial standing with respect to payment of membership subscriptions, the AAU will arrange to send to the university campus, at the AAU's expense, one of its resource persons or Secretariat staff to conduct a seminar or workshop on an issue relevant to AAU programmes and expertise for the benefit of the members to that university's community.

Information Exchange

The AAU has a Newsletter, which is published three times each academic year in English and French. The Newsletter carries news about African universities and features articles on higher education in Africa. It is circulated widely to universities and university libraries throughout Africa. Member universities are encouraged to send news about their activities for inclusion in the Newsletter.

The AAU engages in Online Publications of reports of workshops organised by its various Units such as ICT strategies and HIV/AIDS policies of universities, as well as official documents such as the AAU Strategic Plan, annual reports and press releases.

The AAU’s Roster of African Professionals (ROAP) is an online database that serves as a source of experts for AAU programmes as well as to members and partners, and gives international visibility to African expertise, to facilitate networking and collaboration among African professionals, and to enhance the AAU’s outreach capacity.

The AAU e-Courier diversifies AAU’s services to the HE community by filling the gap in regular updates on upcoming higher education events such as conferences, fellowships, job vacancies as well as promotional information on AAU products and services.

The Guide to Higher Education in Africa is published every two years and contains:

  • a listing of member universities;
  • information about their principal officers; and the programmes offered in the universities.

The AAU Homepage www.aau.org represents AAU's presence on the Internet. It provides information about AAU and member universities, and some useful Internet resources as well as links to partner organisations.

Research reports and reports of workshops and seminars conducted by the Association are also published.

Short-term consultants and resource persons

In the course of the implementation of its programmes, the AAU uses many experts as short term consultants and resource persons to carry out studies and prepare papers for the Association, and as facilitators for workshops and seminars.

Member Universities are given the opportunity in the first instance to propose members of their staff for consideration for those assignments as and when the need arises.

Professional Staff of the Secretariat

The AAU has a Secretariat with a small international professional staff of highly qualified people from different African countries. Most have come from senior academic positions in member universities with some on leave of absence from their institutions. The international professional appointments are for limited terms, and member universities are given opportunity in the first instance to nominate candidates for consideration to fill vacant positions as they occur.

Cooperation with Other Organizations

Where appropriate, the AAU works in collaboration with other national and international organisations, including governments.

The AAU has affiliations with an increasing number of organisations within and outside Africa, and has signed Memoranda of Understanding with a number of others.

I. Organisations with which the AAU is affiliated
1. International Association of Universities (IAU)
2. Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA)
3. Association of Arab Universities
4. Association of Commonwealth Universities
5. Association of Partly or Wholly French-speaking Universities (AUPELF)
6. United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA)
7. African and Malagasy Council for Higher Education (CAMES)
8. International Foundation of Science (IFS)
9. Accorded Observer Status at the African Union (AU)
10. Accorded Observer Status at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) 
11. Accorded Observer Status at the United Nations University (UNU)

II. Organisations with which AAU has signed Memoranda of Understanding
1. Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC)
2. National Association for Equal Opportunities in Higher Education (NAFEO)
3. New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD)
4. African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF)


The AAU has selected “Networking of African Higher Education Institutions for the Renewal of the African University” as its general theme for its Core Programme (2005-2009). As with previous Core Programmes, a number of sub-themes are developed around the general theme, as follows:

Institutional Collaboration in Higher Education

  • Study Programme on Higher Education Management in Africa
  • Networking in Graduate Training and Research
  • Quality Assurance
  • Gender and Higher Education in Africa
  • Staff Exchange and Academic Mobility

Leadership and Management

  • Leadership Development in Higher Education
  • Leadership and Management Research

Information and Communication Technology

  • ICT Curriculum Development
  • Networking of African HEIs - Bandwidth Programme
  • Improving Access to African Scholarly Work

Commissioned Research

  • GATS/WTO and Higher Education in Africa
  • Management of HIV/AIDS in Institutions of Higher Education


  • ADEA/Working Group on Higher Education
  • AAU and NEPAD
  • Scholarships and Other Support Grants



Two categories of members are spelt out under Article III (Sections 1 to 5) of the Constitution of the Association of African Universities as follows:

  Full Membership 
Section 1:
  Membership of the Association is open to
(a) Universities in Africa

(b) Institutions of higher education in Africa, which have university status in their respective countries.

Section 2:
(a) The Governing Board admits new members subject to ratification by the General Conference following the decision

(b) In recommending admission, the Governing Board shall be guided by the 'charter' orthe  instrument of incorporation of the applicant

(c) Where the applicant operates in a country with a national accreditation board or process, the Governing Board may take the decision of such a body into account in considering the application 

Associate Membership
Section 3:
An institution which does not satisfy Section 1 of this Article may be admitted as an Associate Member.

Section 4:
If in an African country there is no institution which is eligible to be admitted as a member of the Association in accordance with the provisions of the preceding sections of this Article, one institution of higher learning in that country may as a special case be admitted as an Associate member of the Association.

Section 5:
Associate membership may be extended to other institutions of higher education or regional bodies and networks whose members are accredited universities or whose objectives are to promote activities of universities, whether located in or outside Africa, in accordance with Section 2 of this Article and any bye-laws enacted for the purpose.


Any university desiring membership in the Association as of the next General Conference shall submit an application for membership to the Governing Board at least one month before the convening of the next General Conference. The application shall set forth that the applicant intends to adhere to the aims and objectives of the African Union and that the applicant meets the requirements set forth in Section I of the Bye-Laws.

The Governing Board may then admit new members by majority vote subject to ratification at the next General Conference by a simple majority of members present and voting.


Associate Members shall have the same rights and privileges and the duties of members except that an Associate Member may not vote or be a member of the Executive Board.

If and when an Associate Member fulfils the requirements for regular membership, it may be admitted to full membership at the next General Conference by a simple majority of members present and voting provided the Association has received advice in writing from the Associate Member, through the Governing Board, of the attainment of such status.



The Annual Membership Subscriptions rates are as follows:
Up to 500 Students – US$2,000
Over 500 Students – US$3,000
Associate members – US$2,000

In special circumstances, additional contributions and subscriptions may be assessed by the Governing Board.


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Our location

African Universities House    

11 Aviation Road Extension

Airport Residential Area 

Accra, Ghana  

Contact us

Give us a call at +233-302-774495 / 761588
Fax + 233-302-774821

Email us at info@aau.org

P. O. Box AN 5744
Accra-North  -  Ghana