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Sub-Saharan Africa

Australia Awards


Australia Awards have been offered in Africa since the 1960s and have become a flagship of Australia’s development cooperation on the continent. In 2014, 714 awards were provided, including 261 Australia Awards Scholarships and 453 Short Course Awards (Australia Awards Fellowships and Australia Awards Africa Fellowships).

The Australia Awards in Africa program offers Masters-level scholarships and short course awards. Our Awards focus on areas where we have world class expertise, and existing development and trade interests. These areas include extractives governance, agricultural productivity and public policy.

The Australia Awards program promotes gender equality and encourages women’s economic empowerment and disability inclusion. We engage and support our Australia Awards alumni through networking and professional development opportunities.

Australia Award Scholarships

Australia Award Scholarships are Masters-level awards undertaken at Australian universities, in subject areas that align with the aid program’s focus sectors in Africa. A supplementary leadership component is offered to high achieving Africans on Masters-level awards with proven leadership potential.

Profile: Nompumelelo Radebe (South Africa)

Nompumelelo Radebe says her Australia Award Scholarship opened her eyes about critical public sector areas in a way that she never thought possible. Before she completed her Master of Public Administration at the University of Sydney in 2009, Nompumelelo had been an Economist at South Africa’s National Treasury. Upon her return to South Africa, she was promoted to Senior Budget Analyst.

“Before my studies in Australia, I had limited experience and exposure in the policy and expenditure management environments, even though I had been working for the National Treasury where policy analysis and expenditure management lie at the core of what we do,” says Nompumelelo.

Nompumelelo now works in the Public Finance Division of the National Treasury. This is where New Public Management, more specifically outcomes-based budgeting, was being introduced. She was able to directly apply the knowledge and skills gained in Australia, specifically outcomes based budgeting.

“I am presently part of a task team that has been assigned responsibility for facilitating and overseeing the development of a policy on one-stop border posts for South Africa,” she explains.

Nompumelelo and the team are responsible for ensuring that the policy goes through the different facets of development, from identification to implementation and evaluation.

“I am hopeful that my direct contribution to the reforms in South Africa through the National Treasury will lead to further development of my beloved country,” adds Nompumelelo.

Source: GRM International

Australia Awards in Africa Fellowships

The Australia Awards Africa Fellowships include short courses of up to three months in sectors similar to the Australia Awards Scholarships. These Fellowships are delivered both in Africa and in Australia. The fellowships build skills and knowledge of participants, and help build institutional relationships between Australian and African organisations in delivering the short courses.

Australia Awards in Africa Fellowships: Supporting regulatory reform of the artisanal and small scale mining sector across Africa

Artisanal and small scale mining (ASM) has long been an important industry in Africa, providing economic opportunities for many impoverished families. The average earning of an ASM worker is less than a dollar a day, placing many of them in absolute poverty.

It is a highly unregulated industry that is now emerging as a challenge that governments can no longer ignore. Problems include environment degradation in affected communities, water pollution, land tenure, safety and labour standard issues.

Australia Awards support governments to develop regulatory, management and governance structures within the mining sector. A number of African professionals across the continent have participated in Africa Fellowship courses to develop such skills.

Miora Razafindrakoto from Madagascar explains: “The study in Australia gave me skills that have allowed me to create a climate of trust between all stakeholders in the mining area. This has resulted in a cooperative being formed that now regulates the gold operation in the region.” The cooperative established between local authorities and ASM workers has resulted in increased income, improved working conditions and the empowerment of ASM workers. Miora completed a Fellowship course on Corporate Community Relationships hosted in 2012.

Source: GRM International

Australia Awards Alumni

Australia Awards alumni represent an engaged and influential global network of leaders, advocates and change-makers. There are currently 5,000 African alumni of Australian Government scholarships, with 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.

Australia-Africa Women’s Forum: shaping the agenda on women’s leadership

“Inspiring, empowering, eye opener, fabulous” are just a few of the words women attending the Australia-Africa Women in Leadership Forum had to say when describing their experience. Hosted by the Australian Government, this two-day Forum focussed on Shaping the Future: Increasing Leadership and Opportunity for African Women and was held in Pretoria, South Africa on 7-8 July 2014.

Over 30 delegates from thirteen African nations converged on Pretoria to participate in discussions around best practice in leadership; in particular leadership for and by women. Male and female leaders from the region joined Women Network members in sharing their personal leadership journey with Forum participants.

“The Women Network is an ongoing legacy of the Australia-Africa relationship”, said Jamie Isbister, Head of Australian Development Cooperation in Africa, at the event’s opening ceremony.

There were plenty of inspiring, reflective and interactive discussions at the Forum.

“African women are about strength and we must celebrate their strength”, noted Theo Sowa, CEO of the Ghana-based African Women’s Development Fund who delivered the keynote address at the Forum. She reminded participants of the importance of collective and transformative leadership and urged leaders to bring other women along and expand the leadership table.

A reception was held on 7 July in the margins of the Forum and was attended by over 60 delegates, including representatives of the South African and Australian Governments. Ambassadors and High Commissioners from some of the countries represented in the Forum were also present at the function.

Representing the Hon Susan Shabangu, Minister of Women in the Presidency, Director General Veliswa Baduza spoke about the accomplishments achieved in women’s representation in political spaces in South Africa. She acknowledged that challenges remain in increasing women’s participation in decision-making structures across sectors. She welcomed the Women Forum and commended the Australian Government for the initiative.

“The Department of Women will be looking at forming strategic partnerships (…). Platforms such as the Australia-Africa Women in Leadership Forum, which seeks to bring together leading figures from Africa to discuss best practice in leadership, are therefore very strategic and key […]. We therefore commend the Australian Government for this initiative”, she stated.

An important part of the Women Forum was the participation of the Australia Awards African Women in Leadership Network. The Network was launched by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia in 2013 to promote Australian Government scholarships to potential female applicants from eligible countries in Africa and to support scholarship recipients embarking on their postgraduate studies in Australia. It also encourages members to engage in and provide leadership for gender equality and development initiatives in their home countries. The Network currently has over 230 members across 39 African countries, with many members involved in efforts to empower women in Africa.

Source: GRM International

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.

Australia Awards Fellowships

Australia Awards Fellowships offer Australian organisations, from all sectors, the opportunity to deepen and broaden their links with leaders and professionals in developing countries, by providing opportunities for Fellows to undertake short term study and professional development in Australia. These fellowships are in addition to those offered under the Australia Awards in Africa regional program. Further details can be found on the Australia Awards Fellowships page.


Last reviewed: 16 January, 2015