The process of integrating a higher education system can be seen as a series of activities that contribute to the construction of a higher education area. The methodology used to develop the African higher education area is different from that used in Europe, which was supported first by the European Community and then by the Bologna Process. In Africa, it will build on the achievements of regional economic communities and will be sustained on three main pillars: (a) the legal framework for mutual recognition of qualifications; (b) the processes of harmonisation, homogenisation and convergence, including Quality Assurance; and (c) the integration and networking of academic and research institutions and infrastructure.
This contribution analyses the challenges and opportunities of higher education integration and suggests a methodology for building the African Higher Education Area. This methodology is based on harmonisation processes implemented in a coordinated way at regional and continental levels. These include harmonisation of curricula, quality assurance and accreditation mechanisms, credit transfer and accumulation systems, and qualifications frameworks. A major challenge remains to be addressed, namely mutual recognition of professional qualifications to enable nationals of one country to practice a profession in another country.