Graduate unemployment is a big problem and a key policy priority for many African governments, not least, the correlation between unemployment, poverty and conflict, which are forcing mainly young Africans to immigrate to Europe in search of livelihoods.
Part of the problem is that students are confronted with a system of higher education traditionally focused on educating for public-sector employment rather than for self-employment.
This phenomenon, most evident in East Africa particularly in Ethiopia and Uganda, creates a spectre of a region full of graduates without livelihoods.
Similarly, in Ghana, 41.6% of 25-29 years are unemployed most of them graduates, whilst in South Africa 7% of all graduates (although this percentage is much higher amongst black graduates) are currently unemployed.
As a consequence, there is a heavy emphasis on entrepreneurship education to address graduate unemployment. However, the way entrepreneurship curriculum is designed and taught in many African countries is not fit for purpose.
Graduates leave school without the necessary employability skills and competencies to respond to labour market demands.
Crucially, providing graduates with the knowledge and skills to create their own jobs is a precondition for human capital and sustainable development in Africa, particularly in countries emerging from conflict.
Thus, the main objective of HEED-Africa is to develop and implement a harmonised entrepreneurship education ecosystem in Sub-Saharan Africa through enhanced academic mobility across five regional higher education institutions.
The aim is to create the learning conditions that make it easy for tutors and students alike to increase their ability as graduates to become job creators rather than job seekers.
The expected outputs of the project include training of up to seventy-three masters and twenty-four doctorate students as well as twenty staff with the skills in entrepreneurialism in a way not currently offered at their own institutions.
The HEED-Africa research projects are expected to provide unique empirical insights into inter-institutional processes for harmonising entrepreneurship programmes through joint publications and conferences papers.
Overall, it supports the development of a more harmonized pedagogy for teaching, researching and transferability of entrepreneurship education best practices for graduate employment across the continent.