Supporting the Pan African University (PAU) and establishing the Institute of Water and Energy Sciences (including Climate Change) (PAUWES)

Project description

Title: Supporting the Pan African University and establishing the Institute of Water and Energy Sciences (including Climate Change) (PAUWES))
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Africa (supraregional), Algeria
Lead executing agency: Department of Human Resources, Science and Technology (HRST); African Union Commission (AUC), Rectorate of the Pan African University
Overall term: 2011 to 2019

Algeria. Students of the University of Tlemcen (Photo: Mohammed El Amine Hefhaf) © GIZ


Water, energy and climate change are issues of particular relevance for Africa’s sustainable development. In order to meet the challenges associated with these issues, the continent needs highly qualified specialist, technical and managerial staff, applied research, innovation transfer and technology transfer.

So far, however, the higher education sector has lacked high-quality graduate and doctoral programmes recognised as conforming to international standards, and there has been an absence of application-oriented research on subjects of practical relevance to Africa. In many cases the staff are insufficiently qualified, and African scientists cannot fully explore complex issues that are of key importance for the future. Since there is precious little knowledge transfer and the African higher education sector can only make a limited contribution to the international scientific community, many young scientists as well as specialist, technical and managerial staff leave the continent to work.

The African Union Commission (AUC) responded to this by founding the Pan African University (PAU) in 2008 with a view to establishing a model for excellence. PAU is divided into five thematic institutes in North, West, East, Southern and Central Africa; its Rectorate will be located in Yaoundé, Cameroon in the future.


The Pan African Institute for Water and Energy Sciences (including Climate Change) – PAUWES – in Algeria is part of the Pan African University (PAU) and is contributing to Africa’s sustainable development. The Pan African University acts as a model for quality and relevance and for the pan-African and international focus of the science sector in Africa.


GIZ is supporting the African Union and the PAU Rectorate in developing the Pan African University and establishing the Pan African Institute for Water and Energy Sciences (including Climate Change) – PAUWES – in Tlemcen, Algeria.

Activities include:

  • Strengthening the African Union Commission (AUC) and advising on the establishment of the PAU Rectorate

Since June 2011, GIZ has been advising the AU Commission on establishing the PAU Rectorate and on international networking and ensuring academic independence. GIZ is contributing advisory input on organisational issues, networks and processes, thereby boosting the planning and implementation capacity of PAU and its Rectorate. It also provides support in acquiring additional international donors and in safeguarding financial sustainability.

  • Supporting the institutional development of PAUWES

With the support of GIZ, PAUWES is developing administrative and university management structures as well as academic quality assurance processes. PAUWES offers African students international master's degree programmes with a focus on professional practice and academic research; doctoral programmes are being planned. The Institute has links with scientific institutions all over the continent and cooperates with international scientific partners on water, renewable sources of energy and climate change issues. In this way, PAUWES promotes applied research geared to African needs. GIZ also advises PAUWES on designing degree courses and research to focus on employment, entrepreneurship and relevance to African development. It supports and promotes cooperation with the public sector, private sector and civil society.

GIZ supports PAUWES in promoting gender equality and cross-cultural exchange at the Institute.

The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) is involved in the programme and facilitates networking with German universities. A consortium of German universities, consisting of ITT at Cologne University of Applied Sciences, the United Nations University in Bonn and the Center for Development Research at the University of Bonn, cooperates with PAUWES in teaching and research and contributes to the quality of the programmes.

KfW Development Bank funds scholarships for students, teaching staff costs and equipment and infrastructure at the PAUWES.

In addition, GIZ and KfW are supporting the establishment of the PAU Entrepreneurship Centre at the University of Tlemcen in Algeria. KfW is funding the refurbishment of premises while GIZ is supporting the development of a concept for the Entrepreneurship Programme and its implementation.


A governance structure has been established for both the Pan African University (PAU) and the Pan-African Institute for Water and Energy Sciences (including Climate Change) – PAUWES. It includes a University Council and regular planning meetings with donors and partners and is designed to facilitate decision-making, cooperation and communication.

The structural and administrative framework required for the first intake of students was established at the PAUWES Institute. Curricula and degree courses which are geared to the needs of Africa were developed with partners and international representatives from academia and professional practice. The Institute opened in October 2014. It offers master’s degree courses in energy and water engineering and policy. International committees select students from all over Africa. Two cohorts have now completed their studies. PAUWES has entered into its first cooperation with a German university consortium as part of its academic networking activities. Doctoral programmes are also in the pipeline.

Algeria. Students of the University of Tlemcen (Photo: Mohammed El Amine Hefhaf) © GIZ