Education Trade Mission to South Africa, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire (optional)
March 7 - 10, 2016


The United States Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration, is organizing an education mission to South Africa and Ghana with an optional stop in the Côte d’Ivoire. Department of Commerce is partnering with the Department of State’s EducationUSA Advising Centers in each location. This trade mission will be led by a senior Department of Commerce official and the emphasis will be on higher education programs, community college programs and summer, undergraduate and graduate programs.

This mission will seek to connect U.S. higher education institutions to potential students and university/ institution partners in these three African countries. The mission will include student fairs organized by Education USA, embassy briefings, site visits, and networking events in our target cities of Johannesburg, Accra, and Abidjan. Participation in the Education Mission to these nations, rather than traveling independently to each market, will enhance the ability of participants to secure appropriate meetings with productive contacts in the target markets.

Summer programs seeking to participate should be appropriately accredited by an accreditation body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Community colleges, undergraduate and graduate programs seeking to participate should be accredited by a recognized accreditation body listed in Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) or Accrediting Council for Education and Training (ACCET), in the Association of Specialized and Professional Accreditors (ASPA), or any accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

The delegation will include representatives from approximately 25 different educational institutions.



At present, the African market presents a number of opportunities for American institutions seeking to expand educational opportunities to the region’s students. Access to quality education is a fundamental building block for economic and industrial development and improvement.

Africa as a whole is one of the “youngest continents,” with ‘outwardly mobile’ students comprising 25% of all students on the African continent- the highest rate in the world- and globally. The United States already represents the single largest target destination for students seeking international educational experiences. The continent has a growing middle class, and presently spends up to $900 million on education annually. In addition, of all African students presently in the United States, Ghana and South Africa rank in the top five countries amongst all African countries of origin.

Furthermore, both nations regularly employ English as a working and/or native language, significantly lessening barriers to entry for African students seeking education in the United States. However, of the 886,052 international students present in the United States in 2013/2014, less than 5% came from Sub-Saharan Africa. Further, less than one third were enrolled in graduate-level (or higher) programs, both of which highlight the great potential for development of an expanded American presence in the African educational sphere.

With the Ebola epidemic affecting the United States and countries in Europe and Africa, all three of these target markets remain Ebola-free with no reported cases of the disease. Travelers interested in learning more information about the disease and the countries impacted should visit the Center for Disease Control’s website at


South Africa

South Africa already has a significant presence in the United States (1,716 students in 2013), with trends from the previous five year period indicating a 1% increase in the number of South African students studying in the United States, a clear sign that increased institutional presence in South Africa has the potential to bring significant improvement to the number of South African students enrolling in the U.S.


Ghana, for its part, already sends a majority of its international students to the United States (2,914 in 2013). However, it has seen a decrease during the same period of 2%, an indication that increased presence and visibility of educational institutions in the region has clear potential to drive enrollment numbers to previous historical levels. Furthermore, Ghana already delivers domestic access to high-caliber undergraduate and graduate education; universities are highly selective. However, qualified students and human capital in Ghana far outstrip the capacity of Ghanaian universities, leaving internationally-oriented institutions to fill the gap.

Côte d’Ivoire

Côte d’Ivoire has likewise seen a significant enrollment shift, with enrollment over the previous five years increasing 38% (1,116 students in 2013). For Côte d’Ivoire in particular, the rising regional importance of English as a lingua franca further indicates future demand for the educational services of American institutions, demand that our trade mission seeks to capitalize on.

Target Institutions

  • Higher Education Institutions
  • Community College
  • Summer Programs
  • Undergraduate Programs
  • Graduate Programs


The goals of the United States Education Mission to Africa are: 1) to help participants gain market exposure and to introduce participants to the vibrant African market in the countries of South Africa, Ghana, and Côte d’Ivoire 2) to help participants assess current and future business prospects by establishing valuable contacts with prospective students and educational institutions/partners; and 3) to help participants develop market knowledge and relationships leading to student recruitment and potential partnerships.


The mission will stop in Johannesburg, South Africa; Accra, Ghana; and Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. In each location, participants will meet with U.S. government officials, key local institutions, and individual students attending the Education Fairs. They will also attend market briefings by United States Embassy officials, as well as networking events offering further opportunities to speak with local education officials and industry decision-makers.


Johannesburg, South Africa – March 6 – 8, 2016

Sunday, March 6, 2016 Johannesburg

  • Arrive in Johannesburg
  • Check into hotel

Monday, March 7, 2016 Johannesburg

  • Welcome and Briefing from the US and Foreign Commercial Service
  • Visit to Oprah Winfrey’s Leadership Academy
  • Visit to schools
  • Networking reception

Tuesday, March 8, 2016 Johannesburg

  • Additional visits to schools
  • Education Fair
  • Travel to Accra, Ghana

Accra, Ghana – Wednesday, March 9 – 10, 2016

Wednesday, March 9, 2016 Accra

  • Travel recovery
  • Welcome and briefing from the US and Foreign Commercial Service
  • Visits to schools
  • Reception at the U.S. Ambassador’s residence

Thursday, March 10, 2016 Accra

  • Education Fair
  • Depart to Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire for optional stop or return to the United States on own itinerary

Official Trade Mission Ends

Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire (OPTIONAL)

Friday, March 11, 2016 Abidjan

Welcome and briefing from the US Department of State (EducationUSA)

  • Visits to schools
  • Education Fair
  • Reception

Saturday, March 12, 2016

  • Departure to the USA


All parties interested in participating in the Education Trade Mission to Africa must complete and submit an application package for consideration by the Department of Commerce. All applicants will be evaluated on their ability to meet certain conditions and best satisfy the selection criteria as outlined below. The mission will open on a rolling basis to a minimum of 20 and a maximum of 25 appropriately accredited U.S. educational institutions. U.S. educational institutions already recruiting in Africa, as well as U.S. education institutions seeking to enter the African market for the first time, may apply.

Fees and Expenses:

After an institution has been selected to participate on the mission, a payment to the Department of Commerce in the form of a participation fee is required. The participation fee is $2,800 for one principal representative from each non-profit educational institution or educational institution with less than 500 employees and $3,300 for for-profit universities with over 500 employees1. An institution can choose to participate in the optional stop in Cote d’Ivoire for an additional $1,800 for one principal representative from each non-profit educational institution or educational institution with less than 500 employees and $1,900 for for-profit universities with over 500 employees. The fee for each additional representative is $600. Expenses for lodging, some meals, incidentals, and all travel (except for transportation to and from airports in-country, previously noted) will be the responsibility of each mission participant. The U.S. Department of Commerce can facilitate government rates in some hotels.

Conditions of Participation:

An applicant must submit a timely, completed and signed mission application and supplemental application materials, including adequate information on course offerings, primary market objectives, and goals for participation. The institution must have appropriate accreditation as specified per paragraph one above. The institution must be represented at the student fair by an employee. No agents will be allowed to represent a school on the mission or participate at the student fair. Agents will also not be allowed into the fairs to solicit new partnerships. If the Department of Commerce receives an incomplete application, the Department may reject the application, request additional information, or take the lack of information into account when evaluating the applications.

Participants must travel to both stops in South Africa and Ghana on the mission. Côte d’Ivoire is the only optional stop.

Each applicant must certify that the services it seeks to export through the mission are either produced in the United States, or, if not, marketed under the name of a U.S. firm and have at least 51 percent U.S. content of the value of the service.

Selection Criteria for Participation:

  • Consistency of the applicant’s goals and objectives with the stated scope of the mission.
  • Applicant’s potential for doing business in Africa, including the likelihood of service exports (education)/knowledge transfer resulting from the mission.

Referrals from political organizations and any documents containing references to partisan political activities (including political contributions) will be removed from an applicant’s submission and will not be considered during the selection process.


Mission recruitment will be conducted in an open and public manner, including publication in the Federal Register, posting on the Commerce Department trade mission calendar ( and other Internet web sites, press releases to general and trade media, direct mail, notices by industry trade associations and other multiplier groups, and publicity at industry meetings, symposia, conferences, and trade shows. Recruitment for the mission will begin immediately and conclude no later than January 15, 2016. Applications for the mission will be accepted on a rolling basis. Applications received after January 15, 2016, will be considered only if space and scheduling constraints permit.


CS Portland
Jennifer Woods
Senior International Trade Specialist
U.S. Commercial Service Portland
(503) 326-5290

CS Ft. Lauderdale
Tyler Hacking
Commercial Officer
U.S. Commercial Service Ft. Lauderdale
(954) 356-6645

CS South Africa (Johannesburg)
Mike Calvert
Commercial Officer
U.S. Commercial Service South Africa (Johannesburg)
(+27) 11 290-3062

Sanjay Harryparshard
U.S. Commercial Service South Africa (Johannesburg)

CS Ghana
Joseph Snapp
Commercial Specialist
U.S. Commercial Service Ghana
+233 (0) 30 274 1329

Paul Taylor
Senior Commercial Officer
U.S. Commercial Service Ghana

Côte d’Ivoire
Nina Toyo
EducationUSA Advisor
U.S. Embassy Abidjan
(225) 22 49 41 45

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