International Educator - May/June 2019 - 30

Recruiting Across Africa
What to know about the next big market for
international students
Where will the United States's international students of tomorrow come
from? To a far greater extent than in the
past, the answer may be Africa.
It is an answer dictated by demographics
and a huge youth bulge-the median age in
sub-Saharan Africa is 19.5 years old-that
will cause African students to be a large
segment of new international students.
Recruiting more African students will
be vital to higher education institutions
in the United States for a variety of
reasons: diversifying international student
populations, recruitment pipelines,
and revenue sources, to name a few.
Understanding demographics and changes
in mobility patterns, as well as the needs
and challenges of students from a diverse
continent, is critical to creating and
executing a successful recruitment strategy.

Demographics and
Mobility Patterns
"Africa is the new China, populationwise," says Adina Lav, assistant provost
for international enrollment at George
Washington University (GW). "It is an
up-and-coming market."
The continual rise of African
students studying abroad in recent years
supports this claim. The share of tertiary
international students deriving from subSaharan Africa increased from 296,393
in 2012 to 374,423 in 2017, according to
United Nations Educational, Scientific and
Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
France has historically been the largest
destination market for African students
seeking to go abroad for higher education,
given large investments and ties with its
former francophone colonies-especially
30  

INTERNATIONAL EDUCATOR M AY + J U N.2019

in North and West Africa-and low
tuition for accepted students to most of its
institutions. (Though last year, the French
prime minister announced that tuition
for non-European Union students would
increase by 16-fold in autumn 2019.)
Behind France, there is continuing
competition for the second spot in the
market for African students. In 2014,
China surpassed the United States and
the United Kingdom-each hosts around
40,000 foreign African students a year,
according to UNESCO-to become the
second most popular destination for
African students studying abroad.
In 2017-18, 39,479 sub-Saharan
African students studied in the United
States, up 4.6 percent from 2016-17 and
representing 3.6 percent of total inbound
international students, according to
Institute of International Education
(IIE)'s Open Doors report. Students
from North Africa, a far smaller cohort,
numbered 7,268 in 2017-18, down 3.7
percent from 2016-17 and representing
0.7 percent of total students.
Particularly noteworthy has been the
steady increase in graduate students from
sub-Saharan Africa studying in the United
States over the past 4 years, with first-time
enrollment growth of 27 percent from
fall 2016 to fall 2017 and 5 percent from
fall 2017 to fall 2018. These are among
the most rapidly growing sending rates
of any world region for that two-year
period, according to a Council of Graduate
Schools study.
This in part reflects that the higher
education sector has matured in some
African countries, such as Eritrea,
Ethiopia, Sudan, and Uganda, says Nancy

Keteku, who was EducationUSA's regional
educational advising coordinator for West
and Central Africa for 22 years.
Graduate students may be the next
largely untapped frontier for many
institutions, she says. "There is very little
active recruiting going on at the graduate
level-there are minimal MBA or STEM
fairs," Keteku says.
Still, overall, mobility patterns of
inbound sub-Saharan African students
studying at U.S. institutions show a
rollercoaster ride over the past 4 decades.
This fluxation largely reflects the inbound
mobility patterns for Nigeria given the
country's dominant position as the largest
sending country and its economic and
political struggles, says Keteku.
Generally, African recruiting has been
less affected by issues of racial tension,
immigration, and U.S. school violence that
have become problematic for attracting
students from other regions, Keteku says.
"Most of these students have grown
up in unstable conditions," Keteku says. "It
takes more than a disrupted political system
to discourage them. They have seen worse
and say it is relatively better here. We see
that now, and we saw the same thing after
9/11. There was a dip in numbers from
many locations, but not from Africa."

Return on Investment
The continent can be a challenging
location for recruiting, given its size
and expansive linguistic and cultural
diversity between regions, as well as
within each country's borders. In many
places throughout Africa, limited
basic infrastructure-such as internet,
telecommunications, roads, and rail
systems-that are often taken for granted
can hinder travel and communication
during recruiting trips.
But the return on investment of
time, resources, and finances can reap
rewards once students are on campus,
and many international educators in the



International Educator - May/June 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of International Educator - May/June 2019

From the Desk of
In Brief
Global Spotlight: Iran
Quick Questions
Feature: Africa’s Education Evolution
Feature: Mental Health: At Home and Abroad
Feature: The Faces of International Education
Education Abroad
International Student Affairs
International Enrollment Management
International Education Leadership
Forum
Take 5
International Educator - May/June 2019 - Cover1
International Educator - May/June 2019 - Cover2
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 1
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 2
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 3
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 4
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 5
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 6
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 7
International Educator - May/June 2019 - From the Desk of
International Educator - May/June 2019 - In Brief
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 10
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 11
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 12
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 13
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 14
International Educator - May/June 2019 - Global Spotlight: Iran
International Educator - May/June 2019 - Quick Questions
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 17
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 18
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 19
International Educator - May/June 2019 - Feature: Africa’s Education Evolution
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 21
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 22
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 23
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 24
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 25
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 26
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 27
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 28
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 29
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 30
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 31
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 32
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 33
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 34
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 35
International Educator - May/June 2019 - Feature: Mental Health: At Home and Abroad
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 37
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 38
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 39
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 40
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 41
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 42
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 43
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 44
International Educator - May/June 2019 - Feature: The Faces of International Education
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 46
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 47
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 48
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 49
International Educator - May/June 2019 - Education Abroad
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 51
International Educator - May/June 2019 - International Student Affairs
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 53
International Educator - May/June 2019 - International Enrollment Management
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 55
International Educator - May/June 2019 - International Education Leadership
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 57
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 58
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 59
International Educator - May/June 2019 - Forum
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 61
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 62
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 63
International Educator - May/June 2019 - Take 5
International Educator - May/June 2019 - Cover3
International Educator - May/June 2019 - Cover4
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