“Bienvenue en France” which literally means “Welcome to France” is a campaign which was announced last year by the French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, and is being launched worldwide this month.
The campaign is a strong will of the French Government to create both a label given to some French universities which are improving their conditions to welcome international students and a strategy to attract more international students.
Speaking at the launch, Madam Avè noted that, this strategy was articulated around three key points; firstly, ‘Better welcome conditions’ which highlights visa issuance and students’ mobility as well as better access to accommodation.
Madam Avè said the second point was to ensure better financial equity, saying that, tuition fees in France remained low, and mostly subsidized by the French Government; and as a result, France remained the less expensive country when it comes to study abroad.
The Ambassador said the third point highlighted on international soft power, which talks about fostering and supporting the implementation of French institutions abroad through the creation of a 20 million Euros/year support fund, starting in 2020.
She further noted that France was indeed a high-quality choice for Ghanaian institutions wanting to partner with Europe, particularly in areas such as academic excellence, well-developed network of academic and scientific partners (private sector, European institutions and other European universities).
“France was also a high-quality choice for Ghanaian students and young professionals; an investment for France, which is subsidizing studies of foreign students in the country and wants to keep a strong link with them.
Ghana is also a high-quality choice for French institutions wanting to invest in Africa, and it is not necessarily a financial investment for them”. She added.
Madam Avè noted that their French universities chose to come to Ghana, because Ghana held a huge potential in terms of Higher Education and research and in terms of collaboration or research.
She said their French private companies chose to come to Ghana, because they also want to invest in youth education and in the training of their future collaborators.
She said France and Ghana recently signed agreements, during the visit of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to Paris, to exchange more youths with Ghana (volunteers, language assistants), saying that,
“I am sure Ghana’s universities will be able to welcome more French students in the future”.
Speaking to the Ghana News Agency, Mrs Oumou Diakite, Deputy Head of Africa Unit, Campus France, said the event created a platform for the French Ambassador to officially welcome all French institutions that came to Ghana.
She stated that all 25 French institutions were in Ghana for the fifth France Ghana Higher Education and Research Conference, as such it was important for the Ambassador to welcome them and as well stress on the cooperation between the two countries.
Mrs Diakite said their role was to mobilise people across Africa, hence, her aim was to make more mobility from African countries for African students, to France, “to let them know that France is a welcoming country”.