Education plays an essential part in helping to reduce global poverty and achieve sustainable social, economic, political and cultural development. Educated people are better equipped to find employment and take part in social development processes in their respective countries. In addition to setting quality standards and making sure the education sector adheres to them, Austria is committed to encouraging inclusive approaches. The Austrian Development Agency (ADA), the operational unit of Austrian Development Cooperation, therefore aims to help more people gain equal access to vocational education and training as well as higher education.


A functioning and efficient higher education system is essential both for sustainable national social and economic development and for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) . Well-educated people are in a better position to fill key leadership and expert positions, and are better prepared for the demands of the global knowledge society. This is why ADA strengthens educational institutions and builds local expert capacity.

Cooperation in the research sector seeks to support developing countries in gaining scientific and technological independence and in narrowing the North-South gap. ADA promotes both South-South cooperation and networking between universities in Austria and its partner countries. The Austrian Partnership Programme in Higher Education and Research for Development (APPEAR) showcases how Austrian Development Cooperation strengthens the capacities of higher education institutions in teaching, research and management.


Vocational education and training (VET) paves the way for adequately paid work and opens up prospects for productive employment. As a consequence, ADA promotes the development of modern educational services and the establishment of effective national VET systems. Close cooperation among the education sector, the private sector and special interest groups plays an increasingly important role in fostering the economic benefits of VET system reform

ADA supports formal and informal training and education, aligned with actual labour-market needs and combined with work-based learning elements . Gaining occupational skills and knowledge is essential especially for marginalized population groups and regions.


ADA aligns its programmes and projects with both the development as well as educational and science strategies of its partner countries and collaborates with other bilateral donors, multilateral organisations, the European Union, expert bodies, educational institutions, the private sector and academic community. Austrian Development Cooperation pays particular attention to designing needs-based and sustainable programmes in order to ensure long-term development.