Certificate & Diploma in Development (Agenda 2063)


Globalization and the information technology revolution have provided unprecedented opportunities for countries and regions in Africa with the right policies to make significant advances and lift huge sections of populations out of poverty, improve incomes and catalyze economic and social transformation.

According to the AU, Agenda 2063 is an approach of how the continent should effectively learn from the lessons of the past, build on the progress now underway, and strategically exploit all economic, financial and social possibilities available in the short, medium and long term, so as to ensure positive socio-economic transformation within the next 50 years. According to the AU, Africa today is more united, a global power to reckon with, capable of rallying support around a common agenda and speaking with one voice with demonstrated strong capacity to negotiate and withstand the influence of forces that would like to see it divided.

Do you want to understand the challenges of sustainable human development in Africa? Do you want to develop an in-depth understanding of the main debates surrounding Agenda 2063, and engage in informed and critical ways with African professionals from diverse backgrounds? Do you want to develop the analytical and practical skills required to address some of Africa’s most pressing challenges including social injustices, climate change, poverty, corruption, inequality, sustainability and (in)security?

 With our certificate and diploma programmes, you’ll learn how to approach African development problems with creativity, confidence and the ability to work collaboratively. Our certificate and diploma development program provide theoretical foundations and opportunities for practice-based understanding of development policy, programs and outcomes. You can intern at local organizations, undertake a field school, and complete a research-based supervised essay to qualify for our diploma.

You’ll also choose your own specialisation – such as health, education, gender,youth, regional trade, anti-corruption strategies, human rights, international relations within the broad confines of Agenda 2063 – and produce a 6000-word essay based on your research to qualify for the Diploma.And when you graduate, you’ll have expert knowledge of development issues and strong career prospects in the development sector – and desirable transferable skills such as communication, and qualitative and quantitative research methods.

Regional leaders in development studies

ISAU is a regional research and learning organisation for equitable and sustainable change. In partnership with the Legacy University in The Gambia, ISAU is ranked first in the Africa for development studies.It is the only institution offering a course in Agenda 2063. Why study with us? Address issues in development policy and debate with experts in anthropology, international relations, political economy, human rights, peace and conflict studies, linguistics, public health, human geography, economics and sociology. Benefit from workshops, seminars and conferences in a research-driven environment, and from our strong commitment to building industry relationships in The Gambia.On this unique course of its kind in the world, you’ll explore the history, theory and practice of regional development, including our core programme – the implications of Agenda 2063. You will also explore issues related to (neo)colonialism and globalization, and unpack the tools, strategies and techniques used in the field

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What you will experience?

On this course, you’ll learn about the key topics in the field of Development Studies, including:

  • Understanding Agenda 2063, the African governance architecture, Africa free trade agreement, Africa’s key financial institutions for continental development, regional unity, Understanding key institutions of the AU, Africa’s Economic Community and their Recs, the theory and practice of development, applied research methods, international and comparative criminal justice, the role of gender, African youth, contemporary (in)security, education, health, and the economics of development, social injustices, climate change, poverty, corruption, inequality and sustainability.
  • Critically engage with a topic of your choice, using your own research to inform your work
  • Unpack the tools needed to carry out systematic and methodologically sound research, including literature reviews and empirical research
  • Be able to justify any ethical considerations in relation to your research
  • Access our virtual learning facilities which include webinars, discussion forums, one-to-one online tutorials with lecturers, and Skype meetings
  • Be supported by experts in the field of International Development Studies

Course content and structure

Our online academic year commences in September. Three terms run as follows: (First Term) September to December, (Second Term) January to March and (third Term) April to June.

We offer a wide choice of module options, allowing students flexibility to choose their area of interest and grow intellectually within the overall certificate or diploma framework.

Core modules are taken by all students on the course. They give you a solid grounding in your chosen subject and prepare you to explore the topics that interest you most.

The objectives of the programme are:
• To guide students through basic research methods in development studies in order to explore and understand the various development challenges faced by communities in Africa.
• To equip students with knowledge and skills that equips them to be agents of positive change in readiness for society of 2063.
• To expose students to various theories, topical issues and practical examples of transformative development processes so that they can inform social change processes in communities.

Core modules:
• Ideas in development and policy, evidence and practice
• Key institutions of the AU
• Understanding Agenda 2063
• African governance architecture& the democratic deficit
• Pan-Africa Free Trade Area
• Reinventing growth in Africa: development and technological innovation
• Africa’s financial institutions for continental development
• Regional unity
• Africa’s Economic Community and their Recs
• Applied research methods
• Research Design
• 6000-word essay (For the Diploma)

Alongside your core modules, you will have to choose four other options to complete the programme:
• International and comparative criminal justice
• Role and politics of gender
• Role of the African youth in development
• Contemporary (in)security
• Education
• Nutrition, health and development
• Economics of development
• Debating social injustices
• Climate change
• Poverty, violence and conflict
• Poverty alleviation strategies
• Disasters and Disaster Preparedness
• Anti-corruption
• Inequality and sustainability
• Human rights
• Aid and poverty: the political economy of development assistance
• Climate change and development
• Designing critical enquiry
• Public financial management
• Theory and Practice of Impact Evaluation
• Unruly Politics
• Project Planning and Management



You’ll be assessed through term papers, coursework assignments, practical exercises, and a 6,000-word essay (for the diploma).

Further entry requirements
In addition to the listed entry requirements, applications must be accompanied by a detailed two-page personal statement, explaining why you are applying for the programme and the relevance of your previous experience.

Additional costs for optional fieldwork
You have the option to undertake fieldwork for this course (though it is not mandatory). You will need to cover the additional costs that this entails. Costs will depend on the scope and scale of the activities. For example, conducting interviews in your hometown could cost very little, whereas travelling overseas to interview government officials could cost much more in terms of flights, accommodation and subsistence. There may also be options for desk-based research, such as paying for access to research databases. If you wish to conduct fieldwork, you should always talk to your course convenors and before making any arrangements.

Career Pathways

The Diploma in Development Studies course is ideal if you are already working, or hope to work in the development sector in Africa.Successful applicants will have some practical experience in development alongside an interest in critical academic enquiry. You’ll develop your professional networks and identify career opportunities during the course of your studies, and receive advice and guidance about your career progression from the experts and development practitioners.We, however, welcome applicants with a broad range of career trajectories.

You’ll graduate with greater knowledge of African development issues, strong career prospects in the development sector, and the option to progress to postgrad study.The programme aims to produce skilled people who can apply basic to middle level skills in African development.

The Diploma in Development Studies equips you for a career as an administrator, planner, educator or manager. You are also able to work within non-government organisations such as AU Watch the AU, United Nations and even the World Bank.

Who Should Apply

The course is intended for staff members of (inter)governmental and civil society organizations working in the interface between development and human rights work, including in the fields of rights protection, development aid, social responsibility, trade and investment, environment protection, indigeneity, gender, child rights etc. The course is also intended for staff members of (international) development agencies, academics and others interested in the aforesaid areas. (Post)Graduate students with specific research interests in these areas are also encouraged to apply. Candidates should have a good written command of English and have high competence and comfort with computer and Internet use.