The Sub-Saharan Africa Region as a Regional Cooperation Focus of the University of Bremen

"Partnerships for the goals" is the 17th goal of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. In order to achieve goals such as "No Hunger", "Health and Well-Being" and "Quality Education" worldwide, partners in other countries and institutions are needed, who enrich joint projects by providing new perspectives and different experiences.

One focus of cooperation of the University of Bremen is in Sub-Saharan Africa with countries such as South Africa, Nigeria, Cameroon, Ghana, Chad or Zanzibar (Tanzania). These partnerships not only enable us to look beyond our own horizons, but also pave the way for truly sustainable approaches to solutions in practice and science.

Sustainable Development Goal 17 for partnerships to achieve the goals.
SDG indicator for partnerships to achieve the goals

Capacity Building

Educated students are now training their own fellow students.

Capacity building in Zanzibar, Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Ghana

Basically, the ongoing joint research projects have provided the framework for two lines of capacity building:

  • general training programs for students and young researchers from Bremen in Africa
  • targeted research visits of selected young researchers from Africa to Bremen.

Research for better nutrition, sustainable health education and sustainable land use

"One Health" in Zanzibar

Since 2013, there has been a close collaboration between the University of Bremen, the Leibniz Institute for Prevention Research and Epidemiology.BIPS and the State University of Zanzibar (SUZA).

The common goal is to reduce diet-related diseases and improve the health of the people in Zanzibar. This will be achieved through close collaboration and the inclusion of diverse perspectives.

Data, such as weight and height, of Zanzibar residents are collected from locals for the ZUTAS study.


The Zanzibar Nutrition and Health Survey (ZUTAS) was conducted within the project ‘Access to Food and Nutrition Status of the Zanzibari Population’ as part of the ‘Leibniz Graduate School Sustainable Use of Tropical Aquatic Systems’. It aimed at investigating the prevalence of diet- and lifestyle related disorders and their risks factors among the Zanzibari population.

The final workshop of MENTION where new work packages are defined.


The MENTION project aims to integrate nutrition and health maintenance into the medical education curriculum, train experts from across the health sector in relevant nutrition and health aspects, and provide up-to-date data that will shed light on the health status of people in Zanzibar.

An der State University of Zanzibar wird ein Seminar zur nachhaltigen Gesundheitsbildung entwickelt.


Proshed is a dissertation project of the Department 2 Biology/ Chemistry of the University of Bremen. Within the project a seminar for sustainable health education at the State University of Zanzibar is developed.

On a field in the Okavango region, the Namibian small farmer Markus Kamburu talking with Professor Barbara Reinhold from the University of Bremen.


It was a visit with consequences: When the microbiologist Barbara Reinhold from the University of Bremen was looking for wild rice varieties in the north of Namibia, she came across the cowpeas that grow in the nutrient-poor soil beside the Okavango River. What began as a “professional reflex” upon seeing the root system led to the project TOPSOIL.
„Towards Improving Food Security For Smallholders in Dry Southern African Climates” – dafür steht die Abkürzung TOPSOIL. Auf Deutsch bedeutet sie „Beiträge zur verbesserten Ernährungssicherung von Kleinbauern in den Trockengebieten des südlichen Afrikas.“

The tasty and very decorative legume Bambara groundnut (Vigna sub terranea).


Sustainable solutions to upgrade local protein-rich crops from subsistence to innovative high-tech products (acronym: SusTec).

Homesteads in smallholder agriculture at the Kavango river

Bacteria for sustainable use of teak

During research in southern Africa, Prof. Barbara Reinhold-Hurek's research group discovered bacteria that can help grow the coveted teak trees. This is an important contribution to more sustainable local use of the valuable wood.

Fly traps are used to catch tsetse flies.

African trypanosomiasis

For more than 10 years, the team of the Kelm working group at the University of Bremen has been involved in research on African trypanosomiasis, also known as sleeping sickness in humans and as Nagana in cattle. It is one of the most important neglected tropical diseases listed by the World Health Organization (WHO).