Health research capacities have been improved in Africa but still remain weak as compared to other regions of the World. To strengthen these research capacities, international collaboration and networking for knowledge and capacity transfer are needed. In this commentary, we present the Network for Scientific Support in the field of Sexual and Reproductive Health in West and North Africa, its priority research topics and discuss its implementation process. Established in January 2014, the Network aims at generating human rights and gender-based research fully carried out and driven by South based institutions. It is composed of 12 institutions including the Institute of Tropical Medicine of Antwerp (Belgium) and 11 institutions from eight Francophone West and North African countries. The key areas of interest of this network are health policies analysis and health system research in family planning, HIV prevention among vulnerable groups, quality of care and breast cancers. Since it started, seventeen research proposals based on locally relevant research questions have been developed. Among the seventeen proposals, eleven have been implemented. Several research institutions enhanced linkages with local representations of international partners such as UNFPA. The network is committed to strengthening methodological research capacities and soft skills such as fundraising, advocacy and leadership. Such competencies are strongly needed for developing an effective South-based leadership in Sexual and Reproductive Health research, and for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.