About 53 universities in 12 West African countries will meet in Abuja next week to strengthen the implementation and impact of the African Centres of Excellence (ACE) project.
The four-day workshop will focus on the first phase of the World Bank-funded ACE project.
This was disclosed in a joint statement signed by the Senior World Bank External Officer, Mr. Mansir Nasir, ACE Communication Officer Mrs. Adebukola Olatunji and Association of African Universities’ Millicent Afriyie Kyei in Abuja.
The event will be attended by representatives from the ACE centres, World Bank, the French Development Agency, (AFD), the Association of African Universities (AAU), and NUC officials.
It will afford the institutions the opportunity to exchange information on their respective programmes, build networks and forge partnerships to ensure the successful implementation of the project.
ACE is a World Bank initiative that was first launched in 2014 with 22 Centres in nine West and Central African countries.
The countries include Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal and Togo.
The second phase of the project tagged ACE II was launched in East and Southern Africa with 24 centres across Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.
“Based on the initial successes, the World Bank and the French Development Agency in collaboration with African governments, launched the ACE Impact Project in 2018 to strengthen post-graduate training and applied research in existing fields and support new fields that are essential for Africa’s economic growth.
“Currently, there are 43 ACE, 25 new ones and 18 from ACE I, five emerging centres, one top- up centre in Social Risk Management and five colleges and schools of engineering.
“The new areas include sustainable cities; sustainable power and energy; social sciences and education; transport; population health and policy; herbal medicine development and regulatory sciences; public health; applied informatics and communication; and pastoral production,” the statement said.
The ACE project is aimed at promoting regional specialisation among participating universities in areas that address specific common regional development challenges.
It also aims to strengthen the capacities of these universities to deliver high quality training and applied research as well as meet the demand for skills required for Africa’s development.
It is the first World Bank project aimed at the capacity building of higher education institutions in Africa, established in collaboration with governments of participating countries to support specialisation in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), agriculture, and health.