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53 African institutions move to promote higher education in the region


How to promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), Agriculture, and Health in African institutions will be the fulcrum of a three-day roundtable conference involving 53 members of the Africa higher education Centres of Excellence (ACE) in the region.

ACE project is a World Bank initiative in collaboration with governments of participating countries to support higher education.

It is the first World Bank project aimed at the capacity building of higher education institutions in Africa.


The conference, according to the deputy director and communications officer, Africa Centres of Excellence project secretariat, National Universities Commission (NUC), Abuja, Mrs Adebukola Olatunji will provide a platform for the ACEs to exchange information on their respective programmes, build networks and forge partnerships to ensure the successful implementation of the project.

Olatunji, in a statement, said, “Fifty-three ACEs from universities in Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Djibouti, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Togo as well as officials of the World Bank, French Development Agency (ADF), Association of African Universities (AAU) and the NUC would converge on Abuja between February 25 and 28 to fashion out ways of consolidating the gains of ACEs and how to sustain the momentum for improved development.


While shedding more light on the ACE project, Olatunji said, “The first phase was launched in 2014 with 22 centres in nine west and central African countries; Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal and Togo.

The project was aimed at promoting regional specialisation among participating universities in areas that address specific common regional development challenges. It was also aimed at strengthening 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.


“The second phase 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 (AFD) in collaboration with the African governments launched the ACE Impact Project in 2018 to strengthen postgraduate training and applied research in existing fields and support new fields that are essential for Africa’s economic growth.


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