Africa Centres of Excellence (ACE) Higher Education Project

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Africa Centers of Excellence Project within Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), Health Sciences and Agricultural Sciences

Phase I for West and Central Africa (Subject to approval by Executive Directors of World Bank Board of Directors)

Background:
The World Bank in collaboration with West and Central African countries is launching the Africa Centers of Excellence project.

Project Objective:

  • promote regional specialization among participating universities in areas that address specific common regional development challenges
  • strengthen the capacities of these universities to deliver high quality training and applied research
  • meet the demand for skills required for Africa’s development, such as the extractive industries

Focus:
The project will focus on strengthening 7-10 existing institutions in West and Central Africa. Investment of around US$ 8 million in each of the 15 Centers of Excellence (some institutions will qualify for two Centers).

Institutions will be competitively selected using criteria benchmarked to the best international practice. The qualifying universities would:

  • Strengthen post-graduate programs for a regional student body
  • Offer specialized courses for industry professionals in the region
  • Establish a regional faculty body, improve their faculty and attracting additional top-level faculty
  • Provide learning resources, labs, and minor rehabilitation of existing facilities
  • Establish linkages with companies, government agencies, and research centers for work-place learning, input into curricula, consultancies, and joint research
  • Collaborate with partner institutions to sharing the benefits of the investments, for example through training of faculty, sharing of curricula, and sharing of learning resources.

Role of private sector:

  • The project will support knowledge partnerships with universities and international research networks
  • Forge knowledge partnerships with the private sector to strengthen curricula and research
  • Support institutions to meet international standards, and generate income through consultancies.

Beneficiaries:
Project beneficiaries will include:

  • Students in supported institutions and their partner institutions from across Western and Central Africa who will benefit from quality research-based education in high demand areas
  • Companies, governmental or non-governmental organizations that partner with the Africa Centers of Excellence who gain from more interns and graduates with highly relevant training
  • Faculty and staff in the Africa Centers of Excellence who benefit from improved teaching and research conditions.

Status:
Participating countries include Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ghana, Nigeria Senegal and Togo. Collaboration with regional bodies include (AU, ECOWAS, UEMOA, EAC, AAU and CAMES) with Association of African Universities (AAU) as key regional facilitation partner. Extensive development partnership outreach (AfDB, USAID, AusAID, AFD and other bilateral partners Carnegie Foundation, and several higher education and research networks)