Nairobi,July 11, 2016— the World Bank Group and the Inter-University Council for East Africa (IUCEA) today signed a grant agreement totaling US$8 million to supporta new regional initiative aimed at strengthening the capacityof higher education institutions to deliver quality post-graduate education and collaborative research indevelopment priority areas for Eastern and Southern Africa.

This grant  is part of US$148 million International Development Association (IDA)* funding approved on May 26, 2016 for the Eastern and Southern Africa Higher Education Centers of Excellence Project(ACE II). There are eight countries participating in this regional initiativeincluding: Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia. The project will strengthen 24 competitively-selected Africa Centers of Excellence (ACEs)in five clusters of regional priorities including Industry, Agriculture, Health, Education and Applied Statistics. IUCEA will play the role of coordination, facilitation and administration for the implementation of this project

Eastern and Southern Africa’s continuing economic growth and transformation requires sufficient number of higher-skilled personnel in science, technology and innovation, according to the international experience,” said Moustapha Ndiaye, World Bank Coordinating Director for Regional Integration. “As mostcountries in the region do not have the full capacity to meet the high demand for such human capital, a regional approach that pursues economies of scale and public goods through regional specialization and coordination of investment in this area among the countries across the region is appropriate and has received the endorsement of leadership and stakeholders in the region.

It is envisioned that the ACE II Project will foster a network of ACEs across the region to promote quality and relevance of higher education in the region. Each of the specialized ACEs will receive up to US$6 million for implementing its proposal in training and applied research through partnerships with public institutions and the private sector in a specific regional priority area. IUCEA is expected to support the capacity building of these ACEs, facilitate knowledge exchanges among them, and monitor the progress during the implementation.

We would like to thank governments of the eight participating countries who have committed over $140 million loan from the World Bank to establish Centers of Excellence”Said Alexandre Lyambabaje, IUCEA Executive Secretary. “We are confident that this project will improve regional collaboration in teaching and research, bridge skill gaps, and produce graduates who are fit for the job market.” 

The ACE II project will employ a results-based financing approach to incentivize the ACEs and ensure they achieve the agreed results. By the time the project concludes in 2022, it is expected that the ACEs will have developed sufficient capacity to become a sustainable regional hub for training and research to address priority development challenges in the region.

* The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing loans (called “credits”) and grants for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives. IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 81 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change for 2.5 billion people living on less than $2 a day. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 108 countries. Annual commitments have increased steadily and averaged about $15 billion over the last three years, with about 50 percent of commitments going to Africa.

 

Contacts:
In Kinshasa:Louise Engulu, (+243), This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
In KigaliRogers Kayihura, (+250) 252-591-303, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
In Djibouti:Atou Seck, (+253)2 473-6452, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

For more information about the World Bank’s programs in Africa visit: www.worldbank.org/africa

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