IUCEA and World Bank Sign ACE II Grant Agreement
The Inter University Council for East Africa (IUCEA) and the World Bank signed a grant agreement of $8 million to support the Eastern and Southern Africa Higher Education Centers of Excellence Project (ACE II). IUCEA will host the regional facilitation unit (RFU) for the project and will be responsible for facilitation and coordination.
Speaking at the signing on July 11, 2016 in Nairobi, Prof. Alexandre Lyambabaje, Executive Secretary, IUCEA said, “IUCEA is particularly privileged to be a key stakeholder in this project, which demonstrates the willingness of governments in the region to invest in higher education. 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.”
He added, “In five years we will see graduates from ACEs[Africa Centers of Excellence] who can compete favourably with others globally.”
“The Eastern and Southern African region has remarkable economic growth but to transform this further we need STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics] skills,” said Mr. Moustapha Ndiaye, World Bank Coordinating Director for Regional Integration. He noted that the western model of developing higher education was not working and there was need for something more appropriate for the context of ESA [Eastern and Southern Africa] region. Mr. Ndiayeadded that the IDA [International Development Association] investment will enable the region to strengthen top level faculty and achieve academic excellence.
The groups involved in the implementation of ACE II include: Regional and National Steering Committees, the RFU at IUCEA, ACE Center Leaders, hosting institutions and the World Bank. The RFU at IUCEA will oversee collaboration, networking and partnership activities among the ACE institutions during the project implementation. Based in Kampala, Uganda, IUCEA was competitively selected because of its credibility and 46 years of experience within the higher education community in the region.
IUCEA will provide additional support to ACEs by:
- Developing capacity for partnership development with the private sector.
- Managing the ACE competitive scholarship program to top future talents to attain a Master’s degree in any of the ACEs, as well encourage student mobility.
IUCEA will also provide timely independent verification of the results achieved and presented by each ACE for timely disbursement. In addition to having a three-member team for project coordination, communications and finance, it is currently recruiting officers to perform M&E, procurement and ensuring social safeguards.