Following the success of the phase 1 of the African Higher Education Centres of Excellence (ACE) project, The World Bank in conjunction with the RFU and African Higher Education Centres of Excellence (ACE 1) recognized the need to escalate the success and expand the benefits accrued to the Centres and their Countries.  This decision gave birth to ACE III which was announced at the ACE I & ACE II Joint Workshop held in November, 2017 at La Palm Royal Beach Hotel, Accra, Ghana.

ACE III will focus on increasing the quality and relevance of post-graduate education in selected universities through regional specialization, applied research, upfront University-Industry linkage and better Regional and International coordination. ACE III is not an absolute replacement for ACE I, but rather seeks to build on the success achieved and expand the reach of the benefits from ACE I. It further aims at upscaling performing Centers hence, only performing ACE I Centers will be upgraded to ACE III. The Regional Facilitation Unit for the ACE III is the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Secretariat. Regional services such as Monitoring and Evaluation, Verification and Logistics will be provided by the Association of African Universities (AAU) on consultancy basis.

Centers will be selected as part of ACE III based on prior performance in ACE I. The selection criteria will emphasize on productivity of Centers in meeting targets and also making regional impacts, strengthening institutional support, strengthening industry/sector engagement and commitment.

Potential ACE III Centres should have an Advisory Board, applicable measures to initiate institutional and governmental partnerships, encourage increase in female enrollment and also plan for sustainability of the Centres after the project comes to an end, thus, alternative sources of revenue. Again, Centers involved in ACE III should have a foundational structure and a regional network with regards to faculty training and curriculum development.

ACE III looks forward to creating strong links with existing ACEs and Upgrading existing academic programme among others.

It is expected to kick start in March. The Evaluation and selection process will consist of a Desk Review followed by a Panel discussion and later, site visit if a submitted proposal meets the required criteria. The purport of this process is to ensure the selection procedure meets International standards.

Proposals are due to be submitted on June 2018, whilst the Desk and Panel Review as well as the site visits will be held in late June and July/August 2018 respectively.

The AAU wishes all interested ACE I centers the very best of luck and a successful New Year!!!