ACEI and ACE IMPACT Official Opening Ceremony held in Djibouti on Wednesday 20 February 2019

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The much-anticipated opening ceremony for the Africa Centres of Excellence for Development Impact Project was held on the morning of Wednesday 20th February 2019 at Kempinski Hotel in Djibouti City, Djibouti. Dr Saida Chideh Soliman was the madam of ceremonies. In attendance were the President of the Republic of Djibouti H.E. Mr Ismail Omar Guelleh, the First Lady of the Republic of Djibouti, The Honourable Minister of Higher Education and Research in Djibouti, H.E. Dr Nabil Mohamed Ahmed, the Secretary General of the Association of African Universities, Prof Etienne Ehouan Ehile, the Djibouti World Bank Country Representative, Mr Atou Seck, and the French Development Agency Deputy Manager for Education, Vocational Training and Employment Sector, Ms Valerie Tehio. 

Remarks by the Secretary General of the AAU

Professor Etienne Ehouan Ehile applauded the President of the Republic of Djibouti for taking time out of his busy schedule to participate in the ACE IMPACT Official Opening Ceremony. He said that this confirmed the President’s commitment to the Education Agenda in Djibouti and Africa as a whole. He also thanked the Government of Djibouti for supporting the hosting of the 2019 ACE meetings. He reminded the audience about the African Union Commission Policies and International Development Policies that promote the growth of education. He reiterated that strategic investments in Higher Education were critical for national development. On a lighter note he asked the President to ‘always remember the gratitude of the higher education stakeholders when he hears the cock crowing every morning’. Please Click Here for the Full Speech of the AAU Secretary General

Remarks by the Representative of the French Development Agency

Ms Valerie Tehio the Deputy Manager for Education, Vocational Training and Employment Sector made remarks on behalf of the French Development Agency (AFD). She said that the AFD was honoured to be part of this event and the ambitious ACE IMPACT program. AFD looks forward to contributing to the success of the ACE IMPACT project – through complementary support for regional networking and funding of technical experts to support selected ACEs. She concluded by wishing the participants successful meetings.

Remarks by the Djibouti World Bank Country Representative

Mr Atou Seck thanked all the participants for coming to Djibouti to attend the scheduled meetings. He also thanked all the institutions represented for their willingness to collaborate. He paid tribute to Mr Andreas Blom for his well-documented efforts towards strengthening African Universities. He mentioned that Djibouti was selected as an emerging Centre of Excellence in Africa in the field of logistics and transport within the faculty of engineering. He predicted that in future people would come to Djibouti to learn about transport and logistics or to do cutting edge research in the areas of transport and logistics.

Remarks by the Minister of Higher Education and Research, Djibouti

H.E. Dr Nabil Mohamed Ahmed welcomed the participants to “Djibouti the land of encounters, the land of peace and the land of engagements”. He expressed his joy that this event had materialized as per his vision. He paid tribute to the World Bank and AAU for supporting the Government of Djibouti to hold the ACE meetings in Djibouti City. He also congratulated the University of Djibouti Vice Chancellor for successfully spearheading the associated planning and logistics. He emphasized that it was the responsibility of Africans to work hard and ensure that educational institutions were effective and that the certificates given were recognized internationally. He said that Africa needed to catch up in the area of applied new technologies. Djibouti needs to optimize the transport chain by harnessing technology. Djibouti must exploit its competitive advantage as a transport hub. There is also an urgent need to increase the number of Djiboutian women Professors

The Message from the Honourable President of the Republic of Djibouti

His Excellency Mr Ismail Omar Guelleh the President of the Republic of Djibouti congratulated the organizers and the participants for the holding of the conference and the launch of the ACE IMPACT Project. He thanked the partners for positioning Higher Education to support the socio-economic development of African countries. He voiced his delight that Djibouti was now a member of the restricted club of ACE universities. He reminded the audience that he was a firm believer in providing African solutions to African problems. Therefore, he was thrilled that the ACE Djibouti would focus on logistics and transport. The President said that the transport sector was the “lungs of Djibouti”. Djibouti was ready to exploit its strategic location. There was a need to digitize the transport and transit procedures for the Djibouti transport sector. He underscored that scientific and technical development was therefore key. He ended his remarks by stating that he believed in the capacities of African countries, the youth and African researchers. He officially declared the conference opened.

Links to some photos.

AAU Staff pose for a photo with some participants during the ACE Impact Opening Ceremony in Djibouti
A cross-section of the attendees during the ACE IMPACT Opening Ceremony on the 20th February 2019 in Djibouti

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