Experts Encourage Centres to Prioritize Networks and Partnerships

The ACE Impact subject matter experts play a critical role by providing implementation support and guidance to the centres in meeting project objectives in the thematic areas of health, agriculture, education, social Sciences and STEM, within the project stipulated timelines. They bring on-board diverse expertise and knowledge in both academia and industry to drive centres towards achieving the project goals as well as consolidating and streamlining their efforts in line with global standards as centres of excellence.

The 7th ACE Impact Regional Workshop provided an opportunity for centres to interact with the subject matter experts during the thematic break-out sessions held on Thursday, June 16, 2022. The break-out sessions featured the following thematic areas: Health, Agriculture, Mining, Energy, and Environment, ICT, Education, Engineering and Urban Transport and Water. Experts assigned to the various thematic areas convened with the centres to assess progress made, challenges encountered and the way forward in addressing these challenges. Summary of the discussions in the thematic areas were shared with participants during the final day on 17th June.

Discussions from the health team was presented by Prof. Michelle Niescierenko, Professor of Pediatrics and Emergency Medicine at Harvard Medical School. She noted centres’ key achievements in the areas of external revenue generation, health policy change, improved delivery of short courses and rapid increase in student enrolment by some health centres, acceleration of research through the Health Networks and International accreditation. For instance, more than $5 million in revenue was generated through grants by the Health Centres- ACENTDFB, ACEGID, ACE-PCMT, ACEPHAP, CaPIC, CERHI, WAGMC, WACCBIP. Also, centres such as ACEDHARS have adopted innovative ways such as the ‘flipped classroom’ methods to redefine online short courses for professional learners. Prof. Niescierenko identified student recruitment as a challenge due to Covid-19 lock downs & travel restrictions, political & security contexts in some host countries and academic staff industrial action. In tackling this challenge, it was acknowledged that although some of these challenges were inevitable and beyond the control of the centres, centres were advised to use their partners to disseminate recruitment materials and develop their students and alumni as their ambassadors to attract more students and increase enrolment. Another key challenge noted concerns internships. She noted that the market for high level scientific research was overestimated in the sub-region leaving only government and NGO sector. However, partnerships with the private sector would provide a long-term solution to addressing the challenge of internships. In addition, complex and delayed procurement processes was mentioned as a major obstacle to accessing consumables, supplies & equipment for science research. It was further noted that the issue of procurement is peculiar to countries therefore University leaders, Center Teams and PSC members were encouraged to work together to identify where bottlenecks can be eradicated. Moving forward, centres were reminded that the project is time-bound hence it remains crucial for activities to be accelerated for maximized use of funds in relation to achieving project targets. Moreover, centres were further encouraged to expand their pool of partners as well as leverage partnerships for knowledge and technology transfer, and research commercialization.

The summary of discussions for the Engineering, Urban & Water Breakout Sessions presented by Prof. J. P. Vandervaere reported that centres in the thematic discipline had made significant progress in the areas of internships and networking. However, key challenges recorded include the narrow scope of regionality in terms of internships and weak inter-ACE networking and partnerships. In addressing these challenges, centres were implored to leverage their partnerships for internship opportunities for their students as well as work more closely with partners to enhance the regional impact, image, and attractiveness of their centres. To strengthen inter-ACE networking and collaborations, centres were advised to leverage on the inter-ACE Networking initiative as well as identify common areas for potential collaborations such as joint research and sharing resources. Furthermore, discussions from the session suggested possible thematic partnerships among the ACEs in the areas of Water & Agriculture; Transport & Health; Engineering & Environment; ICT & Energy. Prof. Vandervaere also highlighted the need for centres to expedite the processes for international accreditation.

Prof. Cyrille van Effenterre, an Engineer and High Council for the Evaluation of Research and Higher Education (HCERES) expert also presented a summary of the agriculture session where he reported that some centres were venturing into entrepreneurship by commercializing some research products. He cited an example of CEFTER where he explained that the centre had commenced a food company, a spin-off of the host University-Benue State University by producing and selling various processed foods including bread, cassava flakes, etc. Other success areas include expansion of partnerships, enhanced community engagements and remarkable steps towards entrepreneurship through the development and implementation of entrepreneurship plan by some centres. The issues of procurement and financial delays, weak institutional impact and publications were captured as operational bottlenecks for the centres. In addressing these challenges, centres were urged to work collaboratively with their governments and universities to jump the procurement hurdle. Again, centres were encouraged to develop a strategy to strengthen research publications as well as engage their various universities for institutional buy-in. For the way forward, recommendations made comprise the need for centres to implement acceleration plans, establish plans for the judicious use of additional funds, design research strategies in close collaboration with industry and academic partners as well as strengthen partnerships and networks including the ACE Impact Inter-ACE network for agriculture- the Food for West Africa Network (Food4WA).

The final presentation on Education and ICT made by Dr. Dimitrios Noukakis acknowledged the role of Open and Distance Learning (ODL) in increasing student enrolment especially during the pandemic, the various regional workshops and conferences centres have organized and participated. Notable among these were the National Association for Research in Science Teaching (NARST) Conference held in Vancouver, Canada, the Cybersecurity and Digitalization Workshop and the Sustainable Integration of Digital Education Conference, both held in Abuja, in March and May 2022 respectively. Centres were also commended for their efforts toward strengthening the inter-ACE network on digital education- African Digital Education Network (ADEN). Key challenges identified signaled the need to improve in the areas of student recruitment, internships, accreditation and research publications. Centres were therefore urged to strengthen the marketing of MSc & PhD programs as well as increase offer of short courses to address skills gaps related to the digitalization as a means to increase student recruitment. For internships, centres were entreated to establish a dedicated internal team to liaise with companies, secure internships, and follow up with students. Centres were further advised to accelerate the international accreditation process by setting up internal committees to manage the process. Considering the fact that online and blended learning are the future of advanced teaching and learning and gradually setting the benchmark for meeting world-class standards in terms of delivery of quality education, centres were encouraged to deploy Learning Management Systems for all Center’s programs as well as train faculties to use the systems effectively.

In contributing to discussions on the presentations, the participants expressed the need for well-performing centres to support the low-performing centres through peer-learning and sharing experiences. Again, it was emphasized that systems should be put in place to facilitate the processes for centres to have their programs internationally accredited. Lastly, the need for the inter-ACE Networks to be extended beyond the ACEs and their host universities was emphasized.

Cairo hosts the Maiden 2019 African Universities Olympics

Teams, coaches and spectators from 27 African countries, 17 African universities and the 5 regions of Africa thronged Cairo this week to participate in the African Universities Olympics organised by the Association of African Universities, Al-Azhar University and All Africa Students Union – supported by the Arab Republic of Egypt.

Thursday 14th March 2019 will remain imprinted on the minds of many – this is the day when the maiden 2019 African Universities Olympics event was officially opened during an electrifying, superbly organized and glamorous ceremony held at the Main Sports Stadium of the Military College in Cairo, Egypt. The 3,500-seater indoor stadium was packed to capacity and the mood was that of jubilation, excitement and expectancy.

The opening ceremony featured the Egyptian National Anthem, AAU Anthem, the African Olympics Song, parading of the participating nations, Olympics touch relay show, military music band show, percussion show, and sports shows by Physical Education students from Al-Azhar University and Helwan University. Congratulatory speeches were made by the President of the Parliament of International Students, the Secretary General of the All Africa Students Union (Mr Peter Kwasi Kodjie), representative of the Ministry of Youth and Sports in the Arab Republic of Egypt (Dr Amal Gamal), AAU Secretary General (Prof Etienne E. Ehile) and the President of Al-Azhar University (Professor Mohamed El-Mahrasawy). Professor Yousuf Amer the Vice President of Al-Azhar University raised the championship flag whilst the President of Al-Azhar University declared the African Olympics officially launched.

The Olympics will run from the 15-18 March 2019. The sports categories include football, basketball and athletics. The athletics events cover 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, 1500m, 4*100m, triple jump, high Jump, long jump, shot put throw, discus throw and javelin throw. The events are featuring male and female teams / competitors.

The 27 countries that are represented at the maiden event are Algeria, Benin, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, Comoros, Cote d’Ivoire, Egypt, Eritrea, Gabon, Ghana, Lybia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia

In an interview with Mr Kwesi Acquah Sam who coordinated the logistics from the Association’s side and Prof Amany El-Sharif who coordinated the logistics from Al-Azhar University’s side, they indicated that the benefits of the African Universities Olympics are envisaged to be manifold. Some of the expected positive outcomes include:

  1. Increased cooperation across the African continent among African Youth through the building of networks during and after the Olympics events
  2. Improved self-discipline and self-esteem of the young African people
  3. Promotion of tolerance of diverse cultures and religious affiliations
  4. Promotion of language learning
  5. Improved Physical health
  6. Increased teamwork and problem-solving skills
  7. Reduction of pressure and stress – hopefully reducing cases of drug abuse and depression

The African Universities Olympics enjoys the patronage of the President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi who was recently appointed the Chair of the African Union Commission. The African Universities Olympics is a key strategy for promoting the integration of the continent through sports – and this is in-line with the African Union Agenda 2063’s aspiration of “an integrated continent, politically united, based on the ideals of Pan Africanism and the vision of Africa’s Renaissance”.

Listed below are some of the short video clips recorded during the African Olympics Opening Ceremony:

  1. https://youtu.be/uEXV8F6-2lI
  2. https://youtu.be/dGm5Gr2ZWhQ
  3. https://youtu.be/eSShEv1Ms2U
  4. https://youtu.be/8aTL06N3z6A
  5. https://youtu.be/r0lGaufbUhQ
  6. https://youtu.be/xJlxZEn3GEI
  7. https://youtu.be/_uVkWs4RiLo
  8. https://youtu.be/lUIrv6BOc60
  9. https://youtu.be/t84qaNRB4Ns
  10. https://youtu.be/gpCKHF4bBOY
  11. https://youtu.be/NGKTVLRndkQ
  12. https://youtu.be/03K49GN0bOI

1,500 witness inauguration of the AAU North Africa Regional Office in Cairo, Egypt

The Association of African Universities North Africa Regional Office (AAU NARO) was launched at a high-level, colourful and well attended ceremony hosted by Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt on the 12th March 2019. Al-Azhar University, which was founded in October 975 AD, is a founding member of the Association of Africa Universities.

An impressive number of one thousand five hundred (1500) delegates graced the occasion including Prof Ahmed El-Tayeb the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar University, Prof Khaled Abdel Ghaffar the Egypt Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Prof Mohamed Hussein Al Mahrasawy the President of Al-Azhar University, Ambassador Abdulhamid Bu Zaher the Representative of the African Union Commission, Prof Orlando Antonio Quilambo the AAU President, Prof Etienne Ehouan Ehile the AAU Secretary General,  Mr Peter Kwasi Kodjie the Secretary General of the All Africa Students Union (AASU), Diplomats, Staff of the AAU Secretariat, Academics from other universities in Egypt, Academics and administrative staff from several African countries, Staff and Students from Al Azhar University and the general public.

The AAU North Africa Regional Office, hosted by Al-Azhar University, is the second AAU Regional Office to be launched – after the East Africa Regional Office (EARO) was launched at the University of Khartoum in Sudan on the 14th of March 2018.

The main goal of the AAU North Africa Regional Office is to increase the impact of AAU’s activities in North Africa and maximise the benefits of AAU to the membership universities in North Africa. This decentralization of the Association’s activities is expected to help improve both the visibility of the AAU and the quality of Higher Education in Africa.

The Grand Imam, Sheikh Professor Ahmed El-Tayeb pledged his support for the AAU North Africa Regional Office and spoke about the need for peace in the world and the eradication of extremism. The Grand Imam is the Head of Sunni Islam’s most prestigious seat of learning at Al-Azhar University. The influential Cleric previously met Pope Francis in February 2019 and they brokered an agreement pledging that Al-Azhar and the Vatican will work together to fight extremism, hateful attitudes and hostility.

In his address the President of Al-Azhar University Professor Mohamed El-Mahrasawy said that Egypt was proud of belonging to Africa and emphasized that Al-Azhar University was not a local or regional institution, but an international institution, where more than 33,000 students from all over the world are studying. He indicated that there were currently 5,000 African students studying at Al-Azhar University.

In his remarks the Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research of Egypt, Professor Khaled Abdel Ghaffar, brought greetings from the President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. He reiterated the Government of Egypt’s unflinching support for the AAU North Africa Regional Office – saying that this regional office tied in neatly with the Agenda 2063 vision of an integrated continent.

The President of the Association of African Universities Professor Orlando Antonio Quilambo stated that the idea of establishing regional hubs of the AAU was not only for increasing the visibility of the Association’s programmes “but more importantly to facilitate effective networking among ourselves first at the country levels, sub-regional levels and then at the continental level”. He said that the current AAU Governing Board had committed itself to pursue this agenda during its four-year mandate.

Professor Etienne Ehile thanked the Government of Egypt, the Grand Imam and the leadership of Al-Azhar University for working hard to make the launch of the AAU North Africa Regional Office a reality. He emphasized that there was a need for African countries to work together to tap into the capacities that are resident in other African countries – citing the example that Al-Azhar University had the capacity to train medical students while most sub-Saharan universities had limited capacities.

A Good Will message was presented by Dr Faiza Mohamed Osman Mahmoud the Coordinator of the East Africa Regional Office. She congratulated Al-Azhar University and the AAU on the successful launch of the North Africa Regional Office – pledging to work closely with them.

The Secretary-General of the All Africa Students Union (AASU), Mr Peter Kwasi Kodjie expressed AASU’s desire to collaborate closer with students in the sub-region.

Various Diplomats and members of the AAU Governing Board that were present also presented their good will messages. The distinguished members of the AAU Governing Board that were present are:

  1. Prof. Hassan Mohamed H. KAAFI – Vice Chancellor, Plasma University, Somalia.
  2. Prof. Theresia K. NKUO-AKENJI – Vice-Chancellor, University of Bamenda, Cameroon
  3. Prof. Bakri Osma SAEED – Vice Chancellor, Sudan International University, Sudan
  4. Prof. Edward AKO – Rector, Université de Maroua, Cameroon
  5. Prof. Nicholas N.N. NSOWAH-NUAMAH – President, Regent University College of Science and Technology, Ghana

The week’s events in Cairo include the Maiden African Universities Olympics that will officially commence on the 14th of March 2019 – organized by the Association of African Universities in collaboration with Al Azhar University and the Ministry of Youth and Sport of Egypt.

Please access Useful Views and Downloads

  1. Inauguration Program
  2. AAU President’s Speech
  3. Remarks by the Secretary General of AAU
  4. Video showing the inauguration event: https://youtu.be/Y0WLEx5wKkY

Contact Details for the AAU North Africa Regional Office

Prof Amany El-Sharif – The Coordinator

Al Azhar University

Email: amanyelsharif@gmail.com

Telephone: +20 111 066 0444

Masters and PhD opportunities

The Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta is pleased to announce that admissions into postgraduate training programmes at the Centre of Excellence in Agricultural Development and Sustainable Environment (CEADESE), are now open. Applications from all nationalities are encouraged.

The Centre runs specialized Masters and PhD Programmes in Agricultural
Development and Sustainable Environment. Click here for more information

Africa Centres of Excellence convene to strengthen research and innovation


As part of its annual activities, the Africa Higher Education Centres of Excellence (ACE) Project will hold its tenth training workshop for its Centres from February 19- 26, 2019 .

During this period, the third phase of the project named Africa Higher Education Centres of Excellence for Development Impact (ACE Impact) will also be formally launched on Wednesday February 20, 2019 at the Djibouti Palace Kempinsky hotel, Djibouti City. The new forty- four Centres of Excellence under the ACE Impact will be officially outdoored and oriented on the implementation of the Project through training workshops. The ACE workshops seek to provide the platform for the ACEs to exchange information on their respective programmes, build networks and forge partnerships to ensure the successful implementation of the project. The new ACEs will seize the opportunity to interact and learn from the existing Centres.   

The ACE Project is a World Bank initiative aimed at equipping higher education institutions in building capacity to address developmental challenges in the African region. There are twenty-two (22) Centres of Excellence under the first phase of the project (ACE I). These Centres are specialized in the areas of science, technology, mathematics, engineering, agriculture and health. The success of ACE I necessitated the need to extend the project into a third phase for forty-four Centres of Excellence.

Call for applications for the position of Project Manager for the ACE Impact Project

The World Bank, Association of African Universities (AAU) and the 
 Agence Française de Développement (AFD) are pleased to announce vacancy for the position of Project Manager for the African Center of Excellence for Development Impact (ACE Impact) Project. Applicants must be fluent in English and French. 

Interested applicants should click here to read Terms of Reference in English.

Click here for Terms of Reference in French.

Deadline for application is January 31, 2019.

ACEGID Summer Workshop Training

The African Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases(ACEGID), hosted by Redeemer’s University, Osun State, Nigeria is organizing a one (1) month summer foundational and advanced training workshop in genomics.

The Workshop is in two sessions. The first session, Foundational Training in Molecular Biology and Genomics is to be held from June 4- June 29. Courses in this session includes Molecular Biology Theory, Laboratory Techniques, PCR primer design, Sanger Sequencing, CRISPR Technology, Statistics among others. Rate is USD 500 

The second session, Next generation Sequncing also includes the following courses; qRT-PCR, Library construction, MiSeq operation, Next generation sequencing, Bioinformatics analysis, Science communication and career development. This training also commences on July 16 and ends on August 10, 2018. Rate is USD 1000

Students, Faculty members and laboratory technicians are invited to participate in this workshop.

Click to download registration form

 

Highlight of ACE Higher Education Fair

About 300 participants took part in the maiden “Higher Education Student Fair” of the ACE project held on May 7, 2018 on the campus of the Institute of Water and Environmental Engineering (2iE) in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. The Fair brought together stakeholders from academia (including students), the private sector, industry, civil society, and others.
 
The event was officially opened through the cutting of a tape by the ECOWAS Commissioner for Higher Education, Prof. Leopoldo Amado, the Secretary General of the AAU, Prof. Etienne E. Ehile, the World Bank Country Manager for Burkina Faso, Mr. Cheick Fantamady Kanté and the General Director of 2iE, Prof. Mady Koanda. 
 
In his welcoming remarks, Prof. Mady of 2iE indicated the appreciation of the institution for hosting this first higher education fair and called on participants to take advantage of the various opportunities availed to them by the Centers of Excellence through the Fair.  
Professor Amado on his part stressed ECOWAS’ support for the event, and reiterated the Commission’s belief in the potential of the ACEs to meet the Region’s challenges.

 

A wide array of exhibits including scientific equipment, laboratory chemicals, sample innovative processed foods and publications were displayed by the participating Centres of Excellence. 
 
The research programs presented to visitors covered the following areas: (i) Genomics and Infectious Diseases; (ii) Water, Energy and Environment; (iii) Agricultural Development and Environmental Sustainability; (iv) Cell Biology of Infectious Pathogens; (v) Neglected Tropical Diseases and Forensic Biotechnology; (vi) Crop Improvement; (vii) Phytomedicine and Development; (viii) Reproductive Health and Innovation; (ix) Mathematical Sciences and Applications; (x) Oilfield Chemicals; (xi) Water and Sanitation; (xii) Poultry Sciences; (xiii) Information and Communications Technology; (xiv) Maternal and Child Health; (xv) Dryland Agriculture; (xvi) Food Technology; (xvii) Statistics; (xviii) Climate Change; (xix) Mining; and (xx) Materials Science and Engineering.
 
The event received coverage by both local and international media including Africable, BBC Africa Radio, RTB television and Pays. The AAU TV also covered this important event. 
 
The day ended with a Project Steering Committee meeting where government representatives of the 22 Centers of Excellence, World Bank and AAU teams, together with other stakeholders convened to review progress and discuss the way forward for the project.
 
The link to some photos from the event is also shared below. This will be updated at the end of the programme;

10eme Reunion du Comite de Piolotage du Projet & 7eme ATELIER Du Projet CEA

10EME REUNION DU COMITE DE PILOTAGE DU PROJET

15 mai 2017

&

7eme ATELIER Du Projet CEA

Du 16 au 18 mai 2017

InterContinental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria

 

LIEU D’ÉVÉNEMENTS

La réunion et l’atelier du Comité de Pilotage du projet CEA(CPP) auront lieu à l’hôtel Intercontinental, rue 52 Kofo Abayomi, île Victoria, à Lagos, Nigéria.

 

INCRIPTION

L’inscription sur place sera effectuée à l’hôtel Intercontinental, l’île Victoria, le lundi 15 mai 2017, avant 18h00 et le mardi 16 mai 2017 à 7h30.

 

LANGUES DE TRAVAIL

Les langues de travail de la Réunion et de l’atelier seront l’anglais et le français. Une interprétation simultanée sera disponible lors de toutes les séances plénières de l’atelier.

 

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