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Africa Centers of Excellence Project within Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM): Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ghana, Nigeria Senegal and Togo

Africa Centers of Excellence Project within Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM),

Health Sciences and Agricultural Sciences

Phase I for West and Central Africa
(Subject to approval by Executive Directors of World Bank Board of Directors)

The African Centers of Excellence project is involving a number of African higher education institutions and aims to establish, strengthen and support centers of excellence in them in order to produce highly qualified graduates and to enhance regional education service.

The project is launched by the World Bank in collaboration with Central and West African countries.


The African Centers of Excellence project sets out the following objectives:

  • promotion of regional specialization among the involved universities in spheres which relate to specific challenges of regional development;
  • strengthening capacities of the involved universities and enabling them to deliver training of high quality and research applied;
  • meeting the demands for professional skills which are required for the development of Africa, such as extractive industries (they involve the extraction of raw materials from the earth).

Project Focus

  • The project will be focused on strengthening from 7 to 10 higher education institutions in Central and West Africa. Some of these institutions will host 2 Centers of Excellence.
  • Each of the 15 Centers will be invested with approx. USD 8 million.
  • The selection of the institutions will be based on the special criteria benchmarked to the most successful international practice. The selected institutions would:
  • be able to strengthen post-graduate programs;
  • provide narrowly specialized courses for professional in the regional industrial spheres;
  • provide necessary learning resources and materials, laboratories, rehabilitation facilities;
  • establish a faculty body in the region, improving the faculty performance and additionally attracting a top-level faculty;
  • establish collaboration with different companies, government agencies and research centers input in certain curricula and consultancies as well as in joint research;
  • maintain productive partnership with other institutions and share the benefits of investments and achievements (through sharing of curricula and learning resources or training of faculty).

Role of Private Sector

The African Centers of Excellence project is going to:

  • support partnerships and cooperation with other HEIs and international research networks;
  • maintain partnerships with the private sector in order to enhance curricula and research opportunities;
  • assist selected universities in meeting standards set by international practice;
  • generate income on a consultancy basis.

Project Beneficiaries

They will include:

  • students studying at supported universities and their partner institutions across Central and West Africa; students in high demand regions will benefit from high-quality education based on research;
  • faculty and universities staff who will benefit from the improvement of teaching and conditions for research;
  • companies as well as governmental and non-governmental organizations, the partners of ACEs, who will benefit from better-qualified and trained graduates and interns.


  • The African countries that take part in the project: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ghana, Nigeria Senegal and Togo.
  • Regional bodies with whom the ACEs collaborate: AU, AAU, CAMES, EAC, ECOWAS, UEMOA (AAU or Association of African Universities as the major facilitation partner in the region).
  • Outreach from extensive development partnerships: AFD, AfDB, AusAID, USAID plus Carnegie Foundation and higher education and research networks.

Please note that the call for proposal is expected until June 2013. More detailed information and all required documents are provided on the official website of Association of African Universities.

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