The World Bank-sponsored African Centres of Excellence (ACEs) implemented across the continent have contributed significantly to the growth in the number of doctorates and masters degrees on the continent over the past eight years, graduating 2,370 PhD and a total of 11,539 MSc degree students.
The project, divided into ACE I, implemented in the West and Central Africa regions, and ACE II, implemented in the Eastern and Southern Africa regions since 2014, also gobbled up a total of US$722 million, with the bank contributing US$650 million, while the French Development Agency, or AFD, spent US$72 million.
The money was spent on 81 ACEs in 20 countries across the two regions, where a total of 2,200 research publications have been produced, 1,000 faculty and PhD students’ exchanges have happened, while some 375 memorandums of understanding have been signed.
At the same time, the centres externally generated a total of US$50 million while facilitating 5,400 internships for its students, said Roberta Bassett, the World Bank’s global lead for Tertiary Education and senior education specialist.
“This project represents some of the greatest achievements in higher education in Africa in the past 20 years,” Bassett noted.
“As a model of excellence, it has proved that it is possible to be replicated in other parts of the world and can be expanded in other parts of Africa,” she told a webinar on ‘Strengthening Human Capital Development in Africa’, hosted by the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM).
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