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The Board of the World Bank Group announced USD 143 million International Development Association (IDA) credits and grants to support the implementation of the First Africa Centers of Excellence in Burkina Faso, Djibouti, Ghana, Guinea and Senegal. The aim is to enhance the quality and provision of applied research and higher education, focusing on the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
The First Africa Higher Education Centers of Excellence for Development Impact (ACE-Impact) is the third project funded by the World Bank aiming at fostering regional specialisation and cooperation among selected universities and at improving student and staff exchanges and international partnerships. The two other ongoing projects in the framework of the Africa Centers of Excellence (ACE) received USD 165 million (ACE 1) and USD 148 million (ACE 2), respectively. The total financing for ACE thus amounts to USD 456 million. Under the three projects, a total number of 24 000 students are enrolled in 58 ACEs hosted in 45 universities in 19 countries. The First ACE-Impact project will support 16 ACEs and two “emerging centers”. The Education Specialist and co-Task Team Leader of the project, Ekua Bentil, stressed the importance of such projects to support the African higher education sector in achieving “regional development priorities”.