The board of the World Bank has approved 24 centres of research excellence for funding in Eastern and Southern Africa. The centres stand to receive up to US$6 million each over five years, financed through a low-interest loan from the bank to their national governments.
The centres will train postgraduates, promote academic partnerships nationally and regionally, and improve governance in their host universities.
Eight countries will receive funding for centres: Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. The funding will come through loans from the bank’s International Development Association.
Ethiopia, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda have four centres each. Kenya has three, Zambia two and Mozambique one.
This is the second round of African Centres of Excellence that the bank funds in Africa—the first crop was funded in West and Central Africa.
The list of winners approved by the board is longer than an interim list of proposed centres produced in January by the World Bank’s African Centres of Excellence II project.
Twenty-three centres appeared on that list, including one in Zimbabwe on sustainable food systems, which is the only proposed centre not to make it onto the winners’ roll.
The reason for this is that the country is not eligible for funding due to it having overdue payments for other schemes, says Xianon Cao, the lead official on the ACE II programme.
He said the centre had been included on the proposed list in January in case the country’s eligibility status changed, or if alternative funding could be found.
In the end, neither option panned out. “We’d been working with our country office in Harare trying to raise money from development partners in the expectation that maybe a couple for centres would be selected. But fundraising was not successful,” he said.
According to a press release published on 10 June by ACE II, the initiative is expected to enrol more than 3,500 graduate students, publish almost 1,500 journal articles, and generate almost US$30 million in external revenue.
The Inter-University Council for East Africa based in Kampala, Uganda, will administer the scheme.
The next steps are for the governments of these countries to draw up agreements with the selected institutions laying out the conditions of funding.
Centres will become operational at different times, depending on how fast they can clear these administrative hurdles.
Full list of centres approved by the World Bank board:
African Center of Excellence for Climate Smart Agriculture and Biodiversity Conservation (Climate SABC) Haramaya University
Center for Innovative Drug Development & Therapeutic Trials for Africa (CDT-Africa) Addis Ababa University
ACE for Water Management (ACEWM) Addis Ababa University
African Railway Education & Research Institute (ARERI) Addis Ababa University
Center of Excellence in Sustainable Agriculture & Agribusiness Management (CESAAM) Egerton University
Sustainable Use of Insects as Food and Feeds (INSEFOODS) Jaramogi Odinga Oginga University of Science & Technology
Center of Excellence in Phytochemicals Textiles and Renewable Energy (PTRE) Moi University
Aquaculture and Fisheries Science (Aquafish) Center of Excellence Lilongwe University of Agriculture & Natural Resources (LUANAR)
Center for Public Health and Herbal Medicine (CEPHEW) University of Malawi – Malawi College of Medicine
Center of Studies in Oil and Gas Engineering and Technology (CS-OGET) Universidade Eduardo Mondale
African Center of Excellence in Energy for Sustainable Development (ACEESD) University of Rwanda – College of Science & Technology
African Center of Excellence in Internet of Things (ACEIoT) University of Rwanda – College of Science & Technology
Africa Center of Excellence for Teaching and Learning Mathematics and Science (ACEITLMS) University of Rwanda – College of Education
African Center of Excellence for Data Sciences (ACE-DS) University of Rwanda – College of Business & Economics
African Center of Excellence for Innovative Rodent Pest Management & Biosensor Technology Development (IRPM&BTD) Sokoine University of Agriculture
Southern African Center for Infectious Disease Surveillance (SACIDS) Sokoine University of Agriculture
Ethiopia Kenya Malawi Water Infrastructure & Sustainable Energy Center for the Futures (WISE) Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science & Technology
Collaborating Center for Research, Evidence, Agricultural Advancement & Teaching Excellence & Sustainability (CREATES) Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science & Technology
Makerere University Center for Crop Improvement (MaCCI) Makerere University
Center of Materials, Product Development & Nanotechnology (MAPRONANO) Makerere University
African Center for Agro-ecology & Livelihood Systems (ACALISE) Uganda Martyrs University
Pharm-Biotechnology & Traditional Medicine Center (PHARMTRAC) Mbarara University of Science & Technology
Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Diseases (ACEEZD) University of Zambia
The Copperbelt University Africa Center of Excellence for Sustainable Mining Copperbelt University
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