5th ACE Impact Virtual Regional Workshop Concludes in Success


ACEs Convene to Assess Project Progress and Strengthen Research Across Africa  

The 5th Africa Higher Education Centres of Excellence for Development Impact (ACE Impact) Workshop was held virtually from May 24th -28th, 2021. The meeting was well attended with over 450 participants from the fifty-three (53) Centres of Excellence, government representatives from participating countries, Vice Chancellors, higher education stakeholders, the private sector, policy think tanks, subject matter experts and partners such as the World Bank (WB), the French Development Agency (AFD) and the Association of African Universities (AAU). The meeting provided the platform for peer learning among the centres. It also created the avenue for centres to build networks, and forge partnerships for project implementation and sustainability. 

Remarks from Partners  

The workshop commenced with welcome remarks from the AAU Secretary-General, Prof. Etienne Ehile, the World Bank Education Practice Manager, Halil Dundar and Dr. Quentin Delpech, who spoke on behalf of Marion Aubourg, Deputy Director, AFD Education Division. In his address, Professor Ehile commended the ACE Impact stakeholders- the RFU, WB, AFD, Experts, and centres for their commitment, flexibility, and innovativeness in ensuring the implementation of the project despite challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. He noted some achievements which were in line with the project development objectives including expansion of access to quality programs, strategic regional specialization and collaboration, and development impact of education globally. 
In addition, Dr. Dundar from the World Bank reiterated the need to improve quality teaching and learning in Africa HEIs through innovation. Dr. Dundar explained that the ACE Impact Project has chalked remarkable successes despite operational challenges faced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly in research and innovation.
In his remarks, Dr. Delpech also emphasized the AFD's continuous commitment and support to the project.

Update on Project's Progress  

In presenting the Project Progress Report, Dr. Sylvia Mkandawire, the ACE Impact Project Manager noted that between October 2020 and May 2021, the project successfully held capacity building webinars in Communication, M&E, Institutional accreditation, publications and scientific communication, and programme accreditation. A total of 44 virtual meetings were also held with 10 participating countries to engage centres & experts in accelerating approval of Annual Workplans and technical support across DLRs. Some key progress made, related to student enrolment, accreditation and external revenue generation, is highlighted in the image below.

Networking and Peer Learning  

Building networks and forging sustainable partnerships are vital benchmarks in making impactful contributions to Africa's development. In view of this, the ACE Impact Project provides the platform for peer learning among the ACEs and inter- ACE collaborations through the establishment of thematic and educational networks as well as the bi-annual workshops. The parallel sessions and clinics held on Wednesday, May 26 and Thursday, May 27 respectively facilitated the exchange of ideas and expert recommendations in meeting project goals and objectives
Find out more about ACE Impact networking and partnerships here
Visit ACE Impact website

CEALT, Djibouti team members participating in the 5th ACE Impact Virtual Regional Workshop 
Investing in Inter-ACE Impact Thematic Networks

In order to stimulate the further development of the Regional Partnerships for multiplier effects in achieving the Project Development Objective, the AAU has launched a new Call for Proposals for ACE thematic networks. A total budget of $800,000 was availed through the ACE Impact regional grant to support the strengthening of the thematic networks among the ACEs and their relevant partners. The Association of African Universities invited expressions of interest from the eligible ACE Impact thematic networks.  

The aim is to advance collaboration on cutting-edge research, hence broadening the ACE Centers’ contribution to the knowledge economy. This networking support will specifically contribute to accelerating scientific research activities anchored in world class academic practices, strengthen the interlinkages between specialized research centers across ACE Institutions; and deepen partnerships among ACE Impact Centres and collaborators across the continent. This support has been designed to increase the number and scope of networks that are  currently coordinated through the PARTNERs initiative by the IRD (French National Research Institute for Sustainable Development). 
Find out more about networking initiative here

Profiling the Centre of Excellence for Environment and Mining (CEA-EMIG) in Niger

The Centre of Excellence for Environment and Mining (CEA-EMIG) is one of the 53 Africa Centres of Excellence for Development Impact (ACE Impact) in West Africa.  CEA-EMIG is an hosted by the School of Mines, Industry and Geology in Niamey, Niger. It is part of the centres under the thematic area of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), and has Mining and Environment as its primary focus areas with special interest in Geology, Civil, Industrial and Electrical Engineering.  

CEA-EMIG seeks to be one of Africa's leading training hubs in environment and mining, providing high quality training to address regional challenges in Africa. The centre delivers specialized training in Minerals Extraction and Processing, Environment and Waste Management, Mining Safety, Restoration and Rehabilitation of Mining Sites and Management of Water, Soil and Noise, among others.

These trainings are available in Bachelors, Masters, and short-term programmes. In addition, the center focuses on providing improved teaching and learning through regular availability of training of trainers’ programmes for faculty, and the promotion of applied research through university-industry linkages. 

The centre has conducted transformative research in  Validation of natural material for sealing uranium processing discharge ponds, Geochemistry and Remote Sensing applied to the study of metal pollution of the environment by mine tailings, and Optimization of gold panning techniques and reduction of environmental impacts.

Currently, there are 54 students enrolled under the project - 22 Masters and 32 Bachelors. Read more

Find out more about CEA-EMIG here
Faculty and students from CEA - EMIG attend the Responsible Mining Activity and Sustainable Development Network (RAMR2D) workshop on gold mining. 
ACE Impact Partners with Japanese Government to strengthen University-Industry Linkages  

In  February 2021, funded by the Japanese Government’s PHRD Trust Fund, the World Bank Group and Kopernik launched a Pilot University-Industry Collaboration Program to enhance partnerships between African universities and Japanese companies as part of ongoing initiatives with the Africa Centres of Excellence (ACE) and the Partnership for Skills in Applied Sciences, Engineering and Technology (PASET) Regional Scholarship and Innovation Fund (RSIF). The objective of this pilot is to build partnerships between African universities and Japanese companies with a focus on technology transfer.

Find out more about ACEs partnership with the Japanese government here 
Further questions on this initiative should be directed at Saori Imaizumi at    
Prof. Hadiza Shehu Galadanci is the center leader for the Africa Center of Excellence for Population Health and Policy (ACEPHAP), hosted in Bayero University Kano, Nigeria.  As one of the two female Centre leaders under the ACE Impact project, the AAU communications teams engaged her to hear her story and to highlight key leadership lessons and qualities for success, in a bid to inspire the next generation of female leaders.  
  “for a female to be successful as a leader she must work twice as hard as her male counterpart and still find a good balance as a wife, mother, and career woman”

Prof. Galadanci’s Leadership Journey  

From 2002-2006, She was the Head of Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, at the Faculty of Medicine, Bayero University Kano.  She also served as the President of the Medical Women Association of Nigeria, Kano State Branch in the years 2002-2008. Having excelled in the various leadership capacities she had occupied, Prof. Galandanci continued to be noticed, and be appointed to serve in numerous high level positions, including serving as the Director for the Centre for Advanced Medical Research and Training, Bayero University Kano (BUK), the Coordinator of Masters in Reproductive Health Program in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology of Bayero University Kano, and the Vice-Chairperson for the National Reproductive Working Group (NRWG), 2008- 2014.  She has been the Director/Center Leader for the African Center of Excellence for Population Health and Policy, BUK, since 2019. 

Excelling as a Woman 

“Being a leader requires a number of skills including being hard working, innovative, a good team player and having good management skill.  However, for a female to be successful as a leader she must work twice as hard as her male counterpart and still find a good balance as a wife, mother, and career woman”, she said.  

She emphasizes the key role mentorship plays and encourages all females in leadership positions to purposefully mentor younger colleagues, and give them all the support, guidance, encouragement, and inspiration, they require to achieve their full potentials. 

Gambian Minister of Higher Education Visits ACE Impact Centre (KEEP) to Strengthen Existing Collaboration & Partnership
Gambian Minister (3rd right) and delegation stand with officials from ACE Impact Regional Facilitation Unit (RFU) and the Ghana Technical Education Commission (GTEC) 
The strong collaboration between the Gambian Ministry of Higher Education and the KNUST Engineering Education Project (KEEP) is a shining example of successful regional collaboration and one that the ACE Impact project promotes. On June 1, 2021, honorable Badara A. Joof, the Minister of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology (MoHERST) of The Gambia and a delegation from the Gambian Technical Training Institute (GTTI) visited the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), and the ACE Impact Center – KEEP, hosted by the KNUST in Ghana. The KNUST Engineering Education Project (KEEP) has a collaboration with the GTTI and provides mentorship to help transform the technical Institute into a technical university, with the capacity to offer core engineering degree programs.

Meeting with the AAU, University of Ghana, and the Ghana Tertiary Education Commission  
Key discussions at these meetings focused on the parties' identifying key ways of strengthening existing collaboration between Ghana and the Gambia in Education. Prof. Badara Joof, the Gambian Minister of Education reiterated the Gambia’s high regard for higher education institutions in Ghana and generally the West Africa sub-region.  He called on the institutions they visited (UG, AAU and GTEC) to help build Gambia’s capacity in quality assurance and other relevant areas to enable the country achieve excellence in their tertiary and higher education sector. 
STUDENT VOICES - Archam Hamidi Dreams for Africa
Archam Ben Cheikh Hamidi is a Comorian student enrolled at the African Centre of Excellence in Mines and Mining Environment (CEA-MEM) of the National Polytechnic Institute Félix Houphoet Boigny, Cote d'Ivoire. Archam is currently in his third year undertaking a Masters in Design Engineer Cycle. Archam tells us that he chose CEA-MEM because of the quality of technical water training that was being offered at the center. This, along with his passionate belief that this area is a “core pillar for the development of Africa” are what drives Archam in pursing post-graduate education.  
Archam’s career goal is “to carry out projects with socio-economic impacts and greatly contribute to the development of my country and Africa in terms of scientific research, particularly those aimed at providing solutions to water-related problems.” When asked what advice he would give to other young students beginning the journey, Archam said “strive for excellence in work. A centre of Excellence like this is the perfect place to ensure good training.” 
“My love for what I do is my driving force”, Meet Grace Who Fights Malaria in Nigeria
Where do I go from here?” This is the question constantly on the mind of Grace Peter, a young lady of Beninese and Nigerian descent. Being the youngest of five children, she has always had a deep love for science and research. This propelled her to the African Center of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases (ACEGID) in Nigeria, where she pursued a Master of Science (MSc) in Microbiology.
Grace’s studies focused on anti-resistant bacteria, and specifically, using molecular techniques to identify mutations in the Plasmodium falciparum parasite, known more commonly as malaria. This focus, she says, was borne out of the fact that Africa has fewer preventive measures when it comes to diseases and infections.
Centres of Excellence Gain Recognition for their Contributions

The ACE Impact project is proud to announce the awarding of numerous milestones reached by our African Centres of Excellence across the region. ACE Impact seeks to empower universities in Africa to deliver quality education and applied research by providing the needed infrastructure for an enabling environment, laboratories and equipment, training of faculty, among others. In line with this, the ACE Impact Centres are making productive strides in their contributions in addressing developmental challenges within the region. Relentless efforts made by both centre faculties and students in delivering impactful research and remarkable services in their respective fields are being duly acknowledged by the relevant  national, continental and global stakeholders through awards.  

Notable among these awards include: The 2020 Bailey K. Ashford Medal by the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene received by Prof. Christian Happi, Director for the African Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases (ACEGID) in Nigeria. The award is in recognition of his contribution in research on infectious diseases. Prof. Happi has also been appointed Chair of the Research and Ethics Committee of the Academy of Medicine Specialties of Nigeria.  

Prof. Gordon Awandare of the West African Centre for Cell Biology of Infectious Pathogens (WACCBIP) received two awards from the University of Ghana during the College of Basic and Applied Sciences (CBAS) Meritorious Awards ceremony. One in recognition of his outstanding service to the College and University and another for his leadership in COVID-19 research to support national response. Similarly, Prof. Eric Y. Danquah of the West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI) was a recipient of the CBAS Meritorious Awards ceremony for his exceptional service to the College. He is also the 2018 Laureate of the Global Confederation of Higher Education Associations for Agriculture and Life Sciences (GCHERA) World Agriculture Prize. 

In addition, Prof. Jacob K. Tona of the Centre of Excellence in Poultry Science (CERSA) in Togo has been awarded by the World Poultry Science Association (WPSA) as winner of the WPSA Education Award. This is a great milestone achievement as he is the first African recipient to win the award. Professor Diabate Abdoulaye, the Centre Director for the African Center of Excellence in Biotechnology Innovation for Vector-borne Disease Elimination (CEA/ ITECH-MTV) also received the Newcomb Cleveland Prize for his outstanding research on fighting malaria in Africa. 

Regarding students’ excellence, Mrs. Njabeh Rita Bonwi and Mr. Richard Kwame Dogbey, who are pursuing MPhil in Irrigation and Drainage Engineering at the West African Centre for Water, Irrigation and Sustainable Agriculture (WACWISA) in Ghana received an award prize of US$ 2,000 each from the 2020 African Plant Nutrition Scholar Award. 

We congratulate the winners for these achievements. The ACE Impact project will continue to provide the necessary support and encouragement to centres to enable them maximize their potentials. 
Find out more here 

The Power of Volunteering
Thank You to our social media ambassadors
Milestones during the 5th ACE Impact Regional Workshop include hitting a total of over 1,100 Followers on Twitter and 400 fans on Facebook and LinkedIn. More excitingly, we increased our post clicks and engagement likes greatly due to the support of 35 Social Media Reporters who volunteered from ACE Impact Centres. Comments and shares doubled and tripled respectively with the hashtags: #5thACEImpact, #ACEImpact and #highereducation. About 4 centres who were not on social media opened new accounts. Additionally, we had our audience extended well outside of the higher education sector.

The AAU and World Bank would like to take this opportunity to thank all the social media reporters who volunteered from across the region to support us increase visibility for the 5th ACE Impact Virtual Regional Workshop. The same level of success would not have been achieved without your assistance and dedication. 

Find out who our volunteers are here 

Centre Website of the Month - Africa Centre of Excellence in Coastal Resilience    

Congratulations to African Center of Excellence in Coastal Resilience for their newly updated website. Visit ACECoR where you can meet their students, find out about their programmes, explore their scholarship opportunities, study their publications and much more.

Follow the latest ACEs on Social Media

Congratulations to CERME Togo for opening their Twitter account. Get the latest updates from them here

April - June Highlights
  1. Centre for Food Technology and Research (CEFTER), Nigeria opens application for MSc and PhD programmes. Deadline - 30th October, 2021. Apply here:
  2. College of Engineering at the University of Abomey Calavi, (CoE-EPAC) holds workshop to review and validate the CoE-EIE training offers. Read more
  3. All three ACE Impact Centres at the University of Abomey-Calavi (UAC) holds students-lecturers symposium. Read more
  4. Call for applications at the CEA-VALOPRO for Masters and PhD programmes. Read more
  5. Highlights of ACEGID's fight against COVID. Read more
  6. CDA & JR Biotek Foundation conduct training workshop on Molecular Laboratory. Read more 
  7. Two conferences held to launch ENSEA's 60th Anniversary celebrations. Read more 
  8. Management of the Federal University of Technology, Minna (FUT- Minna)  commends ACEMFS. Read more 
  9. West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI) holds annual review and strategic workshop. Read more

This newsletter is brought to you by:

Ekua Bentil                                          Himdat Bayusuf                                       Dr Sylvia Mkandawire
Education Specialist, World Bank       Education Specialist, World Bank            ACE Impact Project Manager
ACE Impact Co-Task Team Leader     ACE Impact Co-Task Team Leader         Association of African Universities

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