The World Bank has lauded Professor Eric Danquah, the Director of the West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI), University of Ghana, for the excellent successful organisation of the Africa Centres of Excellence (ACE) meeting in Accra.
Mr Andreas Blom, a World Bank Senior Education Economist and the leader of the ACE Task Team, said Prof Danquah, who chaired the Organisation’s Committee for the Eighth Project Steering Committee (PSC) meeting and the fifth workshop of the ACE in Accra, did a very perfect job.
He described the event as, “The best ever to be organised in the history of the ACE project steering committee meetings.”
Mr Blom gave the commendation in his closing remarks at the end of the three-day ACE Project Committee Meeting, in Accra.
It was attended by 200 participants from all the 22 ACEs from West and Central Africa.
Mr Blom urged the Vice Chancellors of the participating universities to comply with the Bank’s directives on the project funds disbursements, saying the unnecessary delays in the disbursement of the project funds hindered progress.
He cautioned staff of the various ACE project centres to guide against corruption, and to pursue team work all the time to ensure success of the project.
The ACE Project, is being financed by the World Bank, through the facilitation of the Association of African Universities (AAU).
The objective is to promote regional specialisation among participating universities in areas that address specific and common regional development challenges, such as Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, Health and Agricultural.
The Bank is making available 150 million dollars for the project, with each selected centre entitled to a maximum of eight million dollars.
Mr Blom hailed the large number of vice chancellors who participated, stating that this would go a long way to deepen the ownership of the ACE project.
He announced that the next project meeting was scheduled for November 15, in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.
Ms Eunice Yaa Brimsah Ackwerh, a Senior Education Specialist at the Accra Office of the World Bank Office, urged the centres to adhere to good practices such as making information available, admitting students from other countries and good auditing reports.
Dr Ouikepe Folarin, the Deputy Centre Leader, African Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Disease (ACEGID), Redeemer’s University, Nigeria, also praised Prof Danquah for an excellent organisation of the Accra meeting.
She appealed to the World Bank to ensure that Nigeria ACEs project did not collapse; explaining that while other countries had so far disbursed 20 per cent of their project fund, Nigeria was still at 10 per cent.
Prof Ndowa Lale, the Vice Chancellor, University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria, said the success of the ACE project would accelerate the growth and development of the African continent.
He explained that this would also depend on good governance practices, the timely release of project funds and the provision of adequate infrastructure to house the Centres, which would facilitate the building of the required capacity in Science, Technology, Mathematics and Engineering.
The distribution of the beneficiary centres are Ghana – three, Ivory Coast – three, Senegal- two, Nigeria -10, with Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroun and Togo having one each.
The Gambia is buying services from the 22 ACEs.
The ACE Project seeks to address regional development challenges, as well as facilitating the delivery of high quality training and applied research to meet the skills demand of the regional labour market.
The ACE Centres in Ghana are WACCI and the West Africa Centre for Cell Biology of Infectious Pathogens all at the University of Ghana and the Regional Water and Environmental Sanitation Centre at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology.