The World Bank on Thursday approved $150 million (N24 billion) to finance 19 university-based Centers of Excellence in seven countries in West and Central Africa.
Ten of the beneficiaries of the scheme are Nigerian universities, while nine others are from other West and Central African regions, including Ghana, Senegal, Benin, Burkina Faso, Togo, Gambia and Cameroun.
The Bank said the competitively selected beneficiaries would receive funding for advanced specialized studies in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, STEM-related disciplines, as well as in agriculture and health.
The Africa Centers of Excellence, ACE, project is to be financed through International Development Agency, IDA, credits to the governments of the affected institutions to equip young Africans with new scientific and technical skills.
The Bank said Nigeria would receive about $70 million (N11.2 billion), Ghana ($24 million), Senegal ($16 million), while Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, and Togo would receive $8 million each.
The Gambia would receive $2 million credit and a $1 million grant to provide higher education, including short-term training, to students, faculty and civil servants through the 19 ACEs.
Under the Agriculture category, the benefitting institutions include Federal University of Agriculture, Nigeria for Agricultural Development and Sustainable Environment; University of Ghana for training Plant Breeders, Seed Scientists and Technologists; University of Lome, Togo for the Poultry Sciences; Bayero University, Nigeria, for Dryland Agriculture, and Benue State University, Nigeria, for Food Technology and Research.
The health category has as beneficiaries Redeemers University, Nigeria, for Genomics of Infectious Diseases; University of Ghana for Cell Biology of Infectious Pathogens; University of Jos, Nigeria, for Phytomedicine Research and Development; Ahmadu Bello University, Nigeria, for Neglected Tropical Diseases and Forensic Biotechnology; University of Benin, Nigeria, for Reproductive Health and Innovation, and Université Cheikh Anta Diop, Senegal for Maternal and infant Health.
Those in the STEM category include African University of Science and Technology, Nigeria, for Materials; Université d’Abomey – Calavi, Bénin for Applied Mathematics;Université de Yaoundé I, Cameroon for Information and Communication Technologies;Institut International d’Ingénierie de l’Eau et de l’Environnement (2iE) for Water, Energy, and Environment Sciences and Technologies.