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The $140 million project will help raise quality and relevance of the region’s post-graduate education in five priority sectors

Inter-University Council for East Africa; Nairobi, Kenya; 26 October 2016: The Eastern and Southern Africa Higher Education Centers of Excellence Project (ACE II) – which seeks to strengthen 24 competitively selected centers to deliver quality, market-relevant post-graduate education in Eastern and Southern Africa – was launched in Nairobi by the Inter University Council for East Africa (IUCEA) and the World Bank.

The five-year project will work to build collaborative research capacity in five regional priority areas: industry (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), agriculture, health, education and applied statistics. The $140 million project is financed by the World Bank in form of credit to eight participating countries. These include Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia. IUCEA, an East African Community institution responsible for coordinating the development of higher education will facilitate and coordinate the project.

Hon. Fred Matiangi, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Education, in his remarks to the participating country delegates, thanked the World Bank for its support for the education sector. He also called on all governments to end bureaucratic delays that slow project implementation. 

“We don’t get any useful results from being bureaucratic. Governments should not be a hurdle; they should be a facilitating entity.” Dr. Sajitha Bashir, World Bank’s Practice Manager for its Education Global Practice, said that the Bank sees this as a broader effort to build technical and scientific capability for Africa’s socio-economic transformation. “Without these highly specialized professional skills and without that critical mass, we don’t think that Africa can transform itself,” she said.