Tanzania launches Africa Centers of Excellence Project
The Eastern and Southern Africa Higher Education Centers of Excellence Project (ACE II) was officially launched in Tanzania on August 23, 2017. Speaking at the launch of the project, the Minister of Education, Science and Technology, Hon. Joyce Ndalichako conveyed her appreciation to the World Bank.
“Thank you for supporting this project and I would like to assure you that my ministry will work diligently to ensure that the targets are achieved and the project outcomes are in line with the desired results. We would like to see that the project brings desirable impact to all Tanzanians,” she said.
The ACE II Project will strengthen 24 competitively selected centers to deliver quality, market-relevant post-graduate education, and build collaborative research capacity in five regional priority areas: industry, agriculture, health, education and applied statistics. Each of the 24 selected specialized regional centers will receive US6 million to implement its proposal.
Mrs. Bella Bird, World Bank Country Director for Tanzania, Burundi, Malawi and Somalia said Tanzania won four Centers of Excellence against stiff regional competition. “We look forward to seeing how the centers will develop new programs, provide research facilities and build capacity among faculty and strengthen partnerships with leading regional and global institutions as well as with the private sector.”
One of the key elements of ACE II project is to build collaboration between the private sector and the Centers of Excellence. This is because ACE II is prioritising the needs of employers in regard to research, innovation and skills that are aligned with market needs. Speaking at the launch, the Executive Director for Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF), Mr. Godfrey Simbeye, applauded the program from addressing a longstanding challenge. “We would like to hire Tanzanians but Tanzanians with the right skills that are needed in the industry. This program will help to address that.” Mr. Simbeye also recommended that universities involve the private sector when they are developing the curriculum.
Tanzania has four Africa Centers of Excellence with two hosted at Nelson Mandela Institution of Science and Technology and two others hosted at Sokoine University of Agriculture.
The African Center of Excellence for Innovative Rodent Pest Management and Biosensor Technology Development (IRPM&BTD) is enhancing scientific knowledge, technology and innovation on Rodent Pest Management and is developing and using biosensor technology. The Center will incorporate biosensor technology using trained rats for landmine detection and in diagnosis of tuberculosis.
Southern African Centre for Infectious Disease Surveillance (SACIDS) is a collaborative effort between natural sciences and social sciences to advance the understanding of interactions between humans, animals and the environment to improve public and animal health. You can get more details on their website www.sacids.org
Collaborating Center for Research, Evidence, Agricultural Advancement and Teaching Excellence and Sustainability (CREATES) focuses on addressing food and nutrition insecurity in the region. You can visit their website www.creates.ac.tz
Water Infrastructure and Sustainable Energy Center for the Futures (WISE FUTURES) is working to support attainment of water, sanitation and energy security for all in East and Southern Africa.
Inter University Council for East Africa is the Regional Facilitation Unit for ACE II. Based in Kampala, Uganda, IUCEA’s mandate is to ensure effective and efficient coordination and facilitation of the project activities.
ACE II is in eight participating countries – Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia. It is envisaged that at the end of the project the centers will have developed sufficient capacity to become sustainable regional hubs for training and research in their specialized fields, capable of leading efforts to address priority development challenges and improve lives in the region. The ACE II project will close in December 2022.