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National Universities Commission One day workshop the African Centres of Excellence Project. 16 th July 2013. ACE - Defined. What? A frican C entres of E xcellence Project. A World Bank-supported initiative. ACE - Defined. What?

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National Universities Commission

One day workshop the African Centres of Excellence Project.

16th July 2013

ace defined

ACE - Defined


African Centres of Excellence Project.

A World Bank-supported initiative.

ace defined1

ACE - Defined


ACE seeks to promote regional specialization among African higher education institutions that are working on particular areas, common to regional development challenges.

First Phase is targeted at West and Central African countries.

ace defined2

ACE - Defined


Countries participating in the first call include; Burkina Faso, Benin, Cameroon, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal and Togo

Beneficiaries of demand-driven regional services


The Gambia

why ace

Why ACE?

Despite this strong economic growth, West and Central Africa faces significant development challenge

Countries in these regions have witnessed rapid economic growth in the last decade but significant development challenges remain; including failure to meet MDG targets especially in maternal and child health, weak governance, state fragility, nutrition, youth unemployment and climate change.

why ace1

Why ACE?

There are immediate skill shortages in addressing development challenges and poverty reduction in West and Central Africa.

This skills shortage is severe;

in the growing sectors of extractive industries, energy, water, and infrastructure; and in service sectors, such as hospitality, banking, and ICT.

in the lack of health workers with the necessary

training to deliver quality healthcare, or

treat infectious and chronic diseases.

why ace2

Why ACE?

Agricultural investments have not been accompanied by development of related human capital in post-farm high yielding technologies, crop and animal science, as well as veterinarians and agronomists

Sustained economic growth and competitiveness for Africa requires an increase in science and technology capacity, more skilled labour and applied industry-related research to increase technology absorption, raise total factor productivity, and generate new competitive sectors.

ace design

ACE Design

ACEs will be competitively selected and charged with the responsibility to promote regional specialization among participating universities in areas that address regional challenges and strengthen the capacities of these universities to deliver quality training and applied research

ace priority areas

ACE Priority Areas

Science, Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)

Health Sciences

Agricultural Sciences

ace project components

ACE – Project Components

Two Project Components;

Component 1: Strengthen Africa Centers of Excellence

This will seek to strengthen around eight to ten competitively selected institutions to produce highly skilled graduates and applied research to help address specific regional development challenges.

ace project components1

ACE – Project Components

Component 1: Strengthen Africa Centers of Excellence

The selection process will entail four main standard steps:

call for proposals to institutions

submission of Center of Excellence proposals through the NUC to the regional facilitation unit (AAU);

evaluation of proposals by independent African and international experts according to pre-defined criteria,

selection of institutions by the steering committee

and a no-objection by the World Bank.

ace project components2

ACE – Project Components

Component 2: Enhancing Regional Capacity Building, Evaluation, Facilitation and Collaboration (by the Association of African Universities)

Component 2.1, Enhancing Regional Capacity Building and Evaluation

Component 2.2, Demand-driven Regional Education Services

overall project organogam

ACE Steering Committee

Overall Project Organogam



Industry/Sector Partners


(NUC/National Performance Review Committee)

Academic Partner institutions

Regional Facilitation Unit (AAU)

implementation management decision structure
Each participating country’s RA for universities will serve as the coordinating secretariat
  • NPPRC set up by the RA will be responsible for first level evaluation of proposals as well as Project implementation support and supervision at the national level
  • Each ACE will be responsible for strategic planning and implementation of institutional proposal, M & E and reporting. The ACE will also be responsible for all fiduciary aspects required under World Bank guidelines for financial management, procurement and environment and social safeguards.

Implementation/Management /Decision Structure

the npprc
  • Responsible for Project implementation support and supervision at the national level
  • Will have representation from NUC, FME, FMoF, selected ACEs (ACE Center Leaders and Head of Institution), WB co-TTL (observer status) and RFU Regional Project Facilitator or designate (observer status)



ace institutional organogram

Management Team (Centre Leader – Lead Proponent)

ACE Institutional Organogram


Main Department leading the ACE

Supporting Department to the ACE

Administration (procurement, financial management and monitoring and evaluation)


Africa Centre of Excellence

ace institutional responsibilities

ACE – Institutional Responsibilities

Selected institutions will implement their own Centre of Excellence proposal aiming to help address a specific regional development challenges through preparation of professionals (education), applied research and associated outreach activities with partners.


High quality training

High impact applied research

Industry partnerships

International academic partnerships

Enhanced governance and management

important notes
One lead institution, with collaborating partners to submit maximum of two proposals in any of the priority areas
  • Maximum of US$8 million per proposal, but most likely $4m will be given
  • Proposals must address specific regional development challenges
  • Emphasis is placed on regional partnerships and collaboration with the private sector as well as international linkages
  • More points will be allocated to Anglophone – Francophone collaboration

Important notes:

important dates
CFP: 15th July 2013
  • Submission to NUC: 16th August 2013
  • Review by National Project Performance and Review Committee (NPPRC): 30th August 2013
  • Submission to AAU: 2nd September 2013
  • Final decision to be taken by the World Bank Board of Executive Directors before the end of 2013

Important Dates: