The Board of Executive Directors of the World Bank has approved $150m to finance 19 university-based Centres of Excellence in Nigeria and six other countries in West and Central Africa.
A statement issued by the bank on Thursday said Nigeria would get the highest share of $70m from the International Development Association funding.
According to the bank, the centres, which were competitively selected, will receive funding for advanced specialised studies in science, technology, engineering and mathematics-related disciplines as well as in agriculture and health.
Ten universities in Nigeria will benefit from the funding. They include the Federal University of Agriculture; Bayero University, Kano; Benue State University; and Redeemers University, Mowe.
Others are Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria; University of Jos; University of Benin; African University of Science and Technology, Abuja; University of Port Harcourt; and Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife.
The landmark Africa Centres of Excellence project, which will equip young Africans with new scientific and technical skills, will be financed through IDA credits to the governments of Nigeria ($70m), Ghana ($24m), Senegal ($16m), and Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, and Togo ($8m each), the bank said.
The Gambia will also receive a $2m credit and a $1m grant to provide higher education, including short-term training, to students, faculty and civil servants through the 19 ACEs.
The Vice President for Africa, World Bank, Mr. Makhtar Diop, said, “I am excited to support these pioneering centres of excellence because they will be another step in building and nurturing specialised world-class higher education institutions on the continent.
“I can think of no better way to grow African economies, create jobs and support research in Africa than educating young graduates with expertise in high-demand areas such as chemical engineering, crop science and the control of infectious diseases.” The African continent faces a serious shortage of skilled workers in fast-growing sectors such as extractive industries,energy water, and infrastructure, as well as in the fields of health and telecommunications, the bank said.
( Courtesy World Bank & Agencies ……. Source ……New Africa Business News)