Africa Centres of Excellence project (ACE)

What is the ACE 1 Project?

The World Bank in collaboration with West and Central African countries launched the Africa Centers of Excellence Project in 2014. The ACE 1 project objective is to:

  • Promote regional specialization among participating universities in areas that address specific common regional development challenges
  • Strengthhen the capacities of these universities to deliver high quality training and applied research
  • Meet the demand for skills required for Africa's development such as the extractive industries

The Association of African Universities Secretariat is the appointed Regional Facilitating Unit for the ACE 1 Project.

Focus of the ACE 1 Project

The project is focusing on strengthening 22 existing institutions in West and Central Africa. The investment is around US$8 million per institutions. The 22 centers were competitively selected using criteria benchmarked to the best international practice. The 22 ACEs have the following goals:

  1. To strengthen post-graduate programs for a regional student body
  2. To Offer specialized courses for industry professionals in the region
  3. To establish a regional faculty body, improve their faculty and attract additional top level faculty
  4. To provide learning resources, labs and minor rehabilitations of existing facilities
  5. To establish linkages with companies, government agencies and research centers for work-place learning input into the curricula, consultancies and joint research
  6. To collaborate with partner institutions to share the benefits of the investments, for example through training of faculty, sharing of curricula and sharing of learning resources

Which countries are part of ACE 1?

The list of the 8 participating countries is below including the thematic areas:


Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM)




1 (Applied Mathematics)



Burkina Faso

1 (Environment and Water Engineering with Agro-business Elements)



1 (Water and Environmental Engineering and Sciences)




1 (Water and Environmental Engineering and Sciences)

1 (Crop Science and Plant Breeders)

1 (Cell Biology of Infectious Diseases)


3 (Material Sciences and Petroleum Engineering; Oil Chemical Engineering and Sciences, Science and Technology Transfer)

3 (Agriculture and Environment Sciences, Dry-land Agriculture, Food technology)

4 (Neglected Tropical Diseases, Phytomedicine Science; Infections Diseases Pathologies; Reproductive Health)


1 (Mathematics and ICT)


1 (Maternal and Child Health)



1 (Poultry Sciences)


Cote d’Ivoire


STEM-Climate Change

STEM – Mining and Environment








Which Universities are part of ACE 1?




Université d'Abomey – Calavi (UAC), (STEM)

Burkina Faso

Institut International d'Ingénierie de l'Eau et de l'Environnement (2iE) - (STEM)


Université de Yaoundé I, (STEM)


University of Ghana, Legon, (HEALTH)

Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, (STEM)

University of Ghana, Legon, Ghana (AGRICULTURE)



3 ACEs are funded fully by the government of Nigeria

Redeemers University, Mowe, Ogun State/University of Ibadan, Ibadan (HEALTH)

Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria (HEALTH)

University of Jos, (HEALTH)

University of Benin, (HEALTH)

African University of Sciene and Technology, Abuja, (STEM)

University of Port Harcourt, (STEM)

Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, (STEM)

Bayero University, Kano, Nigeria (AGRICULTURE)

Benue State University, Makurdi, Nigeria (AGRICULTURE)

Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Nigeria (AGRICULTURE)


Universite Cheikh Anta Diop, (HEALTH)

Universite Gaston Berger, (STEM)


Université de Lomé, Togo (AGRICULTURE)

Cote d’Ivoire

École national supérieure de statistique et d’économie appliquée (ENSEA) - (STEM)

Université Félix Houphouët Boigny (UFHB) - (STEM)

Institut National Polytechnique Houphouët Boigny (INP-HB)- (STEM)


The role of the private sector in the ACE 1 Project

The ACE 1 project is:

  1. Supporting knowledge partnerships with universities and international research networks
  2. Forging knowledge partnerships with the private sector to strengthen curricula and research
  3. Supporting institutions to meet international standards and to generate income through consultancies

ACE 1 Project Beneficiaries

The ACE 1 Project is benefiting the following:

  1. Students in supported institutions and their partner institutions from across Western and Central Africa who will benefit from quality research-based education in high demand areas
  2. Companies, governmental or non-governmental organisations that partner with the Africa Centers of Excellence who gian from more interns and graduates with highly relevant training
  3. Faculty and staff in the Africa Centers of Excellence who benefit from improved teaching and research conditions

Who is Funding the ACE Project

The ACE 1 project is funded through the World Bank International Development Assistance (IDA) funds. The funds are provided as loans to the participating African governments.

OPEN CALLS - ISSUED 27th June 2016 - DEADLINE 1st August 2016


  1. Request for Applications: To Host PhD Programs Financed by the Regional Scholarship and Innovation Fund
  2. Appel Aplication: Organise des Programmes de Doctorat Financés par le Fonds Régional de Bourses d’Études et d’Innovation

Role of Project Steering Committee

The ACE 1 Project Steering Committee oversees the implementation of the ACE 1 Project. The PSC has 12 members and is chaired by Prof. Aminata Sall Diallo, Technical Advisor on Higher Education to the Government of Senegal.

Members of the Project Steering Committee

  1. Prof. Aminata Sall Diallo, Technical Advisor on Higher Education, Government of Senegal, PSC Chair
  2. Prof. Marcel Fouda, Inspector General at the Ministry of Higher Education (Yaoundé, Cameroun)
  3. Prof. Jean Claude T. Codjia, Rector of the Agricultural University of Kétou, Benin
  4. Dr. Salifou Ouiminga, Director of University Research and Cooperation, Burkina Faso
  5. Dr. Cherno Omar Barry, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology, Gambia
  6. Prof. Messanvi Gbeassor, President of the University of Lomé, Togo
  7. Dr. Atta Joshua, Representative of the National Universities Commission, Nigeria
  8. Prof. Mahama Duwiejua, Executive Secretary, National Council for Tertiary Education, Ghana
  9. Dr. Irene Annor-Frempong, Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), Accra, Ghana
  10. Dr. Didier Acouetey, President of AfricSearch, France
  11. Prof. Julius Okojie, Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), Nigeria
  12. Dr. Tewfik Nawar, Professor Emeritus, Faculty of Medicine, University of Sherbrooke, Canada






Subscribe to our mailing list

Our location

African Universities House    

11 Aviation Road Extension

Airport Residential Area 

Accra, Ghana  

Contact us

Give us a call at +233-302-774495 / 761588
Fax + 233-302-774821

Email us at

P. O. Box AN 5744
Accra-North  -  Ghana