Sixth African Centres of Excellence (ACE) project workshop – Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire
The Sixth African Centres of Excellence (ACE) workshop was held at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire from November 14-17, 2016. Workshop participants included representatives from the World Bank, Association of African Universities (AAU), and the 22 ACEs in West and Central Africa. The delegation from the West African Centre for Cell Biology of Infectious Pathogens (WACCBIP) included Prof. Gordon Awandare (Centre Leader), Dr. Patrick Kobina Arthur (Head, Training and Research), Mr. Michael Somuah Nkansah (Project Manager), Ms. Sika Menka (M & E focal person), Mr. Collins Amofah (Financial Management focal person) and Mrs. Constance Kocke (Procurement focal person). Prof Bassirou Bonfoh of the Centre Suisse de Recherches Scientifiques (CSRS), a partner institution of WACCBIP, also participated in this workshop.
The workshop began after welcome addresses by Mr. Andreas Blom (World Bank Task Team Leader), Prof Etienner Ehile (AAU Secretary General) and Prof, Hamidou Boly (ECOWAS Commissioner for Education, Science & Culture). The World Bank Education Practice Manager, Mr. Halil Dunder, and a Representative of the President of the Republic of Cote d’Ivoire gave the opening addresses.
A progress report on the status of the ACE projects and an update on disbursement of funds was presented by the AAU and World Bank representatives. WACCBIP was applauded as the first among the 22 ACEs to obtain international accreditation from the Royal Society for Biology, UK in November 2016. The University of Ghana ACEs, WACCI and WACCBIP, were commended as they together with three other ACEs, contributed 84 percent of the total externally generated revenue obtained for all ACEs.
During parallel presentations by the 22 ACEs in three breakout sessions (STEM, Health and Agriculture), there were discussions on the need for change. Each ACE also presented a brief status update and outlined one of their new training initiatives. Further discussions on teaching pedagogy were held, and different teaching and training strategies used to improve student learning in the ACEs were outlined. The Head of Training & Research at WACCBIP, Dr. Patrick Arthur, also took the other Health ACEs through WACCBIPs International Accreditation process.
In preparation towards the mid-term review scheduled for June 2017, suggestion and proposals towards the approach of this review were sought from the ACEs. There was also feedback from some ACE Centre Leaders on the mid-term state of the project implementation. Other issues on Procurement, Financial Management and Monitoring & Evaluation were discussed.
The workshop wrapped up with an evaluation survey of the workshop. The seventh ACE project workshop will take place in May 2017 in Nigeria.