The signing of the Performance and Financing Agreement of the Africa Centers of Excellence Impact (ACE Impact) between the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Ghana and the West African Centre for Water, Irrigation and Sustainable Agriculture (WACWISA) took place in Accra on Wednesday, 6th November 2019. The ACE Impact is funded by the World Bank for a five (5) year period from 2019 to 2023 with the main aim of building model Centres of Excellence across the selected Universities to transform Africa’s university education.
The Ministers of Education and Finance signed on behalf of the Republic whilst the Vice-Chancellor Prof. Gabriel Ayum Teye and the Centre Leader (Director) Prof. Felix K. Abagale signed on behalf of the University for Development Studies and WACWISA respectively.
In his remarks, the Minister of Education Dr. Mathew Opoku Prempeh indicated that a total amount of US$ 60 million will be spent on seven (7) Centres of Excellence and a College of Engineering in Ghana. He noted that each Centre of Excellence will receive funds amounting to US$ 6.4 million mainly to support state-of-the-art teaching, learning and research infrastructure which should lead to improved manpower training and high impact research output to support economic growth. He underpinned the need for prudent use of the resources to achieve the desired results as set-out in the objectives of the various Centres of Excellence. The Minister mention that plans are very much advanced for the setting up of the National Research Fund which will provide the needed resources to support the conduct of research in the country.
On his part, the Vice-Chancellor of the University for Development Studies noted that the University is collaborating with its partners in the West Africa Sub-region to deliver excellence in the training of students and the conduct of desired research. He noted that all the training modules of the School of Engineering at the undergraduate level includes the teaching of French Language at all levels. He mentioned that the ACE Impact funding has come at an opportune time to support infrastructure growth and quality education in the University.
Prof. Felix K. Abagale, the Director of the West African Centre for Water, Irrigation and Sustainable Agricuture (WACWISA) mentioned that the funding is aimed at training 47 PhD students, 95 Masters and 290 short courses trainees. He indicated that students for these programmes are expected to come from across the West Africa sub-region especially and the Africa Contineent largely. The conduct of cutting-edge research needed to catapult the growth and development of the country and the Africa continent is what is very much necessary at this moment, he intimated. Prof. Abagale also noted that the areas of training in the Center includes Irrigation and Draininge Engineering, Integrated Water Resources and Environmental Management and Sustainable Agricultural and Food Systems as these are very much necessary especially in transformaing the savannah ecological zone of Ghana as well as the Sahelian regions. He indicated that, this grant being the single largest financial resource to be received by the University since its establishment has set the stage for raising more financial resources through grant application by faculty and students of the University. Grants as he said were very necessary at this level of growth of the University to particularly in the support of academic growth of faculty and students.