The 10 Africa Centres of Excellence (ACEs) in Nigeria are gradually becoming centres of research and changing the notion that the functional mandate of Nigerian Universities is teaching alone. Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), Professor Abubakar Adamu Rasheed, who made this observation at the meeting of the ACE National Project Performance Review Committee (NPPRC), held last December, at the NUC Conference Room, Abuja, added that the Centres had also become the gateway for internationalisation, as they have begun to attract international students.
Professor Rasheed said it was regrettable that research activities in Nigerian universities were once so relegated that the research centres in some of them were closed down. He noted that, although research was capital intensive, it had a direct and tremendous impact on any nation’s development, through its findings, adding that Nigeria was one of the countries with the least sponsorship of research in the world. According to him, “there is a correlation between a country’s development and its investment in research.”
The Executive Secretary stated that the ACEs were very important to the Commission and the country at large because, through them, Nigeria is building viable research centres, which hold a lot of promise for the quest for economic and national development. NUC was, therefore, not only eager to see that the ACEs implement their programmes in line with their agenda, but also to ensure that they succeed in achieving their overall goals and objectives.
Professor Rasheed expressed concern that about three of the centres were not doing as well as the others. He encouraged them to devise ways of addressing their challenges, stressing the need for networking among all the ACEs, so as to share experience and resources. To ensure the success of the Project, he proposed a meeting of the Centre Leaders to be convened more regularly, in addition to the bi-annual meeting of the NPPRC, noting that Nigeria would be the better for it at the end of the Project.
On some of the observed challenges, Professor Rasheed said the late release of funds could be overcome by planning ahead. He also charged the Centres to consider merging some programmes to make them stronger and also set up internal quality assurance mechanisms to guide their activities. If well implemented, he said, the ACEs would serve as a brand for producing postgraduate students in the country. He tasked the Centres not to be regimented, but to be innovative and creative in their programmes. For example, some crucial could be mounted directly in the relevant Faculty of the university, without going through the ACEs.
Participants at the meeting
Professor Rasheed told the meeting that the NUC was embarking on a comprehensive review of the undergraduate curriculum in the Nigerian University System (NUS), to reflect modern realities, promising that the resource verification and accreditation teams would be visiting the Centres, by the first quarter of this year, to verify their resources and accredit mature programmes. On the call by members at the meeting to shield the ACEs from strike actions by university-based staff unions, he said it would be difficult to isolate the centres from the unions, since they are located on university campuses, but the Centres could find ways of working around strikes, when they occur, to ensure that their activities are not interrupted.
In his remarks, the World Bank’s ACE Task Team Leader, Mr. Andreas Bloom, said that Nigeria was the most important country within the project and that failure was not an option. Nigeria must succeed because, “If Nigeria fails, the project fails”. According to him, Nigeria is strong and has the capacity to lead, but it was not yet leading the way it should. He commended the Executive Secretary, Project Coordinator and Team members for their commitment to the Project. He however appealed to the Executive Secretary to expedite action on the resource verification and the accreditation visits to the Centres. He stated that Ghana had strong Centres, with an independent accreditation body. All their programmes are nationally accredited, with one international accreditation. He promised that the World Bank, on its part, would hasten the process of releasing fund to the Centres.
At the meeting were the ACE Project Coordinator and NUC Deputy Director, ICT Projects, Dr. Joshua Atah, some Vice Chancellors, Team leaders and members of the Projects. The Centres, their locations, discipline and areas of focus, among others, are as follows:
|Africa Centres of Excellence||Discipline||Key Academic Partners||Existing Industry/Private Sector Partners||Education/Research/Focus||Acronymn|
|Pan African Material Institute, |
African University of Science and Technology (AUST), Abuja, Nigeria
|STEM||National and international partners including:|
• Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi Ghana.
• University of Sao Paulo, Brazil.
• RutgersUniversity, Piscataway, NJ, United States.
• NnamdiAzikiweUniversity, Awka, Nigeria.
• Stanford University, USA
|• The Sheda Science and Technology Complex (SHESTCO), Abuja, Nigeria|
• National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI), Abuja, Nigeria
|The Pan African Materials Institute (PAMI) uses a systems-based interdisciplinary approach to undertake training and research activities in the areas of materials for solar energy, health, water purification and affordable housing/infrastructure. PAMI also supports the training of a critical mass of PhD students, as well as professionals from industry, government, business and development stakeholders who can contribute effectively to the development of West and Central Africa. The Centre also uses a materials approach to develop effective solutions to African needs in: solar energy; disease detection and treatment; water purification and affordable housing/infrastructure. These it is achieving by engaging teams of mathematicians, computer scientists and physicists.||PAMI|
|Centre for Oil Field Chemicals|
University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria
|STEM||• IFP School, France|
• University of Mines and Technology Tarkwa, Ghana
• University of Witwatersrand, South Africa.
• University of Abomey-Calavi, Benin
• University of Lome, Togo
|• Total E&P Nig. Ltd (TEPNG)|
• Shell Petroleum Dev. Company (SPDC)
• Schlumberger, Nigeria
• Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF), Abuja
• FUGRO Nig. Ltd.
|Oil drilling, well completion and production enhancement require the use of several chemicals known as oilfield chemicals. Billions of dollars are spent, annually, in importing oil field chemicals for oil and gas activities in Africa, but the raw materials for these chemicals are readily available, locally. The University of Port Harcourt’s strategic plan to establish a Centre of excellence in Oil Field Chemicals Research and Development is in line with “The Nigerian Content Act aspiration”, which came into effect in 2010.The Board has commenced operations to realise the aspiration of the Federal Government of Nigeria to increase indigenous participation in the oil and gas industry, build local capacity, create linkages to other sectors of the national economy and boost industry contributions to the growth of our National Gross Domestic Product.||CEFOR|
|Obafemi Awolowo University ICT Driven Knowledge Park, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria||STEM||• University of Calabar.|
• 2iE Institute, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.
• University of Liberia, Monrovia (ULM).
• KwameNkrumahUniversity of Science and Technology (KNUST) Kumasi, Ghana.
• Stanford Research Institute, USA
|• CHAMS Nigeria PLC|
• MATEK Ventures PLC
• Huawei, China
• City Business Computers, Nig. Ltd.
• Kenol Nigeria Limited
• KT Innoedu of Korea
|The Centre of Excellence will facilitate the convergence of technological advances in various disciplines, namely ICT, food and beverages processing, pharmaceuticals and agriculture and enhance the development, transfer and commercialisation of technology and research outputs. It will also promote the launch pad for start-up companies, borne out of university research activities and advancement, by partnering with companies, who will have the competitive advantage of close proximity and direct access to the intellectual infrastructure and output of the university.||OAK-PARK|
|Africa Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases |
Redeemer’s University, Ede, Nigeria
|Health||• Université Cheikh Anta Diop, Senegal.|
• University of Sierra Leone.
• Noguchi Institute, University of Ghana.
• University of Cameroon.
• Harvard University, USA
• TulaneUniversity, New
Orleans, Global health Institute, Duke University, North Carolina, USA
|• Kenema Goverment Hospital, Kenema, Sierra Leone;|
• Broad Institute, Cambridge, MA, USA
|The ACEGID is equipped with a state-of-the-art laboratory for teaching and genome sequencing of microbial infections and serve as an international hub for academic and research excellence in microbial and human genomics. |
The Centre played an integral role during the recent Ebola crisis in Nigeria, as the go to place for testing the Ebola virus as well as supporting the response in Sierra Leone.
|Africa Centre of Excellence on Neglected Tropical Diseases and Forensic Biotechnology|
Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria
|Health||• University of Ngaoundere, Cameroon.|
• University of Nagasaki, Japan.
• Kuvin Medical Centre of Hebrew University, Israel.
|• Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, USA.|
• Nigerian Institute for Medical Research, (MIMR), Lagos
|In line with the London Declaration and the WHO Roadmap on Neglected Tropical Diseases, (NTDs), this ACE seeks to address the four major challenges of discovery, diagnosis, treatment, prevention and eradication of NTDs. The focus will build on the well-documented research achievements within the consortium, on the diseases trypanosomiasis, filariasis and rabies. Furthermore, the know-how would be deployed in training manpower in other fields such as forensic biotechnology.||ACENTDFB|
|Africa Centre of Excellence in Phytomedicine Research and Development |
University of Jos, Nigeria
|Health||• 18 national and international partners including:|
• KwameNkrumahUniversity of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi, Ghana
• Université de Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
• University of Lome, Togo.
• GDP Ayurvedic University, New Brunswick, NJ, USA.
|• Neimeth International Pharmaceuticals, Nigeria|
• Juhel Nigeria Ltd, Enugu, Nigeria
• Europharm Nig. Ltd. Jos, Nigeria
|The establishment of this Centre of Excellence within the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences will project the University of Jos as a regional leader in the study, promotion, research capacity building and expertise development in Phytomedicine. This will promote scholarship in the knowledge and application of ethnomedicine. The Centre will also promote collaboration and entrepreneurship, which will raise the level of awareness of ethnomedicine research and ethical issues.||ACEPRD|
|Centre of Excellence in Reproductive Health and Innovation|
University of Benin, Nigeria
|Health||• University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH)|
• University of Ibadan and its Teaching Hospital
• AhmaduBelloUniversity and its Teaching Hospital
• University of Ghana
• University of Mali
• Harvard School of Public Health
• Aberdeen University
|• Nigerian Institute for Medical Research and Training (NIMR)|
• Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research
|The ACE will strengthen and integrate reproductive health into the undergraduate curricular of the University’s basic medical science courses (anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, laboratory sciences) as well as in related clinical sciences departments (obstetrics and gynecology, paediatrics, institute of child health, community medicine, and internal medicine). The undergraduate training curricula in the social sciences and Law will also be strengthened with reproductive health courses that include population studies, demography, medical sociology, health economics and reproductive health law.||CERHI|
|Centre for Dryland Agriculture,|
Bayero University, Kano, Nigeria
|Agriculture||• 11 regional and national partners including:|
• International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Nigeria
• University of Nairobi, Kenya
• Galilee International Management Institute, Israel
• Kano State University of Science & Technology, Nigeria
• Faculty of Agriculture, University of Alexandria, Egypt
|• Sasakawa Africa Association/Sasakawa Global 2000, Nigeria|
• Drylands Research, UK
• Dandago Agricultural Machinery Company, Nigeria
• Maina Seeds, Nigeria
• JubailiAgrotec Limited, Nigeria
• State Agricultural Development Projects, Nigeria
|In Africa, about 43% of land is estimated to fall within the drylands, where approximately 325 million people reside. In order to respond to the needs of the West and Central African (WCA) dryland region, through relevant high level human capacity development and demand-driven research, Bayero University, Kano (BUK) established the Centre for Dryland Agriculture (CDA) in 2012, with the support of the MacArthur Foundation. The existing framework of the CDA is now being consolidated into true regional Centre of Excellence in Dryland Agriculture, through the World Bank Africa Centre of Excellence project. Through the activities of the CDA, Bayero University aims to strongly link education and research with the development needs of the region, thus contributing to food security, improved livelihood, and reduction in poverty and conflicts. The main objective of the CDA is to specialise as a regional Centre of Excellence in Dryland Agriculture, delivering quality training and applied research in response to the needs of the WCA dryland region.||CDA|
|Centre for Food Technology and Research|
Benue State University, Makurdi, Nigeria
|Agriculture||• University of Agriculture, Makurdi, Nigeria.|
• Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria, South Africa.
• Wiberforce University, Ohio, USA.
• Wright State University, Ohio, USA
|• Benue State Agric& Rural Development Authority||Post-Harvest losses constitute the major factor contributing to insecurity in Sub-Saharan Africa but are often overlooked. It is estimated that Africa loses food, valued at US $4.0 billion, yearly, due to post-harvest losses. This serious shortfall leads to stunted development, malnutrition, diseases and death of millions of children. Post-harvest technologies currently in use are either too expensive or unsuitable for local environments. Chemicals, which are widely used ,have often proven hazardous. Nigerian and indeed African teachers and researchers need to be equipped with adequate facilities to be able to utilise multidisciplinary approaches to embark on high capacity building through teaching, conduction of cutting edge research and promotion of active outreach programmes to address post-harvest food losses. Through the support of the World Bank, the Benue State University has established the Africa Centre of Excellence for Food Technology and Research (CEFTER) to address these challenges. The success of CEFTER will depend on the strong and long standing partnerships between academic, research and extension institutions in Nigeria and the sub-region. |
The mandate of CEFTER is to promote teaching, research and extension in post- harvest sciences, enhance agricultural productivity and industrial output for the socio-economic advancement of Nigeria and Africa.
|Centre for Agricultural Development and Sustainable Environment|
Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Nigeria
|Agriculture||National and international partners including:|
• University of Abomey-Calavi, Benin Republic.
• University of Lome, Togo.
• Njala University, Sierra Leone.
• University of the Gambia, Banjul
• Galilee International Management Institute, Nahala, Israel.
• Purdue University, Indiana, USA.
• University of Maryland, USA.
|• Obasanjo Holdings, Nigeria|
• Vegefresh Company Limited, Nigeria
• Lisabi Mills, Nigeria
• Agrifica (Pty) Ltd/Elpasso Farms, South Africa
• Flour Mills PLC, Nigeria
|The Centre is focused on teaching, learning and research excellence in agricultural productivity in the face of climate change challenges. The action plans to achieve these objectives are divided into two broad activities: capacity building and research projects. The capacity building programme involves introducing new post-graduate curricula leading to Master and Doctoral Degrees in Agricultural Development and Sustainable Environment (MAgSE/PhD) in response to specific productivity challenges, short-term skill acquisition for industry stakeholders, specialised workshops and internships. The action plan for research programme consists of partnering with 18 regional and 13 international Centres on more than 100 post-graduate research projects in six West African countries that will be conducted with up-to-date research facilities. In addition, the Centre will embark on thematic agricultural research projects of international interests targeted at mitigating climate and environmental challenges in the sub-region. The research project activity is divided into 5 disciplines: agricultural policy development, agricultural mechanisation, crop improvement and seed enterprise development, livestock production, food processing research and hydrology. The curriculum for the ACE was arrived at based on initial needs assessment from interactions among the main partnering institutions in Nigeria and the other Fivefive regional countries.||CEADESE|