As the year comes to a close, we can look back with gratitude and ahead with hope. Gratitude on behalf of the Africa
Centres of Excellence (ACEs) for grounds covered, milestones attained and results achieved.
At the last count, the 10 Centres in Nigeria had entered into no fewer than 41 primary, 33 regional and 44 global
partnerships. The primary ones are with institutions, organisations and agencies within the country, while the
regional and global partnerships are just as their names suggest. It is pleasing to see institutions coming together, on
a larger scale than we had seen before, to collaborate and strengthen each other to teach, conduct research and
offer community service.
The results are coming in and we are hopeful for more: The Centre of Excellence in Oilfield Chemical Research
(CEFOR) at the University of Port Harcourt, graduated its first set of 37 PhD students and admitted 70 more for the
2016/2017 academic session. A total of 208 M.Sc students also graduated from the different Centres that make up
CEFOR; while the recently-commissioned mini modular refinery will boost the Centre’s research activities.
The Africa Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases (ACEGID) at the Redeemer’s University, Ede, has
trained approximately 500 young African Scientists in the field of Genomics and Bioinformatics from 2014 to date.
The Centre for Dryland Agriculture (CDA) at the Bayero University, Kano, has generated more than $1.25 million in
research funds and admitted students from seven countries in West and Central Africa.
The Centre of Excellence in Agricultural Development and Sustainable Environment (CEADESE) at the Federal
University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB) has developed a new breed of goats (KALAWAD) from the Kalahari and
WAD breeds and also fabricated a poultry droppings pelletising machine.
The Centre for Food Technology and Research (CEFTER) at the Benue State University, which has exceeded a good
number of its targets in student enrolment is also fabricating food dryers that hold promise for containing post-
harvest losses which claim an estimated 50 percent of the foods produced in the country.
The Pan-African Materials Institute (PAMI) at the African University of Science and Technology (AUST), Abuja, has
emerged as one of the training centres (in Mining and Minerals Processing Engineering), under the Partnership for
Applied Skills in Engineering and Technology (PASET) as well as a regional node in the Mathematics and Science for
Sub-Saharan Africa (MS4SSA) initiative. No fewer than 30 percent of the Centre’s 58 PhD and 59 Master’s students,
drawn from across Africa, are female.
The Africa Centre of Excellence in Neglected Tropical Diseases and Forensic Biotechnology (ACENTDFB), Ahmadu
Bello University, Zaria, has established a consortium of academic and research institutions, with experts from across
the world, working to resolve the issues of neglected tropical diseases. Its Diploma in Forensic Biotechnology is the
first of its kind in West Africa, just as the Centre for Reproductive Health Innovation (CERHI) at the University of
Benin has come up with new and innovative programmes, such as Health Economics at the postgraduate level.
The Africa Centre of Excellence in Phytomedicine Research and Development (ACEPRD) at the University of Jos has
established a herbal farm as it continues its research into medicinal plants for bioactive compounds. The Obafemi
Awolowo University (OAU) ICT-Driven Knowledge Park has also established six postgraduate laboratories for cutting-
edge research. The future is, indeed, bright.
I cannot end this without expressing our deep sorrow at the death of the Leader, Africa Centre of Excellence in
Neglected Tropical Diseases and Forensic Biotechnology (ACENTDFB) at the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria,
Professor Jonathan Andrew Nok. His passing is a huge loss, not only to his family, the Centre and ABU, but also to
Kaduna State, Nigeria and the world of Science to which he had made immense contributions over the years. He will
be sorely missed. May his soul rest in perfect peace.
Professor Abubakar Rasheed