About ACE Impact


The Governments of Nigeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Senegal, Niger, Djibouti, Guinea, Togo and The Gambia, with support from the World Bank, launched the third phase of the Regional Africa Higher Education Centers of Excellence (ACE) for Development Impact (ACE Impact) Project in May 2018.

Modelled after the first phase of the ACE Project, the ACE for Development Impact is designed to further address the regional development challenges in West and Central Africa through a focused programme of postgraduate education and applied research. The Project development objective is to increase quality, quantity and development impact of postgraduate education in selected universities through regional specialisation and collaboration.

ace nigeria

Expected Results

• Increase in the number of students, in particularly regional and female, enrolled and graduating from Masters and PhD programmes.
• Improvement in the quality of programmes, including an increase in the number of programmes – and ACE host institutions – that obtain international accreditation.
• Development impact attributable to the project, including improvement in the relevance of the education/training programmes and of the applied research.
• Increase in the number, and strength, of sectoral partnerships that lead to production and hiring of high-performing graduates, internships for students, application and commercialization of research results, advisory board participation, etc.
• Increase in the amount of externally generated revenue, including from companies and other sectoral partners.

Project Description

ACE impact addresses specific regional development challenges primarily relying upon the following priority fields:
1. Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM),
2. Health Sciences,
3. Agricultural Sciences,
4. Environment, and
5. Applied Social Sciences.
The project consists of three components:
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Component 1
Establishing new and scaling-up well-performing existing ACEs for development impact.
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Component 2
Fostering regional partnerships for emerging Centers and regional scholarships.
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Component 3
Enhancing regional project facilitation, and Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E).

Preliminary Activities in Nigeria Towards Selection of The ACE Impact Centres

Nigeria formally kickstarted the ACE impact processes with a pre-announcement of the call for proposals on 2nd May 2018.

Nigerian universities expressed a total of 151 interests (topics for the intended proposals) but eventually submitted 132 proposals, comprising 122 proposals for the establishment of new centres under ACE-3 and 10 proposals for the renewal of existing centres from ACE-1. However, going by the amount available to Nigeria under the project ($70 million), Nigeria was expected to establish about 15 centres and thus allowed to submit proposals up to 3 times the number of expected centres. This implies that the NUC was required to critically review the proposals towards selecting top 45 proposals to be sent to the World Bank and the ACE Project Regional Facilitation Unit domiciled at the Association of African Universities (AAU) for the regional competition against proposals from other countries.

In order to achieve this, the NUC set up a Panel of evaluators to first, review the submitted proposals and make suggestions to proponents where necessary and secondly, evaluate and recommend the top 45 proposals to ensure that they are more competitive when submitted to the AAU.

Following the ranking of the proposals, the NUC decided to select the top ranking proposals, but up to a maximum of two per university. Thus, 35 new proposals were selected based on this criterion. In addition, NUC recommended 8 out of the 10 existing centres. The Pan African Materials Institute in African University of Science & Technology, Abuja and the Africa Centre of Excellence in Agricultural Development and Sustainable Environment in Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta were dropped due to the serious weaknesses noticed in the two centres and the lack of potential for sustainability.


Final Selection of the ACE Impact Centres by the Project Steering Committee

The Ministerial Steering Committee of the ACE Impact Project met on Friday 2nd November 2018 at the Association of African Universities, Accra Ghana, to select the proposals that met the ACE impact requirements. The proposals were selected according to the following categories:

  1. ACE-1 Centres that qualify for renewals


  1. ACE in ICT Driven Knowledge Park, Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria
  2. Centre for Oilfield Chemicals Research (CEFOR), University of Port-Harcourt Nigeria
  3. ACE in Mathematics, Informatics, and ICT (CEA-MITIC), University of Gaston Berger, St. Louis, Senegal
  4. ACE for Mining, Mines et Environnement Minier, Institut National Polytechnique Felix Houphouet-Boigny, Cote D’Ivoire
  5. ACE in Applied Mathematics, Institut de Mathématiques et de Sciences Physiques (IMSP/UAC), Université d’Abomey, Calavi, Bénin, Porto-Novo, Bénin Republic
  6. ACE in the Education and Research with Water, Energy, and Environmental Sciences and Technologies, Institut International d’Ingénierie de l’Eau et de l’Environnement (2iE), Burkina Faso
  7. ACE for Water and Environmental Sanitation, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana

Social/Economic Science

  1. ACE for Statistical Training in Africa, Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Statistique et d’Economie Appliquée (ENSEA), Cote d’Ivoire


  1. ACE for Genomics of Infectious Diseases, Redeemer’s University, Nigeria
  2. ACE on Neglected Tropical Diseases and Forensic Biotechnology, Ahmadu Bello University, Nigeria
  3. ACE in Reproductive Health and Innovation, University of Benin, Nigeria
  4. ACE for Cell Biology of Infectious Pathogens, University of Ghana, Legon
  5. ACE in Maternal and Child Health (CEA-SAMEF), Université Cheikh Anta Diop, Dakar-Fann, Sénégal


  1. ACE for Training Plant Breeders, Seed Scientists and Technologists (WACCI), University of Ghana, Legon
  2. Centre for Dryland Agriculture, Bayero University, Kano, Nigeria
  3. ACE for Climate Change, Biodiversity and Durable Agriculture, WASCAL, Université Felix Houphouet-Boigny, Cote D’Ivoire
  4. ACE in the Poultry Sciences, Ecole Supérieure d’Agronomie (ESA), Ecole Supérieure des Techniques Biologiques et Alimentaires (ESTBA), Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Ingénieurs (ENSI), Faculté des Sciences, Université de Lomé, Lomé, Togo
  5. Centre for Food Technology and Research (CEFTER), Nigeria

Six Centers Selected Based Upon Advertised Terms of References

S/NTerms of ReferenceInstitutionScore
1Coastal DegradationUniversity of Cape Coast, Ghana91
2Digital Development/ICTCovenant University, Nigeria92
3NursingUniversity of Port Harcourt, Nigeria92
4PowerUniversity of Nigeria Nsukka, Nigeria92
5TransportKwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana93
6Urban DesignUniversity of Lome, Togo85

Centers Selected Based on Quality

1Digital Development ToRNational Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), Nigeria88
2Power ToRUniversity of Lome, Togo90
3Power ToRUniversity of Energy and Natural Resources, Ghana90
4Future EnergiesFederal University of Technology, Owerri, Nigeria95
5WasteInstitut National Polytechnique  Felix Houphouet-Boigny, Cote D’Ivoire (INP-HB), CDI93
6Environment/HealthL’Université Cheikh Anta Diop (UCAD), Senegal95
7Water, IrrigationUniversity for Development Studies (UDS), Ghana93
8Food Security/NutritionL’Université Cheikh Anta Diop (UCAD), Senegal91
9Engineering EducationAhmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria87
10Genetic MedicineUniversity of Ghana, Ghana91
11Herbal MedicineUniversity of Lagos, Nigeria87
12MycotoxinFederal University of Technology, Minna, Nigeria86
13Pastoral ProductionAbdou Moumouni University (UAM), Niger85
14Medicinal SciencesUniversity of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso95
15Vector Trans. DiseaseNazi Boni University, Burkina Faso86
16Prev./Control Inf. DiseaseGamal Abdel Nasser University of Conakry (UGANC), Guinea97

Centers Selected Based on Equity (Equity in Terms of Country, Subject Area and Female Centre Leadership)

Obstetrics and Gynecology  TrainingUniversity of Buea, Cameroon83The best from Cameroon
SanitationUniversite D'Abomey-Calavi, Cotonou, Benin83The best from Benin
NursingBayero University, Kano, Nigeria80The best led by a female centre leader
EducationLagos State University, Nigeria82The best in Education

Portfolio Targets after Renewals, ToRs & quality

Target area
Share of ACEs in STEM43% (19/44)
Social Sciences & education9%
Female ACE Leader2
Francophone/ Anglophone18/26

Distribution of the Selected Centres by Country

CountryNumber of qualified proposals
Burkina Faso3
Cote d’Ivoire4
List of Centres Selected from Nigeria
  1. ACE in ICT Driven Knowledge Park, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife
  2. Centre for Oilfield Chemicals Research (CEFOR), University of Port-Harcourt
  3. ACE for Genomics of Infectious Diseases, Redeemer’s University, Ede
  4. ACE on Neglected Tropical Diseases and Forensic Biotechnology, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria
  5. ACE in Reproductive Health and Innovation, University of Benin
  6. Centre for Dryland Agriculture, Bayero University, Kano
  7. Centre for Food Technology and Research (CEFTER), Benue State University, Makurdi
  8. Africa Center of Excellence in Applied Informatics and Communication – Covenant University, Ota
  9. Centre for Public Health and Toxicological Research (PUTOR), University of Port Harcourt
  10. Africa Center of Excellence for Sustainable Power and Energy Development, University of Nigeria Nsukka
  11. Africa Centre of Excellence on Technology Enhanced Learning (ACETEL), National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN)
  12. African Center of Excellence in Future Energies and Electrochemical Systems (ACE-FUELS), Federal University of Technology, Owerri
  13. Africa Center of Excellence on New Pedagogies in Engineering Education (ACENPEE), Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria
  14. ACE for Drug Research, Herbal Medicine Development and Regulatory Science (ACEDRHMDRS), University of Lagos
  15. Africa Centre of Excellence for Mycotoxin and Food Safety – Federal University of Technology, Minna
  16. Center for Population Health and Policy (ACEPHAP), Bayero University, Kano
  17. Centre of Excellence for Innovative and Transformative STEM Education (CITSE), Lagos State University

Project Development Objectives

The Project development objective is to increase quality, quantity and development impact of postgraduate education in selected universities through regional specialisation and collaboration.

Higher Order Objectives

The higher order objective of the ACE project is to meet the labor market demands for skills within specific areas where there are skill shortages affecting development, economic growth and poverty reduction.

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