About ACE Impact


The Africa Higher Education Centers of Excellence (ACE) Project is a World Bank initiative in collaboration with governments of participating countries to support Higher Education institutions in specializing in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), Environment, Agriculture, applied Social Science / Education and Health.

All Centres were competitively selected and Nigeria proudly hosted 10 of the 22 Centres of Excellence in the first phase of the Project (ACE I) which was launched in 2014. Other countries include Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal and Togo. The second phase (ACE II) was launched in East and Southern Africa with 24 centers across Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

On the basis of the successes recorded in ACE I and ACE II, the development partners World Bank and the French Development Agency (AFD) in collaboration with the African governments, launched the ACE Impact Project in 2018 to strengthen post-graduate training and applied research in existing fields and support new fields that are essential for Africa’s economic growth. The project consist of establishing new and scaling up of well performing existing ACEs for development impact, fostering regional partnerships and scholarships, as well as enhancing national and regional project facilitation, monitoring and evaluation.

Today, Nigeria belongs to the second cohort of ACE Impact Countries alongside Benin, Cote d’ivoire, Niger, the Gambia and Togo. Of the 43 ACEs, 5 Emerging Centers;1 “top up” center in Social Risk Management; and 5 Colleges and Schools of Engineering under ACE Impact, Nigeria hosts 17. The Centres’ operations are facilitated by the Project Implementation Unit domiciled at the National Universities Commission, Abuja.

These Centres strive to enhance their capacity to deliver regional high quality training to address development challenges on the continent and deliver practicable applied research outcomes. Our Centres are in the process of building and strengthening relevant partnerships to enhance their impact on higher education and research, particularly academic partnerships and industry partneships to market comeercialise research outcomes.

The Project aims to promote regional specialization among participating universities in areas that address specific common regional development challenges. It also aims to strengthen the capacities of these universities to deliver high quality training and applied research as well as meet the demand for skills required for Africa’s development.

Project Development Objectives

The ACE Project Development Objective (PDO) is to support the recipients to promote regional specialization among participating universities in areas that address regional challenges and strengthen the capacities of these universities to deliver quality training and applied research.

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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