His Excellency, the Vice President of the Republic of The Gambia, Badara A. Joof on Friday, 18th November, 2022 officially closed the 5-day 8th Regional Workshop of the Africa Centres of Excellence (ACE) Impact Project, at the Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara International Conference Center.
The ACE Impact is a World Bank initiative in collaboration with governments of participating countries to support higher education institutions specializing in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), Agriculture, Health, Environment and Social Science/Applied Science and Education. It is the first World Bank project aimed at building the capacities of higher education institutions in Africa through the promotion of regional specialization among participating universities in areas that address specific common regional development challenges.
The Vice President’s key message was for participants to share the knowledge and experiences they have garnered during the week-long regional workshop with those who were unable to attend. H.E Badara Joof went on to congratulate the Honourable Minister of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology, Professor Pierre Gomez and the entire team of MoHERST for a splendid job in hosting the 8th ACE Impact Regional Workshop in The Gambia.
VP Joof also extended the appreciation of the President of The Republic of The Gambia, His Excellency Adama Barrow, to the World Bank, the Association of African Universities (AAU) and Agence Française de Développement (AFD) for supporting the successful proceedings of the event.
Furthermore, the Vice President highlighted that the students are eager to learn, and the government of The Gambia is educating them for the future. Thus, he is optimistic that the University of Applied Science, Engineering and Technology (USET), supported by the AAU through the World Bank, ACE Impact Project, will have a massive impact in The Gambia and beyond.
The Education Specialist at the World Bank, Dr Ekua Bentil in her speech, thanked the government of The Gambia, the AAU team and participants from the centres of excellence for their support to the project. One of the key takeaways presented by Dr Ekua during the closing ceremony was the creation of more policies and opportunities for all especially, women. In addition, the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) Members of the 8th Regional Workshop in The Gambia presented a painting gift to Dr Bentil to show their appreciation.
A special component of this year’s 8th Regional Workshop of the ACE Impact Project hosted in The Gambia is the Student Poster Exhibitions.
To ensure there is the participation of students in this high-level meeting, at least 15 of the best ACE Impact students were selected for the maiden edition of the Student Innovation Research Award (SIRA). The four thematic areas for the awards include; Agriculture, Health, Environment and Education. Three students were awarded cash prizes under each thematic category at the closing ceremony for their outstanding competitive projects that offer solutions and innovative ideas in transformative research and interdisciplinary collaborations.
Students from the University of Applied Science, Engineering and Technology (USET) in The Gambia were also given the opportunity to share their innovative research outputs through a poster exhibition at the International Conference Centre.
USET Students’ poster exhibitions were on Smart Homes, Smart Bins, Solar Pump Irrigation Systems and Electric Car and Scooter.
Participants of the 8th Regional Workshop of The ACE Impact Project were representatives from the 53 Centres of Excellence from; Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Djibouti, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Togo.