The President of the Republic of The Gambia, His Excellency Adama Barrow on Tuesday, 15th November, 2022 officially launched the 8th Regional Workshop of the Africa Centres of Excellence (ACE) Project at the Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara International Conference Center.
In his opening speech, President Barrow said that the workshop is organised at a time when his government is making concerted efforts to transform the higher education system through reforms that would put the youth at the forefront of national development.
“The Gambia is working towards establishing a full-fledged Centre of Excellence in Science, Technology, and Engineering for Entrepreneurship within the University of Applied Science, Engineering and Technology (USET). The purpose for this focus is obvious; we need adequate human capital that is equipped with entrepreneurial mindsets to match our development strides and aspirations,”
H.E Adama Barrow went on to add that he is eager and cannot wait for the USET to graduate our first home-grown engineers who are able and ready to move and provide solutions to local and international industries.
For his part, Honourable Professor Pierre Gomez, the Honourable Minister of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology in his welcoming remark, stated that The Gambia, since it entered into the Africa Centres of Excellence has benefited tremendously, more so in the human capital formation of crucial development institutions in The Gambia.
Furthermore, Hon. Prof. Gomez expressed gratitude to the World Bank, the Association of African Universities and other partners for their continued support in the higher education sector development.
In her remarks, Feyi Boroffice, Country Representative for The Gambia informed that currently, less than 25% of African higher education students pursue STEM-related career fields, most of them being men. This is why, she said, the World Bank is working alongside the various African governments particularly, in the case of The , to help establish the new University of Applied Science, Engineering and Technology (USET), to train the next generation of Gambian engineers and technicians and provide them with the requisite technical and soft skills, including in entrepreneurship and innovation.
“Our aspiration is that USET will become an institution of excellence and a reference in STEM education, within and outside the borders of The Gambia,” said Ms. Feyi Borofice
The Permanent Secretary of MoHERST, Dr. Yusupha Touray Chaired the opening ceremony of the 8th Regional Workshop in the . Dr Touray introduced representatives from the 53 Centres of Excellence from; Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Djibouti, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Togo.
These 53 Centres of Excellence specialize in the broad thematic areas of STEM, agriculture, health, environment and social/applied science and education. Also, the was recognised by stakeholders for their support to the ACE Impact project since its inception in 2014 as the Regional Facilitation Unit.
The Africa Higher Education Centers of Excellence (ACE) 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.