On April 15, 2014, the World Bank confirmed they would be funding 19 Centers of Excellence in Central and West Africa.

These university-styled centers will also be receiving financing for specific research in math, agriculture and health issues, science and technology.

The Africa Centers of Excellence (ACE) is a project that aims to help form scientific and research skills in adolescent Africans. With the addition of these programs, World Bank’s Vice President in Africa, Makhtar Diop, hopes that more jobs will be formed, economic standing in Africa will grow and adolescents will gain an education in areas that are growing increasingly more important, such as disease control.

World Bank has agreed to fund $150 million, with the majority amount of $70 million going to Nigeria. The other government receiving funding are: Ghana, which is receiving $24 million; Senegal, $16 million; Cameroon, Benin, Burkina Faso, and Togo, each of which is receiving $8 million.

In addition, the Gambia is also being given a $2 million credit, and a $1 million grant to go towards training for students and faculty, as well as to provide higher education to students.

During a time when the continent is facing a severe drop in skilled workers and trained health care workers, the ACE is giving hope and a chance for young students to excel in areas that also benefit Africa as a whole. These areas of study will open doors for students and also equip them with skills for jobs that will provide job security because of high demand.

The focus on Health and STEM research aims to relieve the African countries from the struggling “researcher-to-population ratio” that is negatively affecting the overall health care. Africa currently has a very high mortality rates for mothers, which is 500 maternal deaths for every 100,000 births.

The ACE’s funded program will overall benefit young students, as well as alleviate the current problems with researcher-to-population ratio, economics, health care and poverty.

– Becka Felcon

Sources: World Bank, Punch, All Africa