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Africa Centers of Excellence meet to discuss investment in skilling graduates, research and quality of Science and Technology education in Africa

Accra, November 07, 2017

A joint workshop for the Africa Centers of Excellence (ACE) from ACE I and ACE II is underway in Accra, Ghana, from 7-10th November, 2017. The 22 Centers of Excellence from West and Central Africa and 24 Centers from Eastern and Southern Africa are meeting for the first time to learn from peers, and share knowledge, experiences and success stories. It’s an opportunity for the 46 centers to review their progress, deliberate on the challenges and collectively come up with solutions. The workshop was officially opened by the Minister of Education, Republic of Ghana, Hon. Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh.

Hon. Opoku said the Centers should be “models to drive changes that will entrench Higher Education Institutions as principal producers of knowledge that directly impact on socio-economic development,” he said. “This after all,” he added, “is what the mission of Higher Education institutions must be about.”

Kathleen C. Beegle, who represented Heny Kerali, World Bank Country Director for Ghana, Sierra Leone and Liberia said that the ACE project is leading ground breaking research to bring new solutions to problems in the region. “For example, the Africa Center of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases based at Reedemer University in Nigeria published world class research on the Ebola virus in Nature Science about where the first sample of Ebola was tested in Nigeria within a short time frame, and which strong scientific capacity was integral in battling the Ebola outbreak in Nigeria and the region.”

The Africa Higher Education Centers of Excellence, an initiative of participating African governments and the World Bank was launched as a key step towards providing the higher education necessary to strengthen competitiveness and employment through production of quality skilled human resources in priority growth sectors. The 46 Centers are working in health, information technology, energy, agriculture, extractive industries, transport, education, statistics, material science and mining and water management and infrastructure. The phase one in West and Central Africa (ACE I) started in 2013 with 22 Centers of Excellence in eight countries and has advanced in implementation. The phase two in Eastern and Southern Africa (ACE II) was launched in 2016 with 24 Centers of Excellence in eight countries. Both ACE I and ACE II will be financed with $313 million dollars over the project period of five years, with $165 million for ACE I and $148 million for ACE II.

Andreas Blom, World Bank Task Leader for ACE I called on the Centers to aim for academic excellence. He revealed that from ACE I, 50 new PhD students are graduating this year, of which one third is regional students. “This is an investment that makes sense, it’s an investment that produces results. If you can keep producing those results we can keep arguing for more money for higher education in science and technology development education in Africa.”

He said that a third phase (ACE III) is in the pipeline. “We are looking at another $200 million investment but only if we keep producing results.” He emphasized the scarcity of high level skills in water, health, mining, oil and gas in Africa and how industrialists keep getting consultants from outside the region to do the work. “Real development is skills and knowledge that lies in Africa,” he said. “Step out and get your faculty and students to solve real life problems.”

Xiaoyan Liang, Task Leader for ACE II noted that while Africa can still prioritize different levels of education at different stages of economic development, higher education must be part and parcel of the reform agenda.

“The ongoing investment and economic transformation in Africa is boosting the demand for well-educated and skilled labor force. Yet there remains a large gap between the demand and supply of skills,” said Liang.

“We have done our homework to ensure that each center while catering to the needs of their respective country’s higher education arena is also conscious of the entire region,” she said, adding, “Some of these interventions include developing new and relevant masters, Ph.D. programs and short term courses, research, provision of teaching and learning facilities, capacity building of faculty, scholarship for students, motion of partnership with regional and international world class institutions as well as the private sector, and generating revenues.”

Prof. Etienne Ehouan Ehile, Secretary General, Association of African Universities (AAU) said the joint meeting will provide a platform for learning and knowledge sharing among the two ACEs, and an opportunity for guidance on improving university linkages and collaboration.

Prof. Mike Kuria, Deputy Executive Secretary at Inter University Council for East Africa (IUCEA) said, “The Centers of Excellence give us what Barack Obama would have called the audacity of hope. The Centers of Excellence are giving us an opportunity to take the destiny of Africa in our hands. They are going to become a beacon of hope, they are going to become centers against which other universities and institutions can benchmark so that we can have excellence in those serious fields.”

AAU and IUCEA are the Regional Facilitation Units for ACE I and ACE II respectively. The project is in 16 countries including Cote D’ivoire, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia, Uganda, Nigeria, Ghana, Benin, Togo, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, and Senegal. Gambia, Burundi and Zimbabwe which do not host any ACE are eligible to access services offered by the ACEs in other countries and regional capacity building activities under the project.

For more information on ACE I and ACE II, visit the project websites https://ace.aau.org/ and http://www.ace2.iucea.org

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For more information, please contact:

Agnes Asiimwe Okoth
Information and Communication Officer
ACE II Project
Mob: +256752980079 (UG)
ace2.iucea.org/

 

Permanent Secretaries and EASTECO Discuss Strategic Plan and Priority Programmes

The East African Science and Technology Commission (EASTECO), Kigali, Rwanda, October 13th, 2017:

Permanent Secretaries of Ministries responsible for East African Community Affairs (MEACA), held a two-day meeting at EASTECO Headquarters to discuss the EASTECO Strategic Plan and Priority Programmes, starting on Wednesday 11th October 2017.

The delegation include Mrs. Edith N. Mwanje, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of EAC Uganda, Mr. Claude Nikobisanzwe, Permanent Secretary in Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and East African Community, Rwanda, Amb. Ali Idi Siwa, Tanzanian High Commissioner to Rwanda, Mr. Nshunguyinka John, Director of Social Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and East African Community, Rwanda, Mr. Musiime Andrew Director of EAC Affairs in Ministry of East African Community Affairs (MEACA) Uganda.

The meeting was also joined by Mr. Badru Ntege, the EASTECO Governing Board Chairman.

In her welcome remarks, Ms. Gertrude Ngabirano, the EASTECO Executive Secretary, informed the meeting on the status of development and implementation of the EASTECO 5-year Strategic Plan, 2017/18 - 2021/22, as well as the ongoing EASTECO regional activities in Science, Technology and Innovation for the FY 2017/18, including the development of a Regional Policy for Science, Technology and Innovation, the establishment of an EAC Journal on Science, Technology and Innovation and organizing the Second EAC Regional E-Health and Telemedicine Workshop, Ministerial Conference and International Trade Exhibition, 2018.

The Permanent Secretaries made recommendations to enable the smooth implementation of the EASTECO strategic plan including mechanisms for funding Regional Programmes in Science, Technology and Innovation. They underscored the need for a coordinated regional approach in harnessing gains in science and technology including putting in place an enabling environment at the regional level.

The permanent secretaries recognised that high levels of investment in research and innovation are essential for economic competitiveness in areas such as agricultural value addition, healthcare, energy technologies and ICT which have high potential to make immediate and tangible improvements to quality of life of the population in the EAC partner states.  The further underscored the commitment of the EAC Partner States to promote the development and use of science and technology in solving socio-economic development challenges.

Mrs. Edith N. Mwanje expressed her gratitude to the Government of Rwanda for hosting EASTECO and their commitment to provide land for the Commission to build its headquarters. She reiterated the EAC Partner States commitment to guide organs and institutions in their collaboration in harmonizing their activities. She further expressed the commitment of Partner States to make Science and Technology a key enabler of social economic development and achievement of regional integration agenda.

The delegation also visited Positive GBH which is assembling laptops and other electronics, K-Lab and FabLab which constitute an ICT Hub and Incubator in Rwanda.

 

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For more information, please contact:

Richard Irakoze
Communication Assistant
The East African Science and Technology Commission (EASTECO),
2nd Floor Telecom House, Kacyiru,
Kigali, Rwanda
Mobile: +250 783047164
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; C.C. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


About EASTECO

The East African Science and Technology Commission (EASTECO) was established as an institution of the EAC, with an overall objective of “promoting and coordinating the development, management and application of Science and Technology in Partner States” composed with the Republics of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, the United Republic of Tanzania and the Republic of Uganda.

It is a semi-autonomous institution of the EAC established by the 5th Extra-ordinary Summit of the EAC Heads of State held on 18th June 2007,in accordance with Chapter 16, Article 103 (a) of the Treaty on the Establishment of the East African Community, where the Partner States undertook to promote cooperation in the development of Science & Technology within the Community.

EASTECO Headquarters are in Kigali, Rwanda, 2nd Floor Telecom House, Kacyiru.

 

Kiswahili - a Key Tool in Regional Integration, says Uganda's Minister for EAC Affairs

East African Kiswahili Commission; Zanzibar, Tanzania; 08 September 2017:

The Uganda’s 2nd Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of EAC Affairs and Chairperson of the EAC Council of Ministers, Rt Hon. Kirunda Ali Kivejinja,  has reiterated the need for Kiswahili to be mass oriented and used as a tool for integrating the people of East Africa.

Rt Hon. Kivejinja said that it is only through the use of Kiswahili as a tool for integration that the region shall achieve the provision of Article 137 (2) of the Treaty for the Establishment of the EAC, that provides for Kiswahili  to be developed as a lingua franca of the Community.

The Minister, who was speaking at the closing ceremony of the East African Kiswahili Commission (EAKC) 1st International Conference in Zanzibar, Tanzania, said it was important that the language is made as simple and adoptive from the East African indigenous languages for ownership by a large section of the EAC population.

Rt Hon. Kivejinja underscored the commitment of the Community's leadership in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and tasked the EACK to generate proposals on how Kiswahili can be used in the achievement of these goals. " I would like to therefore pledge the commitment of the Council of Ministers in taking forward the Conference resolutions. We appreciate the progress being made by the Commission and will continue to guide and enable it execute its mandate," he added.

The Minister noted that with more than 120 different ethnic groups in Tanzania, Kiswahili was the most efficient and effective integration tool. "I would like to pay tribute to the founders of Tanzania for discovering an important tool in the foundation of the nation," added Rt Hon. Kivejinja.

The EAKC Executive Secretary, Prof. Kenneth Simala informed the participants of the Conference that the Commission was working closely with regional Kiswahili associations in a bid to harmonize the activities of these association. He added that various activities are underway towards the implementation of Kiswahili as an official language of the EAC.

Convened from 6th to 8th September, 2017 at the Golden Tulip Boutique Hotel in Zanzibar, the Conference has brought together Kiswahili stakeholders from the region and beyond to deliberate on how the development and use of the language can creatively be used in deepening and widening EAC integration and contribute towards the realization of sustainable development in the region.

The participants of the Conference have put forward the need to  fastrack the establishment of National Kiswahili Councils and National Kiswahili Associations in all Partner States; the introduction and use of Kiswahili at different levels of Education while making it examinable; the integration of Kiswahili into functional adult education programmes; and the promotion of Kiswahili research.

The Conference concludes today with an excursion to various historical and tourist sites in Zanzibar.


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For more information, please contact:

Executive Secretary
East African Kiswahili Commission
Tel: +255 242 232 704
email: isimala [at] eachq.org

About the East African Kiswahili Commission:

The East African Kiswahili Commission (EACK) is an institution of the East African Community based in Zanzibar, The United Republic of Tanzania. The Commission started its operations in May, 2015 and has developed the Annual Operations Plan for 2016-2017. The Commission’s vision is to be the leading body in the promotion and coordination of the development and usage of Kiswahili for regional integration and sustainable development.

EAC Partner States urged to embrace Kiswahili as the Lingua Franca for the region

East African Community Secretariat; Zanzibar, Tanzania; 06 September 2017:

The Vice President of the United Republic of Tanzania, H.E. Samila Suluhu Hassan, has underscored the importance of the Kiswahili language in promoting development and regional integration in East Africa.

Ms. Hassan said Kiswahili has immense potential to unite the people of East Africa and should therefore be embraced by all East Africans as the lingua franca of the region, adding that the language could be an important tool in the pursuit of economic and social development in the region.

"It is my hope that the East African Kiswahili Commission will aid us in ensuring that the people of East Africa are not mere receivers of strategies for development, but active agents for change. Kiswahili should be promoted and used to enhance our ability to steer the development efforts," said the Vice President.

Vice President Hassan disclosed that the United Republic of Tanzania would work with other East African Community (EAC) Partner States to promote Kiswahili as the lingua franca of the Community.

"Tanzania shall continue standing at the forefront of the promotion of Kiswahili, and is ready and willing to provide Kiswahili teachers to the rest of the region," said the Vice President.

H.E. Samia Sahulu Hassan was addressing delegates at the official opening of the East African Kiswahili Commission (EAKC) 1st International Conference, under the theme: Transforming the East African Community through Kiswahili.

Convened from 6th to 8th September, 2017 at the Golden Tulip Botique Hotel in Zanzibar, the Conference has brought together Kiswahili stakeholders from the region and beyond to deliberate on how the development and use of the language can creatively be used in deepening and widening EAC integration and contribute towards the realization of sustainable development in the region.

In his remarks, the Secretary General of the EAC, Amb. Liberat Mfumukeko, said that the Commission was held in high regard and considered an integral and important institution of the Community.

"I would like to wish that existing cooperation between the Commission, the EAC Secretariat, and other EAC Organs and Institutions is intensified in all areas so as to use Kiswahili in ensuring active citizen participation in the development agenda of the Community," said Amb. Mfumukeko.

"There is no doubt that Kiswahili is an important ingredient in the integration and sustainable development of the EAC. It is for this reason that Article 137 of the EAC Treaty recognizes its importance as a lingua franca. In an effort to give Kiswahili the force that it deserves to drive development in the Community, the East African Legislative Assembly in July 2016 resolved to make it one of the Official Languages of the Community. We promise that the Secretariat will do what it takes to ensure that this desire is realized," added Amb. Mfumukeko.

Welcoming delegates to the Conference, the EAKC Executive Secretary , Prof. Kenneth Simala, said that the development of Kiswahili will provide the Community with an opportunity to survive and thrive in an ever-changing environment, characterized by innovation and transformation.

"We have convened this Conference in Zanzibar in an effort to appreciate and acknowledge the critical role that Zanzibar has played in the development of Kiwswahili not only in East Africa but worldwide. We can not talk about the history of Kiswahili without acknowledging the role played by Zanzibar," said Prof. Simala.

The EAKC's 1st Internatinal Conference was marked with the official opening of the Commission's offices along Maisara Road in Stone Town, Zanzibar. Also launched was the Commission's Strategic Plan 2017 - 2022 which was developed in line with the aspirations of the EAC's Vision 2050 and the African Union Agenda 2063.

Among the dignitaries attending the Conference are the former President of Tanzania, H.E Ali Hassan Mwinyi; Minister of Information, Culture, Artists and Sports, Tanzania, Hon. Dr. Harrison Mwakyembe; Minister of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, Hon. Amb. Augustine Mahiga; Ministers from the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar; Principal / Permanent Secretaries form the EAC Partner States and Heads of EAC Organs and Institutions.


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For more information, please contact:

Executive Secretary
East African Kiswahili Commission
Tel: +255 242 232 704
email: isimala [at] eachq.org

About the East African Community Secretariat:

The East African Kiswahili Commission (EACK) is an institution of the East African Community based in Zanzibar, The United Republic of Tanzania. The Commission started its operations in May, 2015 and has developed the Annual Operations Plan for 2016-2017. The Commission’s vision is to be the leading body in the promotion and coordination of the development and usage of Kiswahili for regional integration and sustainable development.

Zanzibar to host the 1st International Kiswahili Conference from 6th to 8th September 2017

East African Kiswahili Commission; Zanzibar, Tanzania; 30 August 2017:

The East African Kiswahili Commission is set to host the 1st International Kiswahili Conference at the Golden Tulip Boutique Hotel in Zanzibar, Tanzania. The 6th to 8th September 2017 Conference themed ‘Transforming the East African Community through Kiswahili’, will be attended by various Kiswahili stakeholders, including policy makers, scholars, media owners and practitioners, as well as students from across the East African Community and beyond. Representatives from the EAC Partner States will also attend the Conference.

The Executive Secretary for the East African Kiswahili Commission, Prof. Kenneth Simala, has noted that the overall objective of the Conference is to brainstorm on how the development and use of Kiswahili can stimulate new ideas, solve problems, and implement solutions to challenges of sustainable development in the EAC.

“The Conference will bring together Kiswahili stakeholders to discuss how the development and use of the language can creatively be used in deepening and widening EAC integration and contribute towards the realization of sustainable development in the region,” reiterated Prof. Simala.

The International Kiswahili Conference is premised in the logic that the post-2015 development agenda is bound to shape policies, programmes and projects worldwide for the next fifteen years. To this end, each and every Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) and target therefore provides an opportunity for Kiswahili to support communication. The goals and targets further present great avenues for Kiswahili to demonstrate shared values while contributing towards local, national and regional sustainable growth.

The Executive Secretary pointed out that the East African Community has the potential for growth and change through the adoption and implementation SDGs. This will provide the Community with an opportunity to survive and thrive in an ever-changing environment, characterized by innovation and transformation. He explained that creative, innovative and transformative development and use of Kiswahili have the potential for enhancing relevant knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to tackle the challenges that come with implantation of the SDGs.

The Conference participants are expected to redefine the challenges and opportunities that come with SDGs; develop new, innovative responses and solutions; and make policy recommendations to Partner States on the actions that need to be taken in the development and use of Kiswahili.

The Commission will also launch the East African Kiswahili Commission Strategic Plan (2017-2022) during the Conference.


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For more information, please contact:

Executive Secretary
East African Kiswahili Commission
Tel: +255 242 232 704
email: isimala [at] eachq.org
www.kiswacom.org 

About the East African Kiswahili Commission:

The East African Kiswahili Commission (EACK) is an institution of the East African Community based in Zanzibar, The United Republic of Tanzania. The Commission started its operations in May, 2015 and has developed the Annual Operations Plan for 2016-2017. The Commission’s vision is to be the leading body in the promotion and coordination of the development and usage of Kiswahili for regional integration and sustainable development.

 


East African Community
EAC Close
Afrika Mashariki Road
P.O. Box 1096
Arusha
United Republic of Tanzania

Tel: +255 (0)27 216 2100
Fax: +255 (0)27 216 2190
Email: eac@eachq.org