2iE Centre of Excellence to host workshop, student fair

The International Institute for Water and Environmental Engineering (2iE) in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, is among 22 Africa Centres of Excellence which have made “remarkable” efforts towards addressing regional developmental challenges and promoting applied research, according to the Association of African Universities (AAU).

The site of the ninth Africa Higher Education Centres of Excellence (ACE) Project Workshop to be held this week from 8-9 May, the 2iE has produced 69 scientific articles of rank A and 15 research projects (12 of which have been carried out) since its establishment in 2014. The ACE project is financed by the World Bank. The AAU is responsible for monitoring its implementation.

According to an AAU statement, the 2iE has also been able to construct a training and demonstration centre focused on water and agriculture as well as to renovate the institute’s scientific complex.

The 2iE is a training and research institute established to train innovative engineers to meet the development challenges of the African continent. It is also to offer a lifelong professional training options to managers and technicians from the private and public sectors.

In addition, it administers research and development programmes for both the private and public sectors.

The institution has a current student population of about 1,300 students from 30 countries and a faculty of about 100 lecturers and researchers from 20 countries.

The 2iE has been able to attain accreditation from the European Network for the Accreditation of Engineering Education (EUR-ACE) in France as well as ISO9001 certification, said the AAU.

“The ACE Project seeks to promote regional specialisation among participating universities in areas that address specific common regional developmental challenges and also to meet the demand for skills required for Africa’s development,” the AAU said in a statement.

Currently, there are 22 such centres located in 21 higher education institutions in eight West and Central African countries, namely, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal and Togo.

Other centres that have made notable achievements include the Africa Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases (ACEGID) which delivered an accurate diagnosis of the first case of Ebola in Sierra Leone and Nigeria, and developed rapid diagnostic tests for Lassa fever and Ebola.

Similarly, the West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI), located at the University of Ghana, has developed three high-yielding hybrid maize varieties which have been approved for release.

The West African Centre for Cell Biology of Infectious Pathogens (WACCBIP) has instroduced specialised training programmes in molecular cell biology of infectious pathogens, the first of its kind in Africa.

These and other achievements are to be showcased at a student fair to be held on 7 May 2018 on the 2iE campus to provide a platform for the promotion of current programmes undertaken by the centres.

"We are organising this fair for the very first time to show the progress in higher education in Africa, and prove that young Africans can access advanced training in African universities and be internationally competitive," said Professor Etienne Ehilé, AAU secretary general. – Compiled by Francis Kokutse