The aim of the German Academic Exchange Service's (DAAD) Centres of African Excellence programme is to establish and expand efficient and sustainable educational structures at African universities. Two additional centres of excellence have recently been selected with a focus on resource management. Both are supported by German universities and will receive €4.5 million of the DAAD funding from the Federal Foreign Office (AA) up until 2025.
‘The major socio-economic challenges of the 21st century do not stop at national borders. This is why international networks between universities and research institutions are so crucial when it comes to solving the most pressing problems, such as the effects of the climate crisis. By establishing these new centres of excellence with a focus on resource management, we are strengthening the education systems in African partner countries by supporting outstanding master’s degree and doctoral programmes. The projects make a local contribution to the development of better training opportunities as well as creating jobs and improving the long-term prospects for those who wish to stay in the country. As a special feature, the two new centres also aim to encourage responsible social management of scarce resources,’ said DAAD President Professor Dr Joybrato Mukherjee.
‘The successful centres of excellence programme reflects our will to significantly expand German-African academic cooperation. Our two new centres focus particularly on areas such as food security and resource management. I’m very confident that they will generate positive stimuli,’ said Michelle Müntefering, Minister of State for International Cultural and Educational Policy at the Federal Foreign Office.
Focus in logistics and agricultural science – the new centres
Promoting Academic Capacities for Sustainable Agricultural Resources Use in West Africa (Pro-RUWA)
University of Kassel, contact: Professor Dr Andreas Bürkert, Organic Agricultural Sciences
Together with partners from Burkina Faso, Benin and Niger, this agricultural science project takes an interdisciplinary approach to tackling the challenges of climate change and the need for sustainable management of scarce resources in the region. In a Research Training Group for sustainable resource use and food security, the partners are pooling their different core competences on a cross-border basis. In addition, the centre will participate in already established and excellent research and education initiatives in the region, thereby contributing to a master’s degree and doctoral programme at a high international level.
Sustainable Operations for Resource Management and Food Supply (SCO)
Kühne Logistics University, Hamburg, contact: Professor Dr Thomas Strothotte, Logistics
This transdisciplinary centre seeks to apply innovative management processes to manage the production, distribution and processing of food and other health-related resources and goods. The project is aimed at established professional specialists, students and graduates in the areas of economics, agricultural sciences, medicine, engineering sciences and the humanities. The aim is to develop practical and sustainable solutions, particularly in the areas of value creation, transport, logistics and storage systems. Right at the beginning of the project, the logistics for the distribution of corona vaccines will be tackled together with partners from Kenya and Tanzania.
Centres of African Excellence – an overview
Since 2008, the DAAD has supported higher education institutions in nine African countries in improving the quality of their education and expanding their research capacities by establishing centres of excellence. The aim is to enable the training of future decision-makers according to international standards in African countries. Ten centres of excellence have received funding to date, each of which is supported by a German university – with the addition of the newly selected centres, this number is now increased to twelve.
The existing centres at a glance:
- Ghanaian-German Centre for Development Studies University of Accra and University of Bonn, Center for Development Research (ZEF)
- Congolese-German Centre for Microfinance: Université Protestante au Congo, Kinshasa, and Frankfurt School of Finance and Management
- Namibian-German Centre for Logistics: Namibia University of Applied Sciences and Technology, Windhuk, and Flensburg University of Applied Sciences.
- South African-German Centre for Development Research: University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, and Ruhr-University of Bochum
- South African-German Centre for Transnational Criminal Justice: University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, and Humboldt University Berlin
- Tanzanian-German Centre for Eastern African Legal Studies: University of Dar es Salaam and University of Bayreuth
- East and South African-German Centre of Excellence for Educational Research Methodologies and Management: Moi University, Eldoret, and University of Oldenburg
- Kenyan German Centre for Mining, Environmental Engineering and Resource Management: Taita Taveta University College, Voi, and Dresden University of Applied Sciences
- West African Center for Sustainable Rural Transformation: University for Development Studies in Tamale, Ghana, Université Abdou Moumouni de Niamey, Niger and University of Bonn, Center for Development Research Bonn (ZEF)
- West African German Centre for Local Governance in Africa: CESAG Business School in Dakar, Senegal, Université Abdou Moumouni de Niamey, Niger, Université des Sciences Juridiques et Politiques de Bamako, Mali and Kehl University of Public Administration