Following a journey of Chancellor Angela Merkel to West Africa in 2016, the DAAD was mandated by the German Government to support the establishment of two new Centres of Excellence. The Centres shall contribute to the mitigation of increasing economic hardship and a widespread lack of prospects for much of the population in West Africa, which affect the region in a crucial way, additionally to political instability, conflicts, and wars.
Through intraregional cooperation and institution building in higher education the new Centres aim to contribute to the creation of long-term prospects to fight the structural causes of flight and migration.
The call of tender published by the end of June 2017 specifically envisaged the strategic integration of Partner universities from Mali and Niger into the Centres, as the main migration routes pass through these countries to the Sahara and then on to the Mediterranean coast.
DAAD appointed a commission of German and African professors and experts to select the new Centres among the proposals submitted by German-African University Partnerships.
On August, 19th, the commission selected the University of Bonn in cooperation with the University for Development Studies in Ghana to establish a Centre of Excellence focusing on Sustainable Rural Transformation. The Université Abdou Moumouni in Niamey, Niger will be part of the triangular cooperation project.
The second Centre will be established by the partners from Kehl University of Applied Sciences and CESAG Business School in Senegal. Focusing on Governance for Sustainable and Integrative Local Development, the Centre will also cooperate with Université Abdou Moumouni in Niamey, Niger and additionally with Université des Sciences Juridiques et Politiques de Bamako, Mali.
Both projects plan the establishment of Master’s and PhD-courses starting in the second half of 2018.
By establishing two Centres of Excellence at universities in West African countries, the DAAD seeks to create practice-oriented and sustainable educational opportunities that offer competitive training opportunities for young people at a local level in this region heavily affected by flight and migration. Funded by the German Federal Foreign Office, the Centres will be integrated into the overall African Excellence Programme line of DAAD. Both Centres will be encouraged to engage in networking and exchange with the existing Centres of Excellence to strengthen interregional networking and exchange.