World Bank invests $70m in Nigerian varsities

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THE World Bank has disclosed that within five years, it would have expended $70 million projects in 10 Nigerian universities to boost science and technology and make them of global standard. The 10 benefitting varsities under African Centre for Excellence (ACE) are, Redeemers University, Mowe; Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria; University of Jos, Jos; University of Benin, Benin; and African University of Science and Technology, Abuja. Others are, University of Port-Harcourt, Port Harcourt; Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife; Bayero University, Kano; Benue State University, Makurdi; and Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta.

Critical scientific information World Bank said it took more interest in funding several areas of Redeemers University sciences, such as infectious diseases due to the role it played during Ebola crisis in 2014, adding “Redeemers University was the testing site for the 2014 Ebola crisis in Nigeria.

They were able to test and turn around the results within six hours very critical scientific information that confirmed there was Ebola that allowed the government to quickly respond and contain the virus.” Speaking at the opening of three-day workshop for the 22 ACE members varsities in Africa, World Bank’s Lead Economist, Global Practice Education, Andreas Blom, said “The World Bank is investing $165 million in ACE. Africa and the 10 varsities in Nigeria will gulp $70 million for this project.” According to him, Nigeria is the biggest country in the region and has a large number of centres of excellence.

He said that though Nigeria has strong varsities, they were not well recognised outside the shore of the country, noting that there were very few regional people coming into Nigerian universities for study.

He urged Nigerian government to raise the quality of its varsities, adding that a lot of Nigerians are going outside the country, spending a lot of money on quality education. Blom said: “All those talents can remain in Nigeria to educate Nigerians. But for that to happen, we need better universities. We need very good teachers, curriculum and laboratories, so that Nigeria’s talents stay in Nigeria and work for Nigeria developmental programmes.

For Nigeria, we are funding several areas of science, such as infectious diseases, in particular the centres of excellence around.” While trying to proffer solutions to shortage of food in Nigeria through the fund, Blom tasked government on post harvest technology and knowledge, stating that around 40 per cent crops and fruits were wasted due to poor storage, transportation and loss.

“Imagine the quantity of foods that could have come to hungry mouths if we had the right technology and knowledge among the people handling their foods,” he exclaimed.

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