As part of efforts to ensure sustainable access for the people of West Africa to clean energy and electricity, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), in partnership with the European Union, has launched a scholarship programme to build the capacity of young professionals in the West African energy sector, on Tuesday 15 November 2022, at the ECOWAS Headquarters, in Abuja, Nigeria.
These fully funded Masters Degree in a variety of sustainable energy courses at nine specialized universities and institutes in six West African countries will be allocated to highly talented students from ECOWAS Member States pursuing careers in the energy sector. The nine Higher Education Institutions selected for this programme (HEls) include: Obafemi Awolowo University (Nigeria), University of Ibadan (Nigeria), University of Nigeria Nsukka(Nigeria), Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (Ghana), Ecole Polytechnique de Thiès (Senegal), Universite Cheikh Anta Diop (Senegal), Institut National Polytechnique Félix Houphouët-Boigny (Cote d’Ivoire), Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Ingénieurs -Université de Lomé (Togo), and Universidade de Cabo Verde (Cape Verde).
These higher institutions are renowned for their high-quality curriculum in the fields of renewable energy and energy efficiency. This opportunity is opened to all citizens of ECOWAS and Mauritania holding a Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Energy and Environment (including Renewable Energy Energy and Energy Efficiency), Law, Economics, Finance and Planning, allows applicants to apply for any of the nine institutions in one of the six countries and particular attention will be given to women candidates. 75 Students are targeted within the ECOWAS countries and selected in a competitive and transparent manner by respecting the geographical and language distributions.
In her statement, Prof. Fatou SOW SARR, Commissioner of Human Development and Social Affairs of the ECOWAS Commission claimed that: ''The issue of energy is very important, especially at the level of education, it is also important that the presence of women who benefit from these scholarships is significant. A big step has just been taken, but efforts must also be made towards countries that do not have the British Council on their territory and to always strengthen the presence of women in this scholarship selection programme.’’
In the same vein, Bayaornibè DABIRE, Director of Energy and Mines, ECOWAS Commission, added that: "The supply of sustainable energy, which is available and accessible to all, is critical to the development of our region. To this end, we must attract the best skills in the energy sector to contribute to the achievement of this objective."
Representing the European Union, the main donor Cecile TASSIN-PELZER, Head of Cooperation, European Union Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS stated that: "Human capital development is the means and Green Energy Transition the goal. EU joins forces with ECOWAS to pursue their common aspiration. This is the aim of this Scholarships Programme."
The British Council has been appointed as the implementing partner for the scholarship. Speaking on this development, Alex LAMBERT, Country Director, British Council Senegal Said that: "The British Council will leverage our extensive experience in scholarship management and Higher Education institution partnerships across Sub-Saharan African to ensure a successful programme and outcomes. We are particularly excited that the overall objective of the EU for this programme complements the long-standing work of the British Council to enhance human capital development by improving access to high quality training, skills development, and employability for young people in West Africa".
Closing this serie of speeches, Mr. Sédiko DOUKA, the ECOWAS Commissioner for Infrastructure, Energy and Digitalization has indicated that:’’ This scholarship programme is another evidence of the keen interest that the ECOWAS Commission has in the nexus education and universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy. We remain convinced that through real investment in Education and research our region will have the required manpower capable of efficiency and effectively managing in energy sector: renewable energy, regulation, and research in solar and wind system. He ended his speech by declaring officially launched the EU-ECOWAS scholarship programme on sustainable energy.
The scholarship program was initiated by the ECOWAS Commission and European Union through the 11th EDF Energy Governance Program in West Africa (AGoSE-AO), for students from ECOWAS Member States and Mauritania.
At the end of this official launch ceremony, the steering committee of the scholarship programme, comprising ECOWAS Commission, European Union and British Council hold its 1st meeting to discuss on the progress of the programme and agree on the necessary orientations.