WAEMU Countries - US$29.77 Million ADF Grant for Higher Education

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Tunis,  6 September 2006 –  The African Development Bank (AfDB)  Group and the West African Economic and Monetary Union WAEMU, on Tuesday in Tunis, signed a protocol agreement for a grant of  20 million Units of Account (*), equivalent to US$29.77 million dollars,  to finance a higher education support project in the member countries of WAEMU.

The Vice President of the ADB Group for Sector Operations, Mrs. Zeinab El Bakri and the President of the WAEMU Commission, Mr. Soumaila Cisse signed the protocol agreement for their respective institutions, in the presence of the Secretary-General, Mr. Modibo Touré, who certified the document.

The project was approved in July by the Board of Directors of the African Development Fund (ADF), the concessional window of the AfDB Group.

Speaking at the ceremony, Mrs. El Bakri said the project comes at a time when universities in sub-Sahara Francophone countries, especially the WAEMU zone, are faced with multiple problems that have affected the quality of higher education when there is a compelling need to train competent human resources to help fight poverty.

This situation, she said, "explains why the Bank has established a division in charge of tertiary education in science and professional fields as well as the Bank’s intervention strategy in higher education which is being formulated in order to support this sub-sector in a significant way," she emphasized.

Mrs. El-Bakri said the Bank attaches great importance to the results of its interventions on the ground, urging the WAEMU to support the governments and other concerned stakeholders to ensure that the project takes off effectively and the realization of its objectives on schedule.

The WAEMU President was received by President Donald Kaberuka with whom he discussed cooperation between the two institutions. Mr. Cissé commended the AfDB Group’s constant support to the organization,  urging the Bank to extend its support to other sectors such as infrastructure, poverty reduction and good governance.

The ADF Grant will be used to finance reform programmes and harmonize higher Education Systems in WAEMU countries as well as provide support to academic research. A large proportion of resources will be used to strengthen the capacity of teachers and researchers, integrate information and communication technologies in teaching methods, and adopt efficient management practices. It will also help train about 2,000 teachers and researchers and 500 administrative and support staff.

The total cost of the project stands at UA 23.20 million, equivalent to US$ 34.53 million.

The WAEMU was created on January 10, 1994. It comprises eight countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo.

To date the Bank Group’s cumulative commitment in WAEMU stands at UA 137.66 Millions for 6 projects.

-  1 UA =  1.48852 US$ = 759,788 FCFA  on 6/09/2006

External Relations and Communication Unit– Tel.: +216 71 10 29 16 – Fax: +216 71 10 37 52 – E-mail: comuadb@afdb.org


Felix Njoku Phone: +216 71 10 26 12