By Favour Nnabugwu
The European Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has launched a post graduate scholarship programme on sustainable energy for West African citizens
The Head of Cooperation, EU Delegation to Nigeria and the ECOWAS, Cecile Tassin-Pelzer during the launching in Abuja, said the scholarship is aimed at building the capacity of young professionals in the West African energy sector and part of efforts to ensure access to clean, sustainable energy.
Tassin-Pelzer said that the EU is planning to allocate €600 million of grants funding in the sustainable energy sector in West Africa alone.
The selected Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) for the scholarship programme are; Obafemi Awolowo University (Nigeria), University of Ibadan (Nigeria), University of Nigeria Nsukka, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (Ghana), Ecole Polytechnique de Thies (Senegal), Universite Cheikh Anta Diop (Senegal), and Institut National Polytechnique Felix Houphouet-Boigny (Ivory Coast), Ecole Nationale Superieure d’Ingenieurs Universite de Lome (Togo), and Universidade de Cabo Verde (Cape Verde)
“In the framework of the new multiannual Indicative Programme 2021-2027 of the EU for Sub-Saharan Africa, we are planning to allocate 600 million euros of grants funding in the sustainable energy sector in West Africa alone,” she said.
“As demonstrated by this programme, the EU is also available to support the human capital development accompanying this transition, by contributing to the capacity strengthening of higher education institutions in West Africa, in the sustainable energy sector, through scholarships,” Tassin-Pelzer added.
The British Council has been appointed as the implementing partner for the scholarship. Speaking on this development, Lucy Pearson, Country Director, British Council Nigeria and West Africa Cluster Lead said, “The British Council will leverage our extensive experience in scholarship management and Higher Education institution partnerships across Sub-Saharan Africa 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,” Pearson added.
Alex Lamber, Country Director, British Council Senegal and senior responsible officer for the scholarship programme, said nine higher education institutions were selected, taking into cognisance course curriculum, infrastructure and ability to receive foreign students.
Lamber explained that the opportunity is open to all the citizens who have a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, energy and environment (including renewable energy and energy efficiency), law, economics, finance and planning, adding that special consideration will be given to female applicants.
Dabire Bayaornibe, director of Energy and Mines, ECOWAS Commission, also noted that the supply of sustainable energy, which is available and accessible to all, is critical to the development of the West African region.
“To this end, we must attract the best skills in the energy sector to contribute to the achievement of this objective,” he said.
Applications to universities in Nigeria, Senegal, and Cape Verde are open until November 29, 2022, at 18.00 West African Time.