Fifteen years after the launch of the African Excellence (AE) initiative funded by the German Federal Foreign Office and four years after the centres’ last meeting – interrupted by the COVID pandemic – another AE network meeting was held in Accra, Ghana. A total of around 50 people from all over sub-Saharan Africa came together, including five Pro-RUWA project leaders and coordinators, to share the centres’ activities and highlight the wide thematic diversity that lends itself to future cooperation and synergies.

What is new, what are the current issues and thoughts? Six African Centres of Excellence are coming to an end by the end of 2023, leaving six centres. A call for applications for a new centre on food security in southern Africa will be launched by the end of this year. We are all looking forward to this call, but we also see other calls from the DAAD that might be targeted by AE centres and joint consortia. The centres’ sustainability, foremost the financial side, was certainly another benchmarking topic – and it’s feasible as one centre demonstrated. We are more than happy that DIGI-FACE will continue, with more features and more active participation and involvement – we all hope that this great platform among the four DAAD-funded e-lerning/-teaching platforms will be maintained even after the extension period.

Pro-RUWA was particularly pleased to be considered as a best practice example of e-learning and e-teaching progress and activities on the DIGI-FACE platform, which also shows the importance of well-funded and continuous staff support. However, training and the gradual transfer of responsibilities is the key to building sustainable and lasting structures and know-how in this realm.

We thank the DAAD for the opportunity to spend time with this comparatively large number of people from Pro-RUWA for the first time and remain open to further cooperation with its AEs in Africa and beyond.

Pro-RUWA representatives at the networking meeting in Accra 2023, Sep 25-28, (l.-r.): M. Wiehle, D. J.-P. Lompo, Sandrine Houessou, Abdoul Aziz Dan Dano Inna Na, L. H. Dossa

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