Bonn, April 2018. The West African Center for Sustainable Transformation (WAC-SRT) is one of eight Centers of African Excellence funded by the German Academic Exchange Service DAAD under the “Aktion Afrika” initiative of the German Federal Foreign Office.

What is the WAC-SRT and what does it want to achieve?

Established in 2017, WAC-SRT has been developing interdisciplinary, transnational research and teaching programs. The Center aims at generating expertise, applicable technological solutions, locally adapted business models and development management approaches for sustainable rural development and political stability in West Africa.  To do so, the center enhances research and teaching capacities as well as the infrastructure of three African partner faculties at universities in Niger and Ghana, which are addressing natural science/engineering, agribusiness and rural economics, as well as development governance, respectively.

Partner institutions are the Center for Development Research (ZEF) at the University Bonn, Germany, the Institute for Statistical Social and Economic Research (ISSER) at the University of Ghana /Legon, the Faculty of Planning and Land Management as well as the Faculty of Agribusiness and Communication Science at the University of Development Studies (UDS) in Wa/Tamale (Ghana), and the Faculty of Science and Technology at the Université Abdou Moumouni (UAM) in Niamey (Niger).

Activities since kick-off:

Since its inception the WAC-SRT has focused on the enhancement of academic infrastructure at the partner faculties in Ghana and Niger where lecture halls and project offices were rehabilitated and newly furnished. Additionally, computer labs and E-learning equipment was procured and installed.

Nearby Niamey, the WAC-SRT has built a demonstration site for renewable energy generation and improved water supply. It consists of a photovoltaic power station and is equipped with a borehole including pumps for domestic and irrigation water supplies. The station will be used for research purposes and to train government and NGO staff promoting decentralized renewable energy generation and water supply infrastructure.

In Ghana, the curricula of two master programs at UDS (M.Phil. in Development Management and M.Phil. in Agricultural Economics) were reviewed. In Niger, a new interdisciplinary master program in Sustainable Rural Transformation was designed and accredited at the UAM. Calls for admission for all three master programs have been published and 18 students will be supported with DAAD scholarships from September 2018.

Currently, WAC-SRT is organizing capacity building programs for administrative and academic staff of the African partner institutes. The trainings are organized by ISSER and are held in Accra. The focus lies on data management and E-Learning for administrative staff, while academics will be trained in academic writing as well as poverty measurement and analysis.

Vice Dean visiting Bonn:

As part of the academic networking within WAC-SRT, Samuel Bonye, the vice dean of the Faculty of Planning and Land Management (UDS), is visiting ZEF from April to June 2018. During his visit he makes use of ZEF’s academic infrastructure to work on his study of “Multi Stakeholder Players in the Land Sector in Peri-Urban Wa; competition, conflict complementarity?”, that he will present and discuss with colleagues at ZEF in May.

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