Postgraduate Studies: European Union, ECOWAS Earmark €1.9m Scholarship for Students in West Africa

Postgraduate Studies: European Union, ECOWAS Earmark €1.9m Scholarship for Students in West Africa
Postgraduate Studies: European Union, ECOWAS Earmark €1.9m Scholarship for Students in West Africa

For post-graduate studies, the European Union (EU), in partnership with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), has launched a €1.9m scholarship programme to build the capacity of young professionals in the West African energy sector.

Explanation by the EU is that the programme was part of efforts to ensure sustainable access for the people of West Africa to clean energy and electricity.

The Head of Cooperation, European Union in a release read by the Delegation to Nigeria and West Africa, Cecile Tassin-Pelzer, during a press conference on Tuesday in Abuja, said on behalf of the European Union that it was offering fully funded Masters’ degrees. This scholarship study offer is said to be in a variety of sustainable energy courses at nine specialised universities across six countries in West Africa for the benefit of highly talented students from ECOWAS member states who are building a career in the energy sector.

Enumerating, the nine Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) were said to include: Obafemi Awolowo University (Nigeria), University of Ibadan (Nigeria), University of Nigeria Nsukka, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (Ghana), Ecole Polytechnique de Thiès (Senegal), Universite Cheikh Anta Diop (Senegal), and Institut National Polytechnique Félix Houphouët-Boigny (Ivory Coast), Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Ingénieurs Université de Lomé (Togo), and Universidade de Cabo Verde (Cape Verde).

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In the meantime, the British Council has been appointed as the implementing partner for the scholarship.

It was also explained that about 75 students from West Africa are expected to participate in the programme that will last for two years, with a six month internship.

Tassin-Pelza noted that these higher institutions are renowned for their high-quality curriculum in the fields of renewable energy and energy efficiency.

She pointed out further that, “The opportunity is open to all the citizens of ECOWAS and Mauritania 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. Applicants may apply to any of the nine institutions in any of the six countries and special consideration will be given to female applicants.

Again, she said, “During their studies, the selected scholars will conduct relevant research and be equipped with high-level technical skills required to function as specialists and disrupt the energy sector. An internship opportunity spanning a period of three to six months will also be granted to the scholars in an energy company in Africa, Eurozone or the United Kingdom. The scholars will also have access to a mentoring and alumni platform to offer them continued support post-programme.”

Also, according to Tassin-Pelzer, “Human capital development is the means and Green Energy Transition the goal. The EU joins forces with ECOWAS to pursue their common aspiration. This is the aim of this Scholarships Programme.”

She said, “The innovative component of this programme remains with the mentorship plan to further broaden their skills for the sector.

Accordingly, “This scholarship program has an important role to play towards the improvement of regional governance of the energy sector in West Africa. We are proud to have contributed to the energy governance in West Africa through the AGoSE programme and welcome the recent steps taking forward the validation of the Regional Energy Policy and the Regional Electricity Code of West Africa.”

In his response, the Director of Energy and Mines, ECOWAS Commission, Dabire Bayaornibè, 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.”

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While also speaking during the press conference, Country Director, British Council Nigeria and West Africa Cluster Lead, Lucy Pearson said: “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.

She added: “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.”

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