The European Union has inaugurated a €1.9 million scholarship programme on sustainable energy for post-graduate students from West African countries and Mauritania.
Ms Cecile Tassin-Pelzer, Head of Cooperation ,European Union Delegation to Nigeria and the ECOWAS, at the inauguration said the programme, which was in collaboration with ECOWAS was being implemented by the British Council.
Tassin-Pelzer said it was part of efforts to ensure that people from the region had access to clean and sustainable energy.
She said efforts were underway in West Africa to share the objectives and benefits of transition to green energy.
“During the African Union-European Summit earlier this year we launched the Africa Global Gateway investment package.
“It brings 150 euros billion in investment to Africa to consolidate existing investments and to launch new ones.
“In the framework of the new multi annual 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.
“As demonstrated by this programme, the EU is also available to support the human capital development accompanying this transition”, she said.
According to her this will be achieved by contributing to strengthening the capacity of higher education institutions in West Africa on sustainable energy sector through scholarships.
“This €1.9 million programme is implemented by the British Council in close collaboration with ECOWAS Commission.
“It aims at facilitating increased access by students from ECOWAS member states and Mauritania to selected West African institutions that provide high quality curricular in renewable energy,” she said.
Tassin-Pelzer said the innovative component of the programme was the mentorship plan to further broaden beneficiaries’ skills in the sector.
She also said the programme was important in improving regional management of the energy sector in West Africa.
Mr Alex Lambert, Director British Council, said the EU scholarship was a fully-funded Masters degree programme in a variety of sustainable energy courses at nine specialised universities in six West Africa countries.
Lambert said nine higher education institutions were selected taking into cognisance course curriculum, infrastructure, and ability to receive foreign students among others.
He said the higher institutions are renowned for their high-quality curriculum in the fields of renewable energy and energy efficiency.
He listed the institutions to include: Obafemi Awolowov University, Nigeria, University of Ibadan ,Nigeria, University of Nigeria Nsukka, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology ,Ghana, and Ecole Polytechnique de Thies Senegal.
Others are : Universite Cheikh Anta Diop ,Senegal, Institut National Polytechnique Felix Houphouet-Boigny, Cote D’Ivoire, , Ecole Nationale Superieure d’Ingenieurs Universite de Lome ,Togo ,an ld Universidade de Cabo Verde ,Cape Verde,.
“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, 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,” he said.
Lambert said that 75 applicants would be selected with special attention paid to female applicants.
Mr Sediko Douka, Commissioner, Infrastructure, Energy and Digitalisation, ECOWAS Commission commended the EU and the Bristish Council for helping the region in sustainable energy development .
Douka he said the move would be of immense help to the region and appealed to the implementing partner to fair to all applicants in the selection process.
Ms Lucy Pearson, Country Director, British Council Nigeria and West Africa Cluster said the Council would leverage its experience in scholarship management and higher education institution partnerships across Sub-Saharan African in managing the scholarship. “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”, she said.