By Gift Wada
As part of efforts to ensure sustainable access for the people of West Africa to clean energy and electricity, the European Union (EU), in partnership with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), has launched a scholarship programme to build the capacity of young professionals in the West African energy sector.
The European Union is offering fully funded Masters’ degrees 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. The nine Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) include: 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).
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.
The British council in a press statement informed that applicants may apply to any of the nine institutions in any of the six countries and special consideration will be given to female applicants.
“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.” The commission explained.
According to a statement from Cecile Tassin-Pelzer, Head of Cooperation, European Union Delegation to Nigeria and West Africa, “Human capital development is the means and Green Energy Transition the goal. EU joins forces with ECOWAS to pursue their common aspiration. This is the aim of this Scholarships Programme.”
In the same vein, Dabire Bayaornibe, Director of Energy and Mines, ECOWAS Commission, 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.”
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 African 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”.