Nigeria Gets EU Digital Education Grant

Na'ankwat Dariem, Abuja

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Nigeria and Africa are set to receive 37 million euros in support from the European Union (EU) to enhance digitalized education, research and innovation sectors.

The EU Ambassador to Nigeria, Mrs. Samuela Isopi, disclosed this at the 2024 (WACREN), conference in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, with the theme “Charting the Course: Forging Future-Ready Higher Education and Research Communities.

According to Ms Isopi, the EU is supporting Africa and some Arab nations with a budget of 37 million euros and is willing to assist the Nigerian education sector with digitalized education and research.

Represented by the Team Leader of the Human Development Delegation of the EU to Nigeria, Leila Mathie, the EU Ambassador to Nigeria, the EU will enable an Africa/Europe digital partnership.

“As the European Commission, we are committed to continuing to support the digital transformation of the education and research and innovation sectors in Africa and to increasing the capacity of research and education networks (RENs) to deliver to their member institutions. We will do this in full complementarity with other programmes on regulatory support and connectivity investments for a comprehensive Africa-Europe digital partnership.

“We aim at fostering our digital partnership with Africa by promoting access to high-quality, affordable and secure digital infrastructures, by supporting the set-up of policy frameworks, and by fostering digital skills and entrepreneurship. 

“One of our key objectives is to support the strengthening of research and education systems and to establish strong links between Europe and Africa in these sectors.” She stated

According to Isopi, since 2011, the European Union has been supporting through our Africa Connect projects the creation, consolidation, and interconnection of research and education networks in Africa and Arab countries, supporting and working closely with our regional partners WACREN, ASREN, Ubuntu Net Alliance, and our European partner GEANT.

“This project is currently at its third phase with a total budget of 37.5 million EUR Remarkable progress has been achieved, providing meaningful connectivity and services to over 1700 institutions and 4.5 million end-users.”

She also noted that, at the national level, the delegation of the EU to Nigeria is supporting the digital transformation of the country and its vibrant community of digital entrepreneurs, through various projects.

“We are also supporting education at all levels, as well as science and innovation and hope to help Nigerian academics, institutions and scientists better access our competitive global funds, such as Horizon Europe and Erasmus, for Nigeria to take its rightful position in international science and academia, fostering better and closer collaboration with European academic and research institutions.

The Nigerian Minister of Education, Prof. Tahir Mamman, said the development of Africa depends on the output of her research. “The growth and development of our continent depends largely on our research output.”

He underscored education as the cornerstone of development, upon which nations build their future.

“We also recognise the transformative power of education in shaping lives through innovation and fostering sustainable development.

“In our quest for national and regional development as well as global competitiveness, we must harness the power of research and education to propel the African continent forward.

“Whether it is in the fields of healthcare, technology, agriculture, or governance, the solutions to our most pressing issues lie in the innovative minds and scholarly endeavours of our researchers and educators.

“The present government is taking bold steps to support and establish skills and innovation hubs across the country in tertiary institutions. We are also on course to take skills to all levels of our educational system to nurture critical thinking and innovation.”

 

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