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Meeting between H.E. Prof. Mohammed Belhocine and H.E Mamadú JAO in Abuja, Nigeria

|   PAU

The African Union Commissioner for Education, Science, Technology and Innovation (ESTI), H.E. Prof. Mohammed Belhocine, visited the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commissioner for Education, Science and Culture, H.E. Mamadú Jao. The meeting took place in Abuja, Nigeria, at the ECOWAS Headquarters on 7 April 2022.

Professor Belhocine was on a working visit to Nigeria. He briefed his host on the purpose of his visit to Nigeria which aimed to review the functioning of the Pan African University of Life and Earth Sciences including Health and Agriculture (PAULESI) Institute, but also to discuss with government officials and Regional Economic Communities (RECs) on issues within his portfolio, with a view to strengthening cooperative ties for the attainment of the objectives set out in the African Union's Agenda 2063.

To this end, the Commissioner for ESTI said: "We are an arm of the same will", to express the shared commitment of ECOWAS and AU to advance the African agenda, particularly in the area of education. He also recalled the role of RECs, stressing in passing that just like the African Union (AU), they have no territory, and therefore derive their legitimacy from the will and trust of Member States.

He also presented the Pan African University (PAU), its thematic institutes and their location, as well as the number of students trained to date. He emphasized the pan-African dimension of the University, stressing the key criterion of maximum country representation in the University.

 The Commissioner expressed the wish that the funding of PAU be made sustainable and that the number of scholarships awarded to African students be increased.

He also briefly presented the mandate of the International Centre for the Education of Girls and Women in Africa (CIEFFA), based in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, which is to coordinate the promotion of girls' and women's education in Africa, with a view to achieving their economic, social and cultural empowerment.

He concluded his remarks by wishing to see the collaboration between ECOWAS and AU strengthened. To this end, he said: "If we want tangible results on the Continent, we must work in synergy to achieve the effective implementation of Agenda 2063: A prosperous Africa based on inclusive growth and sustainable development”.

Taking the floor in his turn, Commissioner Mamadú Jao stressed that AU and ECOWAS share almost the same concerns.

He outlined the flagship programmes of his Department, laying particular emphasis on the harmonization of education systems. He actually said that ECOWAS is mobilizing through the implementation of the Regional Programme on Education. To this end, it disseminates programmes on the recognition and equivalence of certificates as well as the harmonization of education systems in the regional area.

He then discussed the ECOWAS Academic Mobility Programme, which aims at improving access to education in areas of strategic importance to the region as well as teacher mobility, and the student scholarship programme granted by the Spanish government.

Recalling that education was one of his priority programmes, he underscored the need to work closely with AU, particularly in the area of capacity building, and laid particular emphasis on the promotion and valorization of Science and Technology, Innovation (STI) and research within ECOWAS.

In the area of Culture, he said ECOWAS is working hard with Member States for the return of cultural property to their countries of origin. To this end, awareness campaigns, he said, are being conducted to strengthen the legal framework for the return of African cultural property to their countries of origin.

Addressing the difficulties encountered, he mentioned financial and human resource challenges. He said he was open to a stronger collaboration with the AU for more impact on the ground. In this context, he revealed that an ECOWAS working mission will visit Addis Ababa in the coming days.

The two Commissioners agreed to continue the dialogue and explore ways of concrete collaboration in areas of common interest.

For further information please contact:

  1. Mrs. Esther Azaa Tankou | Head of Information Division | Information and Communication Directorate, African Union Commission | Mobile: +251911361185 | E-mail:
  2. Ms. Claudette Chancelle BILAMPASSI MOUTSATSI| ESTI Department, African Union Commission | Tel: +251 115 517 700 | 
  3. Mr. Gamal Eldin Ahmed A. Karrar | Senior Communication Officer | Information and Communications Directorate |


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