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The World Bank’s Board has approved a grant of US$10 million to improve existing training facilities and house more students at the International Institute of Water and Environmental Engineering (2iE) in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.
As many as 2,500 students will now be enrolled at 2iE by 2015, up from just 650 in 2009. The institute serves as a regional “center of excellence” for students from 36 countries, helping to meet Africa’s need for more engineers in water, energy, environment, and infrastructure. .Notably, 93 percent of new 2iE graduates are employed within six months, showing that their skills are highly in demand and closely matched to market needs.
The World Bank, which supports greater competitiveness and employment in African economies, is helping 2iE to become financially self-supporting by expanding its facilities and attracting more students from countries outside Francophone Africa.
“Regional centers of excellence such as 2iE will help to close a critical gap as Africa seeks skilled professionals to drive innovation and productivity in its diversifying economies,” said Madani M. Tall, World Bank’s Country Director for Burkina Faso. “Equipping young people with cutting-edge skills has far-reaching consequences for employment, entrepreneurship, and prosperity on the continent.”
The institute prioritizes some of Africa’s most pressing needs—food security, climate change, affordable energy and urban development—with a focus on sustainable economic development. This year, 2iE students won an entrepreneurship award from the University of California at Berkeley for “FasoProt”, a cheap, highly nutritious powder made from local produce that can address malnutrition and rural poverty.
With support from the World Bank and several other development partners, 2iE has established itself in just four years as a higher education and research institute that produces world-class engineers, 20 percent of whom are women. Thirteen of its Masters programs already meet international quality standards set by the French Engineering Title Commission (CTI).