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Makerere to establish two Centers of Excellence: The project will fetch US $ 12 million funded by the International Development Association (IDA) of the World Bank Group

Makerere University is to establish two centers of excellence (ACEs) under the ACE II World Bank Project. One centre will be in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) and the second at the College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology (CEDAT).


These ACEs are (i) Makerere University (Centre of materials, product development and nanotechnology (MAPRANO) and (ii) Makerere University Regional Centre for Crop Improvement (MaRCCI).

The two projects are being spearheaded by Dr. Richard Edema as PI MaRCCI and Prof. John Baptist Kirabira (PI MAPPRANO). 

The overall regional project cost is estimated at US$148 million. IDA will avail US$24 million to Uganda; US$24 million for Tanzania; US$24 million for Ethiopia; US$20 million for Rwanda; US$18 million for Kenya; US$12 million for Malawi; US$6 million for Mozambique; US$12 million for Zambia; and a US$8 million IDA grant for Inter-University Council of East Africa (IUCEA).

The proposed scope of the project will cover: Component 1: Strengthening Africa Centers of Excellence (ACEs) in Regional Priority Areas (US$ 24 million); Component 2: Capacity Building Support to ACEs through Regional Interventions (US$ 3 million); and Component 3: Facilitation, Coordination and Administration of Project Implementation (US$ 5 million). Uganda will only implement component 1 of the project.

The total grant to Makerere University is US $ 12Million.Two other centers have been granted for Uganda; Mbarara University of Science and Technology - Pharm-Biotechnology and Traditional Medicine Centre and Uganda Martyrs University - African Center for Agro-Ecology and Livelihoods Systems.

Principal Investigator, MaRCCI, Dr. Richard Edema said the ACEs will be funded as a loan/credit to Government of the Republic of Uganda.

“The overall objective is to support the government to strengthen selected Institutions of Higher Education in Uganda to deliver quality post-graduate education and build collaborative research capacity in the regional priority areas. A regional facilitation unit has been set up at the Inter-University Council of East Africa (IUCEA) in Uganda for this purpose”, Dr. Edema said.


Expected outputs of the Makerere University Regional Center for Crop Improvement (MaRCCI) according to Dr. Edema include:

-          Approved USD 6 Million

-          Train about 70 graduate students in PhD (Plant Breeding and Biotechnology) and M.Sc. (Plant Breeding and Seed Systems).

-          Revise & improve curriculum and delivery - elements of e-curriculum

-          Develop short courses to serve industry

-          Improve efficiency & management of ACE program (Administrative Assistance, Postdoctoral scientist attached to MaRCCI)

-          Improve Infrastructure –students accommodation, office, classroom at Makerere University Agricultural Research Institute at Kabanyolo (MUARIK)

-          Seek International accreditation

-          Improve and support a Research program in breeding at MUARIK

-          Improve capacity of teaching staff

-          Serve as a catalyst for attracting other grant resources to Makerere University

-          Develop linkage of Industry for output

-          Strengthen collaboration in research and training with Regional as well as International partners. Namely

  • Iowa State University (USA),
  • North Caroline State University (USA),
  • Regional University (Universities of Zambia and Juba);
  • Rwanda Agricultural Board (RAB),
  • National Agricultural Research Institute in DR-Congo (INERA),
  • National Agricultural Research Organization in Uganda (Namulonge (NaCRRI)& Serere(NaSARRI)
  • and The World Vegetable Center –Arusha Tanzania (AVRDC)
  • NASECO (Uganda) and Seed Co Seed (Zimbabwe) companies

Expected outputs of the Makerere University (Centre of materials, product development and nanotechnology (MAPRANO) include:

  • Approved funding US $ 6 million
  • successfully trained over 12 PhDs and 68 Masters Students
  • Curriculum review for the Dept of Mechanical Engineering to integrate current trends requirements
  • develop two new Master’s curricula, review two undergraduate programs
  • develop short courses (Nano technology and Nanomedicine)
  • Publish over 78 peer reviewed research publications in high impact journals
  • increased joint submission for research funding; 
  • attract over 250,000 USD in 2020;
  • develop new collaboration networks regionally and internationally
  • Develop a fully functional material, product development and nanotechnology lab.
  • Product development for manufacturing and industrial development including medical diagnostics and nanomedicine
  • strengthen research excellence
  • strengthen teaching quality  


ACEs MUST be established in hosting Universities as semi-autonomous with the University Units centers able to operate with efficiency. Therefore, University approval required as a matter of urgency.



No Item considered Progress made so far Status

Cause the creation of TWO centers at Makerere University


Principals of CAES and CEDAT need to initiate procedures to this effect

Vice Chancellor and Senate to take action


Sign a Funding and Performance Agreement (FPA)


Drafts are being scrutinized by the University Legal Office ready for Vice Chancellor’s action PENDING
3. Seek approval for a detailed Implementation Plan Drafts produced by MaRCCI and MAPRANO are under review by IUCEA/World Bank ALMOST DONE
4. Participate in a National Steering Committee involving VCs of participating Universities in Uganda, Ministries of Finance, Planning and Economic Development; and Education and Sports Commissioner of Higher Education is attending to this. BUT needs follow up PENDING
5 Seek Cabinet approval of loan/credit

Ministry of Finance has draft key documents and issue is at Cabinet for discussions.

Dr. Edema Richard of CAES was invited to attend first Cabinet meeting involving this Wednesday 20th at President’s Office. Due to time this agendum has been deferred to next Cabinet meeting next Wednesday

6 Seek Parliamentary approval of loan Once Cabinet approves, a select parliamentary will also need to indicated ‘No-objection’ to this agendum PENDING
7 Hire Project Personnel as recommended by the World Bank Evaluation Team – Project Manager and Project Accountants Principal CAES and CEDAT and Project Leadership PENDING
8 Formally launch this project at Makerere University

World Bank/IUCEA tentative schedule to launch the Regional program in September (exact date not mentioned

VC, Makerere University Management and CAES and CEDAT to arrange a local University launch



Financing Terms of IDA for this project in Uganda:

The IDA credit facility will have the following terms;

-          Loan Amount: US$ 24 Million

-          Maturity Period: 38 years including grace period of six years.

-          Commitment Charge: 0.5% on un-withdrawn Credit Balance.  

-          Service Charge: 0.75% on withdrawn and outstanding Credit Balance.


Conditions of Effectiveness: 

  1.   Issuance of a Legal opinion of the Attorney General of Uganda on the legal validity of the loan documentation to the bank.
  2.   The Performance and Funding Agreements have been executed on behalf of government and the Eastern and Southern African Higher Education Institutions.
  3.   The National Steering Committee has been created by the government.


Debt Position: 

The Loan and the Current Debt Situation of the Country: The loan will no doubt increase our total nominal public debt that is currently at US$ 8.1 billion as at the end of March 2016. Out of this total external debt (disbursed and outstanding) was US$ 5.0 million of the total debt while domestic debt was US$ 3.1 billion. The last DSA was under taken in December 2015 to assess the Country’s ability to service its current and future debt.

The DSA review revealed that in both the medium and long-term, Uganda’s Public and Publically Guaranteed (PPG) External and Domestic Debt is sustainable and is under no debt distress when subjected to stress tests, with the Present value (PV) of Public Debt-to-GDP ratio of 24.1 per cent as of end June 2015. This is relatively below the Public Debt Management Framework threshold of 50 per cent.

The DSA 2015 results show that both the solvency and liquidity ratios all fall below their indicative thresholds throughout the projection period. While the PV of external public and publicly guaranteed (PPG) debt to GDP doubles from 10.7% in 2014/15 to a peak of 23.2% in 2019/20, this indicator is well below the Public Debt Management Framework threshold of 30%. The PV of external public and publicly guaranteed (PPG) debt to GDP reduces to 5.5% at the end of the projection period. The PV of public debt to GDP increases from 24.1% in 2014/15 to peak at 33.9% in 2018/19 and 2019/20 but still remaining below the Public Debt Management Framework and the EAC convergence thresholds of 50%. The increase is driven by the PV of external debt to GDP which doubles between 2018/19 and 2019/20 while the PV of domestic debt to GDP was at its highest in 2014/15 and declines throughout the medium term.

Contact us

Office of the Principal

College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences - Makerere University

P.O.Box, 7062, Kampala, Uganda

Tel: +256-414-542277

Email: principal@caes.mak.ac.ug