A steering committee will be formed to oversee implementation of the ‘AFRICAE France-Tanzania: Higher Education and Research Partnership’ project, according to the French ambassador to Tanzania, Frédéric Clavier.
He said the committee will include high-level government officials and representatives from universities and research institutes in both Tanzania and France.
Clavier explained that under the program, the plan is to double the number of Tanzanian students pursuing science studies in France and vice-versa from next year. Currently there are 50 Tanzanian students in various universities in France.
“Our aim is to enhance Tanzania’s academic research capacity. There is no language barrier; learning sessions will be conducted in English,” he said.
Clavier elaborated that the project’s key objective is to strengthen capacities in the fields of higher education and research over the next two years. Among institutions already earmarked to enjoy the fruits of the project are the State University of Zanzibar (SUZA), Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA), and University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM).
Information centres will be opened at each of the universities by the end of the year to enable graduates to acquire relevant information about the project. The costs of establishing the centres will amount to 30,000 euros, equivalent to 79 million/-, he further explained.
The director of higher education in the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Prof Adam Mwakalobo, said the project has come at the right time as Tanzania strives to achieve its poverty reduction goals and attain middle-income economy by 2025.
Tanzania Academy of Sciences president Prof Yunus Mgaya disclosed plans to convene a youth sensitization conference on “the importance of science.”
A representative of the French Institute of Research for Sustainable Development (IRD), David Williamson, said they have been working with the Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology (COSTECH), SUA and SUZA since 2001 on research aimed at improving understanding of animal and plant diseases vis-a-vis climate change.
It is hoped that the research findings will help to enhance tsetse flies and trypanosomiasis pests control.
Marie Aude Fouere from the French Institute of Research in Africa (IFRA) said their aim is to strengthen institutional relationships between French and East African universities and research centres through facilitation of inter-academic exchanges.
Tanzania and France have since 2015 been organizing regular events to develop a systematic cooperation which includes the establishment of an alumni network consisting of 80 graduates of the French and Tanzanian higher education systems.