Advisory panel debates obstacles to public sector performance in Africa
LAGOS, Nigeria, September 26, 2016/ — The Africa Initiative for Governance (“AIG”) has today issued a call for applications for its 2017 scholarships for a Masters Degree in Public Policy at the renowned Blavatnik School of Government, the UK’s first school of Government, at the University of Oxford. The call was issued by the AIG Chairman and Founder, Mr. Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, and Founding Directors, Mrs. Ofovwe Aig-Imoukhuede, Mr. Herbert Wigwe and Dr. Jeya Wilson, ahead of the inaugural meeting of the Initiative’s Panel of Advisors in Lagos, Nigeria. From 2017, the AIG will fund five scholarships each year as part of a new five-year partnership which is based on the shared purpose of building good governance and public leadership.
The AIG is a Foundation established in recognition of the fact that Africa’s poor record of public sector governance is a critical factor preventing the continent from achieving its true potential. The initiative brings together proven private sector innovation, leadership and funding into a private-public partnership to attract, inspire and support future leaders of Africa’s public sector. The AIG believes that the high-calibre individuals trained at the Blavatnik School will drive best practice standards of governance across Africa, ensuring sustainable economic growth and social justice.
The AIG Scholarships will have an initial focus on candidates from Nigeria and Ghana, allowing the students to study for a Master of Public Policy (MPP) alongside classmates from across the globe. The scholarships will be available to those who can demonstrate academic excellence, proven leadership and commitment to public service and who intend to return to the public sector in Africa after completing their studies.
Along with the scholarship scheme will be an academic fellowship scheme. The AIG Visiting Fellowship will also be available from 2017, open to candidates who can demonstrate an outstanding contribution to public policy that has yielded meaningful impact on the public good, and commitment to public service in their country, region and globally. The Fellowship is open to senior officials or practitioners working in or with government and who are resident in West Africa.
Mr. Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, Chairman of the Africa Initiative for Governance, said: “The AIG Scholarship and Fellowship initiatives are scalable interventions aimed at tackling Africa’s intractable challenge of poor public sector leadership. I am confident that our partnership with Oxford University’s prestigious Blavatnik School will become fertile ground for growing future statesmen and women who will change the African continent for good. I encourage anyone who believes that they fit the profile for these scholarships and fellowships to apply.”
Professor Ngaire Woods, Dean of the Blavatnik School of Government, said: “We are deeply grateful to the Africa Initiative for Governance for partnering with us. The Blavatnik School of Government shares with the AIG a clear purpose – to transform government through effective leadership and better governance. The shared programme will enable excellent West African scholars, from all backgrounds, to study for an MPP and will also bring senior practitioners from the region to the School as AIG Visiting Fellows – providing opportunities to help drive transformational public sector leadership across the African continent.”
The AIG Panel of Advisors is made up of eminent personalities selected from across West Africa and will act as the selection panel for the award of scholarships and fellowships, as well as mentors to successful applicants. The Panel will also meet regularly to debate the challenges that Africa’s public sector faces and to conceive and propose solutions with long term impact. The panel is made up of:
- His Excellency, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
- Dr. Enase Okonedo, Dean of the Lagos Business School
- Alhaji Abubakar B. Mahmoud (SAN), Managing Partner, Dikko and Mahmoud
- Mr. Ernest Chukwudi Ebi, MFR
- Mr. Segun Adeniyi
- Mrs. Yemisi Ayeni
- Mr. Ken Ofori-Atta, Co-Founder and Executive Chairman of Databank, Ghana
As part of a 5-year partnership with the Africa Initiative for Governance, from 2017, five fully-funded scholarships (covering tuition fee and living expenses) will be awarded to students who meet the Master of Public Policy selection criteria (academic excellence, strong commitment to public service, demonstrable leadership). Applicants must be resident in Ghana and Nigeria. For academic years 2020-21 and 2021-22, or if there are insufficient applications from Nigeria and Ghana in academic years 2017-18 to 2019-20 other West African nations will be considered. These include: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo. Other countries with the agreement of the Benefactor.
Founded at the University of Oxford in 2010, the Blavatnik School of Government exists to inspire and support better government and public policy around the world. We teach current and future public leaders through innovative programmes, conduct deep research into pressing issues facing policy makers around the world, and convene leaders and experts to foster better public policy. With a strong global outlook, we combine insights from a range of academic disciplines and derive lessons from the public, private and third sectors. The school was made possible through a £75 million donation to the the University of Oxford by American philanthropist Leonard Blavatnik.
Africa’s poor record of public sector governance is a factor that currently prevents the Continent from achieving its true potential.
AIG’s pioneering initiative brings proven private sector innovation, leadership and funding in a private-public partnership to attract, inspire and support future leaders of Africa’s public sector. With AIG’s continuing support, high-calibre individuals will be able to drive best practice standards of governance in Africa, ensuring sustainable economic growth and social justice.