A consortium of international partners has signed an historic deal which will usher in a new era in UK-Africa relations and boost education, skills development and recruitment opportunities for students at the University of East London (UEL), and the people of Ghana.
The memorandum of understanding was signed during the conferral of an honorary doctorate by UEL to His Majesty Otumfuo Nana Osei Tutu II, King of the Ashanti, Ghana, in recognition of his services to education.
The agreement sets out an ambitious ‘Western Africa Access Corridor’ springing from Ghana, which enhances education and trade. The proposals were announced during the event held in London’s financial district at Canary Wharf.
A massive programme of works will connect the major Ghanaian towns and cities with land and sea trading ports, enabling Ghana to connect both internally and externally, quickly and efficiently. The centre-piece of the programme will feature a new international airport in Kumasi, southern Ghana, catering for passenger operations, cargo activity, aircraft maintenance and a state of the art aviation skills academy.
The memorandum of understanding was made possible thanks to the King’s Investment Trust, AIT, Mace, an international construction and consultancy firm, the University of East London, His Majesty, King Osei Tutu Institute of Applied Sciences, Kumasi, and Youth Charter which is an accredited United Nations organisation.
Head of Aviation Consultancy at Mace Global, Carl Dainter said, “I would like to congratulate His Majesty Otumfuo Osei Tutu II on being awarded an honorary doctorate of education from UEL. Mace is very proud to be working with His Majesty and the Ashanti region and I am honoured to attend today’s ceremony.
“By supporting the education of young people from Ghana in engineering, construction and project management in the UK, our new agreement will mean that Mace and UEL will help to support the growth of key skills in Ghana, as well as ensuring the delivery of world-class infrastructure and sustainable long-term economic growth.”
Mace, which has extensive experience delivering airport projects across Europe, the Middle East, India, and Africa, will offer UEL students from Ghana industry placements and education, skills development and recruitment opportunities.
UEL’s chair of the Board of Governors and founder and executive chair of Youth Charter, Geoff Thompson said, “This is a momentous occasion for all involved, and sets a new standard for what universities, industry, and the third sector can do to shape the future for young people. Today is about what we can do to inspire our students, and the people of Ghana, who dare to dream and confound expectations.
“It is also prescient that as British Prime Minister, Theresa May, visited Africa last week, we’re finding practical ways to partner with one of the countries considered a role model in that continent. In that sense, I’m urging the prime minister to invest more in universities like ours to unlock the true potential which exists in higher education.”
The new airport will sit within the kingdom of His Majesty Otumfuo Nana Osei Tutu II, King of the Ashanti.
His Majesty said, “It is an honour to receive the doctorate from UEL today. Education is an enduring priority for me and the people of Ghana, so I wish to thank the University for this recognition.
“The opportunities which will be created by this partnership, for young people in the Ashanti region, Ghana, and Britain are very important, and I am delighted to be able to fully support them.
“A new international airport is also a vital addition to our national infrastructure, and will greatly help move the Ashanti region, Ghana, and West Africa forward for the benefit of all.”
The partners will drive this innovative project forward over the coming decade.
Professor Amanda Broderick, UEL’s vice-chancellor designate said, “I am delighted that as I commence leadership of one of the most diverse and vibrant educational institutions in London, we are embarking on this pioneering partnership to widen access to industry-facing education in the UK and Ghana; provide unique opportunities to learners in both countries; build business; and, connect communities.
“We are delighted to honour His Majesty in recognition of the significant contribution he has made in the development and advocacy of the power of education. Today demonstrates how we continue to focus on the talent of the future. This is widening participation, social mobility and the development of skills solutions on a global scale.”