The Australia Awards Africa has announced the opening of opportunities to Africans who are aged 25 to 55 years to access postgraduate education and professional development training from some of the Australian universities, a statement discloses.
The programme is one of the platforms through which the Australian Government extends its developmental assistance to Africa.
According to information on the Australia Award Website, the objective of the awards is stemmed from the need for Africa – especially sub-Saharan Africa – to address various sectoral challenges which continue to limit socioeconomic growth and development.
Some of the major contributors to sustainable growth and development of the region as identified by the awards include skills shortages, poor enabling environments for business and governance, slow development of key infrastructure, food insecurity and low agricultural productivity, humanitarian crises, as well as gender and other inequalities.
“With the support of the Office of the Head of Service of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Australia Awards provides two types of scholarships to eligible Nigerians who are employed in both the private and public sectors in selected Universities in both Africa and Australia on short courses which last up to 3 months while others are admitted to exclusively study for Master’s degree in high ranking Universities in Australia,” reads the statement.
In addition, the programme will provide its alumni with Small Grants Scheme to execute various activities to engender socio-economic development.
The statement adds, “Under the scheme, group of alumni could apply for grant of maximum sum of AUS$10,000.00 to jointly execute a developmental project under the Alumni Development Groups’ development projects.
“Similarly, Australia Awards Alumni Association could access the grant for Alumni Associations’ Continued Professional Development (CPD) activities.”
“In 2018, some members of AAAN successfully applied and received a grant from Australia Awards-Africa Small Grant Scheme to implement a Project titled: “Cooperatives Development and formalisation of Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining (ASM) in Bauchi State.”
The project is expected to run from April 2019 to February 2020 on the challenges being faced by artisanal miners in formalizing their activities and the risks their activities posed to themselves and their host communities.
The project team is partnering with major industry stakeholders including the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Bauchi State Government, Miners’ Association of Nigeria and others to co-host a three-day programme which comprises of a two-day intensive training to be facilitated by the project team to address the identified knowledge and skills gaps amongst the mining artisans. It will also host a one-day ASM Stakeholder Forum which is aimed at creating an interface to link artisanal miners to regulatory agencies, financial institutions and other stakeholders in order to spur discussions on some of the critical ASM issues with a view to addressing them.