The EU is extending €60,000 to support scholarships for a master’s degree program in Regional Integration to be offered by Kenya’s Kenyatta University in collaboration with other higher learning institutions from member states.
“Kenyatta University was selected to host the program owing to its advanced e-Learning facilities”
Through the capacity building program of the Africa Caribbean and Pacific group known as TradeCom II, the grant will support the training of an initial group of 40 students, according to COMESA assistant secretary General Kipyego Cheluget.
The COMESA University of Regional Integration will operate as a virtual institution of higher learning initially offering a master’s in Regional Integration program aimed at helping improve and build integration within the trading bloc.
“Kenyatta University was selected to host the program owing to its advanced e-Learning facilities and will collaborate with 22 universities in other COMESA member states, which have been involved in the design of the project,” said Cheluget in a statement.
“The rationale for establishing the program is to build the capacity of member states to address the slow progress of regional integration in the COMESA region,” he added.
According to the official, it will target students intending to work as trade officers, trade policy analysts, advisers, researchers, trade attaches, and private sector trade practitioners among others.
The program, according to Samuel Muthoga chairman of the Department of Applied Economics at Kenyatta University, has received approval of the Commission of University Education in Kenya, setting the stage for its commencement early in 2020.
“The [master’s] program will be offered during the first semester of 2019-2020 academic year in collaboration with the School of Virtual and Open Learning of Kenyatta University. About 30 students have so far applied,” Muthoga noted.
The trading bloc had already signed a Memorandum of Understanding with four other universities to begin offering the program, according to COMESA senior research Fellow Benedict Musengele.
The institutions include the University of Mauritius, the Open University of Mauritius, l’Institut Supérieur de Gestion des Entreprise of Burundi, and the University of Zimbabwe.
Kenyatta University has advertised for students’ admission to the program beginning this month, while the Open University of Mauritius and University of Mauritius are advertising for January 2020 intake, Musengele noted.
“The program shall be offered by course work and dissertation over a duration of two years and consists of 10 compulsory and five elective courses, while examinations will be conducted at Kenyatta University campuses, in the Embassies and COMESA Secretariat offices,” he disclosed.
The launch of the university was approved in October 2016 during the 19th COMESA Heads of State Summit held in Madagascar, with the primary objective of inculcating a dimension of regional integration in learning in higher education institutions.
An MoU was later developed to provide the framework for collaboration with the participating universities.
Under the program, it is hoped that the inability of member countries to implement the numerous protocols, decisions and Acts due to the apparent lack of institutional and human capacity and related support mechanisms will be addressed, according to Cheluget.