On October 14, 2014, EGI advanced its global collaborations and research partnerships with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding to foster cooperative scientific research and human and institutional capacity building between EGI and the International University of Grand-Bassam (IUGB) in Côte d’Ivoire. EGI Director Raymond Levey and IUGB President Saliou Touré signed the MOU in the presence of Côte d’Ivoire Prime Minister Daniel Kablan Duncan and other U.S. and Ivoirian dignitaries.
IUGB was sponsored by Anadarko at the EGI Pavilion for the Getenergy Annual Global Event in June 2014. Getenergy provides a marketplace to foster partnerships between the energy industry and academia. The event earlier this summer was the first step toward collaboration between EGI and IUGB. Signing the MOU continues the conversation about research projects that will benefit IUGB, Côte d’Ivoire, and EGI at the University of Utah and EGI corporate members interested in Africa.
The occasion, attended by the prime minister as part of a larger U.S. visit, marked a unique opportunity to contribute to furthering scientific advances in the energy industry and economic and academic development in West Africa. The MOU sets out opportunities for true partnership and exchange between EGI and IUGB.
EGI’s model of public-private partnership, bringing together foremost experts in the fields of geology, engineering, and geochemistry to collaborate with energy companies, government agencies, and other Universities struck a chord with the Ivoirian delegation. Prime Minister Kablan Duncan expressed interest in EGI’s successful model, encouraging IUGB to pursue a similar approach.
Côte d’Ivoire is home to a large and growing population of bright, motivated young people who are driving the country’s positive trends in economic and cultural advancements. IUGB offers a critical opportunity for those students to gain access to the highest levels of education and training available in the country. By joining forces with IUGB, EGI is positioned to contribute significantly as well as benefit. The MOU signed October 14 provides a foundation for both student and research faculty exchange programs from both institutions and joint initiatives to identify external funds to support collaborative research and other activities. Likewise, EGI and IUGB have also set the stage for joint research projects and for a potential regional geo-scientific study of the West African region.
A special reception coordinated in conjunction with the signing of the MOU came less than a week after EGI delegates including Affiliate Scientist and EGI Head of African Relations Reginal Spiller attended a ceremony in Atlanta, GA hosted by the IUGB Foundation, honoring Ambassador Andrew Young for his devoted service to Côte d’Ivoire and Africa at large. Ambassador Young served as a United States Congressman from Georgia and American Ambassador to the United Nations and has devoted considerable energy and commitment to Africa through various organizations. He was also instrumental in the forming of IUGB and in guiding its vision and mission. EGI delegates were invited guests based on relationships established at Getenergy and subsequent negotiations toward the MOU. The strength of such industry-academic partnerships contributes to growth and stability within the industry and the nations working to supply global energy demands through sustainable, economically viable development.