A five- year Analytical Support Services and Evaluation for Sustainable Systems (ASSESS) project and an Africa Centre of Excellence (ACE) at a cost of 24 million dollars were launched in Accra on Friday.
ASSESS is to improve decision making and measure the impact made by USAID funded programmes and ACE, a special component of ASSESS project occupies the ground floor of a three- storey facility for conferences and workshops and offices for USAID funded programmes of choice be it HIV and/AIDS, promoting better sanitation or providing good quality potable water.
The project is a partnership between USAID, US Department of Agriculture, University of Rhode Island, Delaware State University and Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, (KNUST).
Mr Gene Cretz, US Ambassador, who launched the project, said ASSESS which is a research base would allow USAID and its partners to create, innovate and learn evolving trends in development.
Technical experts would provide independent evaluations and assessments to bolster development efforts in agriculture, environmental protection, trade and energy, he explained.
He said ACE would offer a visible and concrete platform to deepen bilateral and regional relationships through enhanced development-related information sharing.
Mr Cretz said the centre serves as a focal point of USAID/ West Africa?s regional operations to promote more effective development interventions across the sub-continent, provides a setting for knowledge management and exchange to strengthen learning and collaboration across both public and private sectors.
He said the Presidential Feed the future initiative recognises that innovation and technology and powerfully affect the agriculture sector, saying, USAID supports implementation of agricultural technology such as fertilizers deep placement and breeder seed production.
Through ASSESS, lessons learned could be shared across the region with public and private sector actors to improve and increase crop yield and productivity to scale up development impact.
Mr Abdourahmane BA, Chief of Party, USAID/West Africa ASSESS who conducted the people round the centre said the broad objective is to ensure systematic and meaningful feedback of USAID activities is expanded for evidence-based decision making to advance economic growth and environmental resilience in West Africa.
He said ASSESS would implement activities around four key components; evaluation, capacity building in monitoring and evaluation, knowledge and information management and ACE.
ACE has a computer room equipped with 24 laptops with wireless service, a translator desk, and lactating room for mothers and conference rooms.
Prof William Ellis Otoo, Vice Chancellor of KNUST said the University is bringing on board its experiences in effective collaboration with US universities and other government institutions as well as Universities in Ghana in terms of the programmes specialisation from the various colleges.
He said KNUST signed the partnership in April 2014 because of its objectives of sustainable information generation and dissemination for development in commissioned USAID activities in Agriculture, trade and energy.
He explained that research conducted by universities is not just thrown away but findings are made use of by the funding partners.