The five-year project would see the establishment of a regional university structured within existing institutions across five countries representing the East, West, Central, North and Southern African regions.
The PAU would enhance the continent's competitiveness and growth through the creation of high-quality higher education and research capabilities.
"Thousands of students all over Africa will benefit from this project. This is truly an amazing regional effort to help African universities achieve world-class status. It will increase the pool of African scientists and researchers not only to serve the needs of the continent but to help youth become competitive in international labour markets," said Agnes Soucat, Director of the Human Development Department, AfDB.
AfDB said that Africa had been slow to develop its science and technology sectors and commercialise its innovations and that the new university "would be a groundbreaking step in strengthening higher education and building human capital in Africa".
It added that the best African university currently had a ranking of 113 globally, with only four – all of which South African – of the 400 top universities worldwide on the continent.
Africa has only 35 scientists and engineers per million inhabitants, compared with 168 for Brazil, 2,457 for Europe and 4,103 for the U.S.
Shortage of skills has been a major constraint to Africa's progress in science, technology and innovation.
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