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– $5 million committed by African Governments and ‘Africa Business Champions for Science’ during launch hosted by HE President Macky Sall of Senegal

-Will award grants for 10,000 PhD scholarships in Africa over ten years, as part of the World Bank ‘Partnership for Skills in Applied Sciences, Engineering and Technology (PASET)’ programme

-Declaration of the founding countries (Ethiopia, Rwanda and Senegal) to now be signed by Heads of State

 

A ‘Regional Scholarship and Innovation Fund’ for Africa was launched recently.This is certainly a right step in the right direction for Africa. The launch event was led by the President of the Republic of Senegal HE Macky Sall, and representatives of the Heads of States of Ethiopia and Rwanda. The Fund will contribute to the World Bank ‘Partnership for Skills in Applied Sciences, Engineering and Technology (PASET)’ programme, which seeks to award 10,000 African PhD scholarships over ten years, to strengthen research and innovation in applied science, engineering and technology.

The African Governments involved committed to the Fund alongside a new group of prominent business figures, the ‘Africa Business Champions for Science’, to raise a total of $5 million during the launch. The ‘Africa Business Champions for Science’ group is chaired by the Angolan businessman Dr Álvaro Sobrinho, also Chairman of the Planet Earth Institute NGO. Additional funds will now be mobilised from African Governments, business leaders and other developmental partners, to operationalise the Fund by June 2016.

The initiative is led by the PASET Steering Committee comprising Ministers responsible for higher education and research from Senegal, Rwanda and Ethiopia, business leaders, representatives from academia and the World Bank. The overall objective of PASET is to accelerate the creation of a skilled, high-quality workforce in Africa to power Africa’s socio-economic transformation. The launch of the Fund is an outcome of the actions agreed at the previous PASET Forum’s held in Ethiopia (2013) and Senegal (2014), as well as the related Forum on Higher Education, Science and Technology held in Rwanda (2014).

HE Macky Sall, President of the Republic of Senegal, hosted the event in Johannesburg, South Africa, in the company of: Shiferaw Shigutie, Minister of Education, representing HE Prime Minister Desalegn of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia; Louise Mushikiwabo, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, representing HE President Kagame of the Republic of Rwanda; Dr Álvaro Sobrinho, representing the African Business Champions for Science group; and Prof Mary Teuw Niane, Minister of Higher Education & Research of Republic, Senegal and Chairman of the PASET Steering Committee. The Heads of State of these three Governments will now sign a formal declaration.

The World Bank reaffirmed its support to the PASET objectives and its readiness to continue to support the initiative. According to the World
Bank, after a decade of exceptional growth in Africa, averaging 4.5 percent a year across the continent, it is necessary to build skills to sustain this growth and transform African economies towards higher levels of competitiveness. Currently the African workforce greatly suffers from a lack of scientific and technical capacity and an integrated approach that brings together all partners – public and private, traditional and emerging partners – is needed. The Regional Scholarship and Innovation Fund adopts this approach, with African Governments committing hand in hand with the private sector and other partners.

His Excellency Macky Sall, President of the Republic of Senegal:”Increasingly, Africa sees the need to depend on science and technology to increase industrial and agricultural productivity, guarantee food security,tackle diseases, ensure a safe water supply, and reduce the energy deficit. While these may seem like insurmountable challenges, the continent cannot waste any more time.We must launch a sustained campaign to train and employ a great number of scientists, engineers, and technicians to achieve the structural transformation that Africa needs, and that is exactly what this programme is designed to help support.”

Dr Álvaro Sobrinho, Chairman, African Business Champions for Science and Chairman, Planet Earth Institute:“As Africa continues to make great strides forward, we must also continue to recognize the importance of investing in our future generations. This investment must go beyond access and enrollment to develop excellence, too, especially in science and technology. Excellence in science and technology will equip Africa with a workforce ready to compete in the 21st century,where we can lead the world as scientists, engineers and innovators.As Chairman of the African Business Champions for Science, I confirm by commitment to this agenda and to recruiting others that share the vision.Led by the African Governments and in partnership with business leaders and the World Bank, we want to go beyond philanthropy to find innovative ways to properly link industry with scientific and technical excellence for the long-term, and for the benefit of us all”

As I applaud this initiative,I hope it lives to its goals and more importantly it will be of  great significance to see other regional funds launched around Africa to increase STEM,research and Innovation.This is the future that Africa should create for herself and it starts now!

 

 

 

 

 

Kenneth Omeruo
Omeruo Ndukaku Kenneth is an Innovation Management expert,the CEO of Emerging Media,a new media company.He is a member of ISPIM - International Society for Professional Innovation Management and the US-Africa chamber of Commerce.He is the Founder of TechTrends Nigeria Blog,Nigeria Innovation Summit and the African Innovation Academy.Kenneth is a highly sought-after Internet Marketing Consultant who has through his seminars, articles, training and consulting, helped many organizations, Individuals, Businesses maximize the Internet for business purposes.Kenneth has also being featured as a guest on the TV show TODAY ON STV Nigeria and on Bloomberg Africa TV.He is the author of the best –selling Internet Book: How To Create Unlimited Internet Wealth. He is a syndicated columnist with the following Newspapers in Nigeria: Daily Independent, Financial Standard, PUNCH, BusinessDay, and Sun.Kenneth organises the EduNet Conference for Universities in Nigeria. Kenneth is a member of Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria( ISPON ) Roundtable For Capacity Development in Nigeria,member pre-selection committee for Nigeria at the UN World Summit Awards,a Panelist for Youth Enterprise With Innovation in Nigeria(YouWIN)-a Federal government initiative created by the ministry of finance,supported by ministries of Communications Technology,Youth Development,Worldbank and DFID. A 2013 Judge at the Google Cloud Developers Challenge for Sub Saharan Africa.He has been a contributing editor of Nigeria Communications Week,Africa Telecom and IT Business Magazine,ICT Today magazine,M2 magazine.Kenneth has been invited to the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation Forum, Oracle Open World Conference USA, Oracle Cloud World Dubai, and GITEX Dubai. He now lives in New York with his family and presently working on an Open Innovation project for Nigeria. You can contact Kenneth through email: (kenneth (at)techtrendsng.com) Facebook:www.facebook.com/Kenneth.omeruo On Twitter:www.twitter.com/kennethomeruo Skpe:Kenneth.Omeruo

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