The International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) on Saturday in Nairobi signed an initial US$ 3.8 million grant agreement with the World Bank, to support science, technology skills across Africa.It is part of a larger US$ 9 million grant by the Korean government to support the Regional Scholarship and Innovation Fund (RSIF) aimed at building world-class class scientific capacity across Sub-Saharan Africa.
The grant will be managed by the World Bank as a Trust Fund and implemented by ICIPE in support of broader Africa technical skills development initiative under the umbrella of the Partnership for Skills in Applied Sciences Engineering and Technology (PASET).
PASET is an initiative by African governments to address fundamental gaps in skills and knowledge necessary for long-term, sustained economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).
PASET was launched in 2013 by the governments of Senegal, Ethiopia and Rwanda, while the governments of Kenya and Ivory Coast have since joined the partnership.
Earlier in May 2018, the World Bank and the Korea government signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the margins of the Africa Development Bank Annual Meetings in Busan, Korea.
Under this Korea agreed to set up a US$10 million Trust Fund at the World Bank to support the RSIF and strengthen the on-going partnership to build Africa’s technical and scientific capacity.
The contribution will be implemented by ICIPE as part of a US$24 million project to support the RSIF, which also includes a US$15 million grant from the World Bank to ICIPE to become a regional capacity builder for high quality PhD training, research and innovation in areas imperative to Africa’s transformation, such as renewable energy, big data, artificial intelligence, materials engineering, food security and climate change.
“We deeply appreciate Korea’s support to PASET and Africa in recent years and look forward to a continued long-term mutual partnership towards building African capacity in science, technology and innovation to propel the continent’s transformation,” said Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for education Amina Mohamed, who is the chairperson of the PASET Governing Council.
The support will facilitate PhD scholarships and research support to students and university faculty working on relevant transformative technologies across Sub-Saharan Africa.
It will also provide funding for “sandwich” PhD training programmes (programmes incorporating international and home-based study) for scholars from African universities.
It will also integrate cross-country knowledge exchange by enabling collaborative research between faculty in Sub-Saharan Africa universities and Korean universities, in priority areas such as information and communication technology, solar energy, energy storage, and materials engineering with a focus on the innovative growth sectors.