The Royal Academy of Engineering has awarded over £3.5 million to 37 projects in Nigeria and across 13 African countries to promote better training and sustainability and diversify economies.
This was disclosed by the Academy via a statement issued and seen by Nairametrics on Thursday to mark the UNESCO World Engineering Day 2021.
It stated that the Academy’s interest in partnering with partner academic institutions’ projects focused on realizing sustainable development goals.
One of such projects, according to the statement, is the renewable energy project recently embarked on by Engineering students in the University of Abuja, Nigeria.
It stated, “A new awardee of the HEPSSA programme, the University of Abuja, in a project titled “Renewable energy utilization: Accelerating diffusion of solar power systems”, seeks to address the problem of access to affordable and clean energy with a view to enable accelerated diffusion solar power systems.”
Commenting on the progress achieved in Africa, Nigerian born Engineer in the UK, Yewande Akinola MBE, who is also a member of the Royal Academy of Engineering GCRF Africa Catalyst Committee, said:
“While we see immediate improvements in skills and innovation through these programmes, the real win is establishing a framework for lasting change.
This will equip communities in Africa to anticipate and plan for the challenges posed by climate change, urbanisation and economic development.
The continent is transforming rapidly, and those engineering its future need the skills to think on their feet.”
Stressing the need for strategic partnerships and buy-in of stakeholders, she said, “By developing strong alliances between local partners in sub-Saharan Africa and the UK, we can enable learning, collaboration and sharing of best practice, which in turn will build skills to boost innovation.
But there is much more to be done, which needs the continued support of investors and partners.”
She added that the Academy aimed to support the development of a diverse and future fit workforce across the continent.
“It is estimated that fewer than 10% of engineering posts in Africa are currently occupied by women.
GCRF Africa Catalyst has worked with Women in Engineering (WomEng) to promote gender diversity across a wide spectrum of professional experience.
“WomEng’s work with Eswatini’s Registration Council for Architects, Engineers, Surveyors and Allied Professionals has resulted in seven registered female members where they initially had none.
A HEP SSA project with the Institute of Engineers Rwanda also helped to increase the number of female internship applicants from 5% to 2018 to 25% in 2019,” she said.
Highlights of achievements of the Africa grants:
Over 2000 professionals trained by Professional Engineering Institutions across sub-Saharan Africa.
Over 530 student industry placements since 2013. Number of students obtaining industry internships increased from 40% to 90% over the course of one project in Zambia
Diversity & Inclusion initiatives have driven equal gender participation in programmes.
A project from the Institute of Engineers Rwanda helped to increase the number of female internship applicants from 5% in 2018 to 25% in 2019.
50 individual course curricula reviewed and improved as a result of industry-academia partnerships.
Almost 50 UK organisations and 400 in-country bodies involved as project partners so far.
Launched in 2016, with support from the UK government’s Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF), the Africa Catalyst initiative allows Engineers to focus on issues of specific importance to their relevant jurisdictions while facilitating good governance practices.
The Royal Academy of Engineering is showcasing its impact on enhancing collaboration, education, and diversity in engineering in sub-Saharan Africa, delivered through its Africa grants programmes ahead of the second UNESCO World Engineering Day for Sustainable Development on the 4th of March 2021.