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Unleashing Africa’s Engineering Potential

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Engineers and engineering are key to fast-track the development of the African continent. Image credit: Leon Louw for WhyAfrica

Unleashing Africa’s Engineering Potential

Africa‘s engineering capacity for economic development varies across nations, with countries like South Africa and Nigeria making notable progress. However, challenges such as the skills gaps, inadequate infrastructure, and political instability persist.

By Kazawadi Papias Dedeki, President of the Federation of African Engineering Organisations (FAEO) and Chairman of WFEO Committee on Anti-Corruption

The sufficiency of engineering capacity in Africa to drive economic development demands targeted investments, skills development, and regional collaboration.

As Africa’s population burgeons, the demand for services outstrips the existing engineering capacity. The continent grapples with a shortage of skilled engineers, inadequate infrastructure, education disparities, and resource limitations.

Addressing these issues requires sustained investments, international collaboration, and a focus on sustainable solutions. These issues will be at the forefront of the UNESCO 9th Africa Engineering Week and 7th Africa Engineering Conference taking place at the CSIR Convention Centre, in Pretoria, South Africa from 25-29 September 2023.

While statistics on Africa’s engineering capacity and related challenges are available, they vary widely by country and are often fragmented. Organisations such as the African Development Bank, World Bank, and United Nations, along with academic research and industry reports, offer valuable insights.

Collaboration is key (Unleashing Africa’s Engineering Potential)

To drive engineering as an attractive profession, FAEO emphasises initiatives like promoting STEM education, showcasing role models, offering scholarships, and fostering mentorship.

Collaboration between academia and industry, supporting entrepreneurship, ensuring accreditation, and conducting public awareness campaigns are essential steps.

African countries can bolster their engineering capacity through knowledge sharing, joint research, faculty and student exchange programmes, and resource sharing.

Harmonising policies, pooling resources for infrastructure projects, and promoting technology transfer are crucial. Disaster preparedness cooperation, professional networks, and education partnerships will further strengthen engineering capabilities.

Catalysing Africa’s engineering potential (Unleashing Africa’s Engineering Potential)

Unpacking Africa’s engineering capacity for socio-economic development is a multifaceted challenge. By pursuing below steps properly, we believe we can catalyse Africa’s engineering potential, driving socio-economic development for the continent:

  • Assess the Landscape: Analyze Africa’s engineering strengths and weaknesses.
  • Investment in Education: Promote STEM education, especially for underrepresented groups.
  • R&D Support: Advocate for funding and collaboration in research and development.
  • Innovative Culture: Encourage entrepreneurship, innovation hubs, and mentorship.
  • Professional Associations: Strengthen engineering organizations and standards.
  • Infrastructure Development: Push for infrastructure that supports engineering.
  • Global Collaboration: Foster international partnerships for knowledge exchange.
  • Sustainability Focus: Promote sustainable engineering practices.
  • Policy Reforms: Influence legislation supporting engineering growth.
  • Public Awareness: Educate the public on the importance of engineering.
  • Progress Monitoring: Continuously evaluate initiatives and adapt strategies.
  • Stakeholder Collaboration: Collaborate with various stakeholders to create a shared vision.

In the upcoming UNESCO 9th Africa Engineering Week and 7th Africa Engineering Conference, we are set to embark on a transformative journey towards harnessing the above key steps to enable Africa’s engineering prowess.

Digitasation and public-awareness (Unleashing Africa’s Engineering Potential)

Two other key initiatives championed by FAEO are digitisation-driven public awareness campaigns and a reliable database. These tools empower decision-makers with real-time information for project prioritisation and resource allocation. They also facilitate transparency and collaboration among stakeholders.

Unlocking the potential of Africa’s Agenda 2063 through the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) requires the active engagement of all stakeholders. FAEO, as a key partner, envisions a pivotal role in this transformative journey. By uniting engineers, innovators, and thought leaders, FAEO aims to drive sustainable development, infrastructure growth, and economic prosperity across the continent.

Together, we can build a brighter future for Africa, where engineering excellence powers inclusive growth and paves the way for a prosperous Africa by 2063.

About Africa Engineering Week (Unleashing Africa’s Engineering Potential)

Themed “Celebrating Engineering Excellence in the African Region,” – the 9th UNESCO Africa Engineering Week (AEW) 2023 and the 7th Africa Engineering Conference from the 25- 28 September 2023, is an extraordinary gathering that celebrates and fosters engineering excellence in the African region. This groundbreaking event is more than just a conference; it seeks to inspire and educate the youth and the public about the awe-inspiring world of engineering and will showcase how engineers are the ultimate problem solvers and crucial players in addressing our continent’s most pressing challenges.

This annual event, proudly hosted by the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA) in 2023, gains its strength from the collaborative efforts of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO); the World Federation of Engineering Organisations (WFEO); and the Federation of African Engineering Organisations (FAEO).

Kazawadi Papias Dedeki is an accredited mediator, arbitrator and certified circular economy expert, President of the Federation of African Engineering Organisations (FAEO) and Chairman of WFEO Committee on Anti-Corruption

Unleashing Africa’s Engineering Potential

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Unleashing Africa’s Engineering Potential

 

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