Nairobi, November 23, 2018 — The International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE today signed an initial US$ 3.8 million grant agreement with the World Bank, as part of a larger US$ 9 million grant by the Government of Korea to support the Regional Scholarship and Innovation Fund (RSIF) aimed at building world-class class scientific capacity across Sub-Saharan Africa.
The RSIF grant contribution from the Government of Korea 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).
Earlier in May 2018, the World Bank and the Government of Korea signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the margins of the Africa Development Bank Annual Meetings in Busan, Korea, under which 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.
“PASET is delighted to receive this contribution from the Government of Korea, which marks the launch of a new phase for the RSIF. 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 Hon. Amb. (Dr.) Amina Mohamed, Chairperson of the PASET Governing Council
The support from the Government of Korea 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 programs (programs 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.
“ICIPE is honored to support implementation of the RSIF, an initiative with a noble goal for the continent; one that resonates with our Centre’s vision in many ways,” noted ICIPE Director General & CEO, Dr Segenet Kelemu. “We believe that our near 50-year history stands as a testament of unrelenting commitment to science and innovation-led development in Africa.”
An estimated 20 representatives and delegates from Sub-Saharan Africa and the Government of Korea are expected to attend the event demonstrating Africa’s commitment to invest and develop technological skills and the collaboration between PASET, Korea and the World Bank.
“The World Bank is excited to be partnering with the Government of Korea on a new project to support the RSIF. Africa’s scientific and technical capacity will be key drivers for its economic growth and the RSIF is an important initiative on the continent that will help build highly qualified local talent as well as strong institutional capacity in a sustainable manner,” said Sajitha Bashir, World Bank Education Practice Manager for Eastern and Southern Africa.
The Partnership for skills in Applied Sciences, Engineering and Technology (PASET) was launched in 2013 by African governments with facilitation by the World Bank in recognition of the critical need to strengthen science, and technology capability for the socio-economic development of Sub-Saharan Africa. The Partnership functions as a convening platform by bringing together African governments and the private sector as well as new partner countries who have been investing heavily in Africa. To learn more, visit www.worldbank.org/paset.
The Regional Scholarship and Innovation Fund (RSIF) was established in 2015 by African governments to help create a highly skilled, technical-scientific labor force to meet the national development agenda and accelerate Sub-Saharan Africa’s socio-economic transformation. The RSIF aims to create a strong pipeline of researchers in applied sciences, engineering and technology fields who can engage with development challenges and foster greater collaboration between African universities and local and foreign industries. The scholarship program has been designed considering best practices of international programs with technical assistance financed by the World Bank. The five countries that have taken the lead – Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda and Senegal – and several other sub-Saharan African countries have expressed strong interest in contributing to the initiative. The initiative, as part of PASET, is facilitated by the World Bank.
RSIF is based at the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) in Nairobi, Kenya. ICIPE was competitively selected by the World Bank and PASET in 2018 to manage and implement the RSIF. ICIPE is a non- profit organization that was established in 1970 and is headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, with country offices in Ethiopia, Uganda and Somalia. It has operations in 40 African countries and thriving partnerships with universities and research organizations, as well as regional and national media outlets across the world. ICIPE’s partners in postgraduate training are international, and since 1983 have included 43 universities in 18 African countries and 39 universities from 14 other countries around the globe, and numerous other national and international research institutes and training partners.