R600m pan-African fund to award 10 000 PhD scholarships over next decade

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Good news for aspiring academics: a number of African governments have teamed up with The World Bank to launch a fund that will see 10 000 PhD scholarships awarded over the next 10 years.

The Regional Scholarship and Innovation Fund was launched in Johannesburg recently by Senegalese president Macky Sall, along with representatives from the Ethiopian and Rwandan government and the Africa Business Champions for Science initiative comprising a group of influential business figures.

The fund was set up as part of The World Bank’s Partnership for Skills in Applied Sciences, Engineering and Technology (PASET) programme and will contribute $5 million (around R600 million) towards PhD scholarships in an effort to strengthen research and innovation in applied science, engineering and technology on the continent.

The overall objective of PASET is to accelerate the creation of a skilled, high-quality workforce in Africa to promote socio-economic transformation.

The fund will begin running in Senegal, Ethiopia and Rwanda by June 2016 and more funds will continue to be raised over the coming years.

“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,” said president Sall.

 “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.”

[Image – CC 2.0 by Amy]