Regional fund created for PASET study, innovation grants

A regional fund for study and innovation grants for Africa has been established by three African governments and a collective of business leaders under the World Bank’s Partnership for Applied Sciences, Engineering and Technology, or PASET.

The aim of PASET is to speed up the creation of a qualified and high quality workforce to support Africa’s socio-economic transition.

During the launch ceremony of the fund in Johannesburg, South Africa, its founding governments of Ethiopia, Rwanda and Senegal and representatives of Africa Business Champions for Science pledged to allocate US$5 million to the initiative.

Additional funds will be raised by African governments, businesses and other development partners to keep the fund operating from now until June 2016, according to a statement by the World Bank and London-based non-governmental organisation Planet Earth Institute, published by the African Press Organization.

The president of Africa Business Champions for Science is Dr Alvaro Sobrinho, an Angolan businessman who is also president of the Planet Earth Institute.

PASET will award 10,000 doctoral grants in Africa over 10 years to support research and innovation in applied science, engineering and technology, said the statement.

It said the new fund would be managed by a PASET committee of Senegalese, Rwandan and Ethiopian ministers of higher education and research, business leaders, university representatives and World Bank officials.

The launch of the fund results from measures adopted during previous PASET meetings in Ethiopia in 2013 and in Senegal in 2014, and a similar forum on higher education, sciences and technologies that took place in Rwanda in 2014, said the statement.

President Macky Sall of Senegal chaired the launch ceremony, which was also attended by Mary Teuw Niane, Senegal’s minister for higher education and research and chair of the PASET committee, Ethiopian Education Minister Shiferaw Shigute, Rwanda’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Louise Mushikiwabo, and Alvaro Sobrinho.