Prime Minister of the Republic of Kenya, Rt Hon Raila Odinga said engineers and infrastructure are crucial for Africa’s development at the launch of the Africa-UK Engineering for Development Partnership on Friday last week (May 28th).
The Kenyan premier, whose visit to London included an earlier meeting with Prime Minister David Cameron at Downing Street, was giving the keynote address at the launch of the partnership, run by The Royal Academy of Engineering, the Institution of Civil Engineers and Engineers Against Poverty. The partnership aims to strengthen the capacity of the African engineering profession, promote mutually beneficial links between engineers in Africa and the UK and raise awareness of the contribution that engineers make to sustainable development and economic growth.
In its first year of operation, the Partnership will run a programme of workshops to enhance links between engineers and policy makers in key areas such as rural access, engineering education and energy and sustainability. It will also undertake a series of surveys as part of a capacity-building needs assessment for the engineering profession
The Prime Minister who himself trained as a mechanical engineer commented,
â€œThe launch of this partnership is critical to Africaâ€™s development. The simple applications of the basic knowledge of science and technology is vital. It is these basics that can tremendously improve the quality of life for ordinary Africans. Providing safe water through a simple purification device, drying maize in a simple warehouse, and using LED lamps instead of kerosene, are some of the examples. The Partnership could provide opportunities for African engineers to enhance their skills through joint-venture initiatives with their overseas counterparts. This will significantly contribute to the development of the local engineering community in Africa at large.â€
ICE president Paul Jowitt said: â€œMore effective and substantive infrastructure will be crucial for Africaâ€™s ongoing development. Efficient transport, waste, water and energy networks underpin economic productivity and quality of life, without which progress on any level is difficult. We are doing all we can in partnership with engineering Institutions across Africa to develop the engineering capacity needed to build and maintain the infrastructure platforms to help deliver the UN millennium goals. We hope that this partnership will further bolster our relationships and help us promote and grow the African engineering communityâ€