Sub-Saharan Africa is one of the regions of the world where most people are financially poor, with food insufficiency, despite the significant potential wealth of this region. At the same time, engineering is widely recognized by all development agenda (for example, the agenda 2063 of the African Union and the Rwanda vision 2020, to name a few) as one of the priority areas that should be emphasized to boost the African economy.
Despite its potential to boost the African economy, engineering education is limited to the theoretical component, in most of the Sub-Saharan Africa, due to the insufficiency of funds to link the theory taught in class with the real, practical, industrial world. In addition to the teaching aspect, scientific research in engineering is expected to lead to new technologies, creation of new jobs, and reduction of the rate of unemployment. Unfortunately, due to financial constraints, researchers working in Sub-Saharan Africa do not have access to research infrastructure, and those who manage to do some research work are not able to attend conferences to present research findings, to meet peers for exchange of views, to develop new research collaboration or strengthen the existing ones.
These gaps have motivated the project “Strengthening academia-industry linkage and research space in the area of Civil Engineering for food security in Sub-Saharan Africa”, whose objectives are (1) to strengthen the linkage between academia and industry, in order to create opportunities for civil engineering students’ internships within the consortium involving INES-Ruhengeri as hub university and associated spoke universities, improving their practical skills, hence strengthening their employability and (2) to strengthen the research space in civil engineering in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The consortium for this project is composed of INES-Ruhengeri (Rwanda), the University of Aberdeen (UK), the University of Ibadan (Nigeria), the University of Botswana (Botswana), the Catholic University of Cameroon (Cameroon), and a number of industries across the African continent.
The project implementation runs through September 2019 to August 2021 (2 years),
with a budget of £200,000.0 from the Royal Academy of Engineering. It is led by Dr. Francois Nsengiyumva, senior lecturer in the department of civil engineering of INES-Ruhengeri.