New Pan African University To Focus On Tech, Innovation, Science

New Pan African University To Focus On Tech, Innovation, Science

African Development Bank has approved a $45 million grant to support the creation of the Pan African University, according to a report in EngineeringNews.

The university will consist of five themed institutes located in East, West, Central, North and Southern Africa.

Programs will include basic sciences, technology and innovation (Kenya); earth and life sciences including health and agriculture (Nigeria); governance, humanities and social sciences (Cameroon); water and energy sciences including climate change (North Africa); and space sciences (Southern Africa).

Africa has been slow to commercialize its innovations in science and technology, the report said. The new university would be a groundbreaking step. The best African university ranks 113th globally, according to the report. Of the world’s top 400 universities, four are in Africa – all in South Africa. Africa accounts for 13.4 percent of the world’s people but produces 1.1 percent of world scientific knowledge, according to African Development Bank.

African students tend to choose economics, business, law and social sciences rather than science, engineering and technology, holding back the continent’s competitiveness and growth, the report says. Shortage of skills has constrained Africa’s progress in science, technology and innovation. Due to low investment in research and development, Africa ranks low in global competitiveness and productivity. The result is a mismatch between skills produced and private sector jobs.

The grant is a response to the African Union’s call for technical help and financial resources, the bank said. Designing and operating a network of hubs of excellence in higher education will help meet the need for education, training and research in five key areas of African development.