GCRF Africa Catalyst: Capacity Building of Professional Engineering Institutes

In September 2016, the Academy launched this capacity-building programme under its remit as a delivery partner for the Global Challenges Research Fund.

The Academy is currently supporting a wide range of short pilot projects running from mid-December 2016 until mid-June 2017, with the intention to evaluate the result of different interventions. Lessons learned and successful models will help shape the future of the programme.


The overarching aim is to ensure there is sufficient, and appropriately skilled, local engineering capacity to participate in and drive national and regional development in sub-Saharan Africa*. GCRF Africa Catalyst helps achieve this by focusing on better connecting professional engineering institutions (PEIs), Engineering Councils/Associations and other organisations working to strengthen engineering capacity, to the engineering research, policy and business communities.

These organisations are supported to take a leadership role by working to ensure appropriate accreditation, professionalism and opportunities for engineers nationally and regionally.

At the pilot stage, the Academy sought projects that contributed to at least one of the objectives below:

  • Build engineering capacity by improving engineering education at all levels to meet recognised international standards
  • Support the development of professional engineering institutions/councils/associations that can effectively support the profession and promote professionalism
  • Support the Federation of African Engineering Organizations (FAEO) in its leadership role across the continent
  • Strengthen the evidence base for the role robust engineering institutions play in driving development, such as mapping engineering capacity in sub-Saharan Africa

*For the purposes of the programme, the Academy consider the following 49 countries to be part of sub-Saharan Africa: Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.