The Prime Minister of the Republic of Kenya, Rt Hon Raila Odinga delivered the keynote speech for the UK Launch of the Africa-UK Engineering for Development Partnership at The Royal Academy of Engineering on Friday 28th May 2010.

In his speech the Kenyan premier, whose visit to London included a meeting with Prime Minister David Cameron at Downing Street, explained why engineers and infrastructure are so crucial for Africa’s development. The partnership, run by The Royal Academy of Engineering, the Institution of Civil Engineers and Engineers Against Poverty, 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,
“The launch of this partnership is critical to Africa’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 warehouse, and using LED lamps instead of kerosene are some of the examples. The Partnership will 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.”

ICE president Paul Jowitt said: “More effective and substantive infrastructure will be crucial for Africa’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. Wehope that this partnership will further bolster our relationships and help us promote and grow the African engineering community”

Watch the recording from this event
The Africa-UK Engineering for Development Partnership

Notes for editors

  1. The Partnership is sponsored by the Anglo-American Group Foundation, the David & Elaine Potter Foundation and Schlumberger.
  2. The African launch of the Partnership took place in March 2010 in Pretoria, South Africa.The African Engineers Forum (AEF) is a network of African multidisciplinary national engineering societies or institutions which currently represent the majority of Southern African Development Community countries, as well as Ghana and some East African Development Community countries. The vision of the AEF is to strive to ensure an appropriate level of efficient human resource capacity in the built environment professions, particularly engineering, to enable Africa to ultimately achieve sustainable development for all the people of Africa. Its mission is to contribute resources and expertise in partnership with key stakeholders to accomplish the transfer and assimilation of the value of the best practice principles of sustainable development to identified communities at all levels. The South African Institution of Civil Engineering (SAICE) provides the secretariat to the AEF.

    The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) was founded in 1818 to ensure professionalism in civil engineering. It represents 80,000 qualified and student civil engineers in the UK and across the globe. The ICE has long worked with the government of the day to help it to achieve its objectives, and has worked with industry to ensure that construction and civil engineering remain major contributors to the UK economy and UK exports.
  3. Founded in 1976, The Royal Academy of Engineering promotes the engineering and technological welfare of the country. Our fellowship – comprising the UK’s most eminent engineers – provides the leadership and expertise for our activities, which focus on the relationships between engineering, technology, and the quality of life. As a national academy, we provide independent and impartial advice to Government; work to secure the next generation of engineers; and provide a voice for Britain’s engineering community.

For more information please contact

Tonia Page, PR consultant on 07770 845984