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Second, specific measures need to be adopted to expand engineering training.
African countries will need to supplement traditional university departments with novel approaches that include upgrading training institutes to offer certified engineering training, strengthening engineering training within private and public enterprises, and forging stronger international education partnerships.
Africa is experiencing remarkable economic growth against all odds.
The International Monetary Fund has projected that the continent will grow by 6.1 per cent in 2014, compared to the world average of 3.7 per cent.
Third, much of the technological knowledge needed to sustain Africa’s economies is available in the public domain.
Access to such knowledge is not limited by intellectual property but by lack of engineering capacity and limited incentives for enterprise development.
Third, all major infrastructure projects should include specific engineering education objectives as part of performance.
However, routine maintenance and additional construction will require significant and timely creation of local capacity.
It is for these reasons that the UK Royal Academy of Engineering has launched the £25,000 (Sh3.7 million) Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation.
This is the biggest prize devoted to engineering innovation, covering all disciplines from mechanical, civil and computing to biomedical, oil and gas, mining and electronic engineering, according to the Academy.
Building such capacity rapidly is important for three key reasons.
First, Africa needs a large pool of appropriately trained engineers to help with the design, construction and maintenance of infrastructure.There is growing consensus among African countries on the importance of infrastructure in development.