During the Sixth African Higher Education Week and Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) Biennial Conference, held earlier this year in Nairobi, South Korea's government announced that it would provide $9 million to support the Regional Scholarship and Innovation Fund (RSIF) in Africa.

Now comes news that the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) has signed a $3.8 million grant agreement with the World Bank as part of the larger scheme.

Boosting “World-Class Scientific Capacity”

The RSIF grant aims to facilitate “world-class scientific capacity across Sub-Saharan Africa,” according to a World Bank press release. It will be managed by the World Bank as a trust fund and implemented by the ICIPE under the umbrella of the Partnership for skills in Applied Sciences Engineering and Technology (PASET). It follows last spring’s news of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the World Bank and the Government of Korea agreeing that South Korea would provide funds to support Africa’s technical and scientific capacity.

Specifically, the money will be designated for PhD scholarships and research support for students and faculty working on “relevant transformative technologies” in the region. Collaborative research toward cross-country knowledge exchange is also a priority.

A New Phase

PASET Governing Council Chairperson, the Hon. Amb. (Dr.) Amina Mohamed, said, “PASET is delighted to receive this contribution from the Government of Korea, which marks the launch of a new phase for the RSIF. We deeply appreciate Korea’s support to PASET and Africa in recent years and look forward to a continued long-term mutual partnership towards building African capacity in science, technology and innovation to propel the continent’s transformation.”

“The World Bank is excited to be partnering with the Government of Korea on a new project to support the RSIF. Africa’s scientific and technical capacity will be key drivers for its economic growth and the RSIF is an important initiative on the continent that will help build highly qualified local talent as well as strong institutional capacity in a sustainable manner,” added World Bank Education Practice Manager for Eastern and Southern Africa, Sajitha Bashir.