UNESCO and the world’s largest technical professional association, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), today signed an agreement to implement projects to support the engineering community in Africa.
The agreement, signed at UNESCO’s Headquarters, outlines initiatives that support the common goal of mobilizing engineering education outreach for both students and educators in Africa, a region both organizations regard as a priority. The combination of IEEE’s core strengths as a professional association (with the technical expertise of its global membership); paired with UNESCO’s overall objective to mobilize science knowledge and policy for sustainable development, should contribute to the partnership’s effectiveness.
IEEE President and CEO Gordon Day, who signed the agreement for IEEE said, “Everywhere in the world, quality of life and prosperity depend on the application of technology. “That means that every country needs to have and sustain a strong high-tech workforce. Through this partnership, IEEE and UNESCO will be better able to help countries in Africa and elsewhere do just that.”
Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, added. “If engineering’s role is more visible and better understood, more people would be attracted to it as a career. Now and in the years to come, we need to ensure that motivated young women and men concerned about problems in the developing world continue to enter the field in sufficient numbers. It is estimated that some 2.5 million new engineers and technicians will be needed in sub-Saharan Africa alone.”
The United States’ and United Kingdom’s Ambassadors and Permanent Delegates to UNESCO, David Killian and Matthew Sudders, attended the signing.
UNESCO and IEEE agreed to collaborate on several projects and initiatives including accreditation programmes, faculty training and initiatives encouraging the participation of women in engineering.