About the Portal
Engineering is critically important for the creation of infrastructure to better serve communities, enable better healthcare and access to education, and to accelerate industrial development to grow economies and attract foreign investment. Access to engineers and growing engineering capacity to match demand is key to supporting economic growth and improvement in living standards. There is engineering capacity in Africa, but often it is overlooked in favour of international engineering teams, which undermines the opportunities for local engineering companies to grow, and to develop local expertise and local graduates. The African Engineering Professionals Portal (AEP) is aimed at promoting African engineering capacity and allowing African engineering practitioners to network and support each other in delivering engineering solutions to the continent.
About the PEI Development Toolkit
As the engineering skills base grows in Africa, and areas of specialisation emerge, there is a growing trend of new groupings forming professional engineering institutions (PEIs), to network and share their specialist knowledge. Furthermore, countries are recognising the need for professional registration to ensure the calibre of engineering professionals taking responsibility for engineering projects in their countries, and there is a drive to align professional competence requirements with international best practice.
To this end, in 2020, the Federation of African Engineering Organisations (FAEO) signed a cooperation agreement with the International Engineering Alliance (IEA) to work towards supporting African countries to align their education and registration requirements to match the attributes developed by the IEA.
Setting up new professional engineering institutions is not a trivial process. Deciding on the types of services; types of members or registration categories; application processes and how to set up websites; and deciding on relevant data and online functionality, requires detailed scoping. In many cases aspiring founding members have little idea of where to begin.
The Development Toolkit offers guidance on setting up the range of PEIs – whether registering bodies, voluntary associations representing companies or individuals, or special interest group organisations.
About the AEP Portal Team
Recognising the need to strengthen professional engineering institutions (PEIs) in Africa, the London-based Royal Academy of Engineering awarded funding for the portal development under the Africa Catalyst initiative. The Academy’s international aims are to address the world’s most pressing challenges, lead debate on public policies and build capacity in developing countries.
The Africa Catalyst initiative is funded by the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) which forms part of the UK’s Official Development Assistance commitment, to support cutting-edge research which addresses the problems faced by developing countries. One of the GCRF initiatives is focused on strengthening professional engineering institutions in sub-Saharan Africa so that they can effectively promote the profession, share best practise and increase local engineering capacity, to help drive development.
The team involved in setting up the portal was made up of:
- SAICE-PDP: A Non-Profit engineering and built environment capacity building organisation, who has prepared the Development Toolkit after setting up some 25 organisations as part of the first phase of the African Catalyst project. For more information on SAICE-PDP visit www.saicepdp.org
- IStructE: The world’s leading professional body for qualifications and standards in structural engineering. System design, ideas on member categories and additional functionality were gleaned from the IStructE. For more information on IStructE visit https://www.istructe.org
- Xenon Consulting CC: A website design and hosting company with years of experience in membership database management and related functionality has developed the platform.