African Development Bank: Support for Capacity Building in Sustainable Development

Given a strategic focus on building capacity for industrial clusters around Africa’s extractive sector, the African Development Bank has awarded UCT a generous first time grant for the MPhil Programme in Sustainable Mineral Resource Development. As part of the global Education for Sustainable Development in Africa, with the United Nations University Institute for Sustainability and Peace, UCT’s Department of Chemical Engineering hosts this programme with the University of Zambia. The overall development goal is to contribute to the realization of an environment for sustainable employment and inclusive growth in the natural minerals and extractives industry in Africa. The grant enables students to participate in a comprehensive programme of activities that includes short courses, the preparation of a dissertation, and internship placements.

The University of Cape Town has prioritised this field of study through the Minerals to Metals Initiative, within the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment. The Initiative was born of the realisation that making mineral beneficiation activities more sustainable means that the selection, design and operation of processes and technology options must take place within the context of environmental, economic and socio-political consideration. The Initiative is one of five UCT Signature Themes created by the University Research Committee, demonstrating its prioritised position among key challenges facing our region. Mining in Africa, as in the rest of the world, has changed from simply balancing production targets with cost control to a complex set of interrelationships including safety, health, the environment, sustainable development and proactive stakeholder management. This programme is aimed at providing an interdisciplinary postgraduate qualification that highlights the critical factors of sustainable development in the context of mining and minerals processing in Africa including an understanding of managing and interacting with communities, environmental challenges, safety cultures, health-related issues and regulatory frameworks.

With this grant from the African Development Bank, over a two year period from 2016 to 2017, the higher education sector receives significant support in the areas of urbanization and technological advancement. The Bank recognizes that “investing in higher education is a requirement because education remains the greatest natural resource of any country and is a source of opportunity.”

Story by Merlin Ince

For Giving@UCT Volume 3 May 2016

The African Development Bank grant enables the Minerals to Metals Initiative at UCT to capacitate further talent in the extractive sector