The Partnership for skills in Applied Sciences, Engineering and Technology (PASET) Regional Scholarship and Innovation Fund (RSIF) Regional Coordination Unit, together with the World Bank organised a visit for representatives from African Universities from the RSIF and Academic Centres of Excellence (ACE) programs to visit the Keio University Graduate School of System Design and Management (Keio SDM) on the 2nd of September, 2019. The group of 16 participants included representatives from Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria Ghana, Burkina Faso, and Malawi. They were accompanied by representatives from the PASET Executive Board, the World Bank and icipe (RSIF’s Regional Coordination Unit). The visit was organised to facilitate partnerships between PASET RSIF and ACE Programs with Japanese universities and businesses which is pivotal for the development of human capital and building excellence in research and innovation within African universities.
Keio SDM pursues problem-solving with a . This is a program that enables learners to seek solutions to complex issues by considering social needs and incorporating technologies. The Keio Universities Innovation Program – “The EDGE”’ is arguably one of the best programs in the world focusing on system design or design thinking. The program focuses on value creation in an innovative thinking approach and nurturing entrepreneurship in the global context. Faculty from the participating universities were able to learn more about the application of system design thinking in coming up with innovative technologies for solving both global and local social issues within their context.
Additionally, the team learned about innovative technologies that the Graduate school of System Design and Management at Keio University (Keio SDM) has developed from the use of satellite data and remote sensing as well as engaging in discussions with potential customers to understand their actual challenges and the applicability of the proposed solution.
‘This program not only helps to build an entrepreneurial mindset but also helps one become system minded and comfortable with design approaches to innovative solutions to social needs in society’ Prof. Kohtake, Keio SDM.
He also noted that systems thinking /design thinking is often not taught in many of our universities and yet an important way to enhance the efficiency of systems.
The team explored partnership opportunities with the innovation program with individual universities and under the umbrella of PASET RSIF and ACE programs. Led by African Governments and facilitated by the World Bank, PASET RSIF aims to sustainably build doctoral training and research and innovation environments in Africa with a focus on 11 selected African host university universities.
 University of Nairobi; Kenyatta University; University of Ghana; Bayero University; Nelson Mandela African Institute of Science and Technology; and Sokoine University of Agriculture.
 International Institute for Water and Environmental Engineering (2IE); Kwame Nkurumah University of Science and Technology, Regional Water and Environmental Sanitation Centre Kumasi (RWESCK); Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resource (LUANAR Africa Centre of Excellence in Aquaculture and Fisheries Science).