In February 2021, funded by the Japanese Government’s PHRD Trust Fund, the World Bank Group and Kopernik launched a Pilot University-Industry Collaboration Program to enhance partnerships between African universities and Japanese companies as part of ongoing initiatives with the Africa Centres of Excellence (ACE) and the Partnership for Skills in Applied Sciences, Engineering and Technology (PASET) Regional Scholarship and Innovation Fund (RSIF). The objective of this pilot is to build partnerships between African universities and Japanese companies with a focus on technology transfer.

The  pilot initiative aims to enable African universities to experience a number of opportunities, including the following  (i) identify how to improve institutional technology transfer capacity at the university level, (ii) receive recommendations on bridging capacity gaps and developing the institutions to be known for conducting technology transfer, adaptation and prototype development, and (iii) receive hands-on experience in enterprising by working directly with Japanese companies, focusing on user perspectives for applied research.

Given the interests from the Japanese government, universities, and companies to collaborate with African universities, the World Bank team facilitated the partnership development since 2018 through two study tours.

The pilot has recorded some substantial progress and has so far held two separate launch events for African Universities (March 2021), and for the Japanese Companies (April 2021). An online matching event for selected African universities and Japanese companies was also held in May 2021. In total, 35 universities and 8 companies applied to partake in the initiative. Among them, three (3) partnerships will receive in-depth technical assistance through the Kopernik. Kopernik will provide some facilitation and light support for 7 companies, which will work independently with 12 matched universities. A summary of the partnerships developed through the initiative is below.

Recipients of the In-depth Technical Support

ACE/PASET Universities Involved Companies Potential Areas of Collaboration (to be finalized)
Moi University SPEC Co.Ltd Conduct the testing of soil samples from Kenya. After the soil testing, conduct soil and STEIN (soil hardening agent made by SPEC) mixture research and test the right consistency.
University of Ghana Challenge Co.Ltd Collaborate in localizing an earthquake detection and alarm system to suit the local condition in Ghana. Measure the impact of the evacuation training in the case of earthquake.
Nelson Mandela African Institute of Technology Nikken Co.Ltd Identify potential test site and use cases for CLINCA 205 (Water disinfecting ceramic sand) in Tanzania. Joint research on how the product could treat and improve water condition in Tanzania. Develop a product distribution plan.


Recipients of the Light Support

Universities Companies
Université Gaston Berger de Saint-Luis Challenge Co.Ltd, Oui Co.Ltd, LocationMind
Ahmadu Bello University Oui Co.Ltd
University of Ghana Oui Co.Ltd
Institute of Mathematics and Physical Science LocationMind
Federal University of Technology Owerri LocationMind
Moi University Marubeni Corporation, Nikken Co.Ltd.
Kwame Nkrumah University of Science of Technology Nikken Co.Ltd., LocationMind(TBD)
Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology SEMCO Co. Ltd.
Egerton University SEMCO Co. Ltd.pk7jolu6y6t
International Institute for Water and Environmental Engineering Nikken Co.Ltd (TBD)
University for Development Studies Nikken Co.Ltd (TBD)
Universidade Eduardo Mondlane SPEC Co.Ltd (TBD)


As a next step, the capacity assessment for technology adaptation has started for the three partnerships. From October 2021 to April 2022, testing and prototyping of the technology will take place and the dissemination of the initiative’s results is planned in May 2022.

Further questions on this initiative should be directed at Saori Imaizumi at