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Engineering Capacity Building In Developing Countries

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Technical Capacity Building for Developing Countries

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Page Count


Page Numbers

12.619.1 - 12.619.9



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Paper Authors


Russel Jones World Expertise LLC

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RUSSEL C. JONES is a private consultant, working through World Expertise LLC to offer services in engineering education in the international arena. Prior to that, he had a long career in education: faculty member at MIT, department chair in civil engineering at Ohio State University, dean of engineering at University of Massachusetts, academic vice president at Boston University, and President at University of Delaware.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Engineering Capacity Building in Developing Countries


In the pursuit of a more secure, stable and sustainable world, developing countries seek to enhance their human, institutional and infrastructure capacity. To do so they need a solid base of technologically prepared people to effectively improve their economies and quality of life. Such a base will facilitate the infusion of foreign capital through attraction of multinational companies to invest in the developing country, assist in making the most of foreign aid funds, and provide a basis for business development by local entrepreneurs. The World Federation of Engineering Organizations is mounting major efforts at technical capacity building in developing countries.


An old Chinese proverb says:

“Give a person a fish: you have fed the person for today. Teach a person to fish: you have fed the person for a lifetime.”

In today’s global economy, one more level needs to be added for developing countries:

And: teach the person how to process and package fish for export and market it, and you have stimulated economic development.

Economic development for developing countries can be effectively stimulated by building the technical capacity of their workforce, through quality engineering education programs. A competent technical workforce base can then provide several paths to economic development: attraction of technically oriented multi-national companies, who can invest effectively in the developing country once there is a cadre of qualified local employees available; effective utilization of foreign aid funds, and providing a legacy of appropriate infrastructure projects and technically competent people to operate and maintain them; and small business startups by technically competent entrepreneurs.

Capacity building can be defined as follows:

Capacity building is a dedication to the strengthening of economies, governments, institutions and individuals through education, training, mentoring, and the infusion of resources. Capacity building aims at developing secure, stable, and sustainable structures, systems and organizations, with a particular emphasis on using motivation and inspiration for people to improve their lives.

In the global economy of the 21st Century, engineers play a key role in overall economic development for countries and regions. In the well developed countries, the role of the engineer is well understood and utilized. In much of the developing world, however, the


Jones, R. (2007, June), Engineering Capacity Building In Developing Countries Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2001

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