Africa’s scholars to grace prestigious science meet

MITBy David Njagi

For the first time, Africa’s best will this week showcase the continents intellectual might in technology at the Masachusettas Institute of Technology (MIT).

Prof. Calestous Juma, a Kenyan and Fellow of the African Academy of Sciences (AAS), Dr Mukhisa Kituyi, the Secretary – General of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Prof. Aderemi Kuku, a Distinguished Professor of Mathematics and Computational Science from Botswana International University of Science and Technology and President of the Nairobi-based AAS, and Dr Aggrey Ambali, the head of Science, Technology and Innovation at the NEPAD in South Africa, are some of the experts expected to make presentations at the meeting.

Others include Dr Beatrice Khamati-Njenga who heads the Education Division at the African Union Commission and Mr. Hambani Masheleni, Senior Policy Officer at the African Union Commission.

“The event will grant leading Scholars, Scientists, MIT faculty, business people and students in the US the opportunity to interact with Africa’s think tanks,” Prof. Juma.

Convened by MIT in partnership with the African Union’s NEPAD Agency, the symposium will go a long way in meeting African countries’ quest to seek a variety of partnerships with leading science and technology universities around the world in a bid to realize the 10-year Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa (STISA-2024) by the African Union.

The Strategy, adopted in June 2014 by the African heads of state and governments is part of the long-term Agenda 2063 which outlines the need to “merge African initiatives and strategies on accelerated human capital development, science and technology and innovation.”

More specifically, the Strategy calls on Africa to “lead the new industrial revolution by building a skilled workforce, capitalizing on the digital revolution and global knowledge. This will trigger rapid diversification of sources of growth, sustain current economic performance and lift large sections out of poverty and create a powerful middle class.”In pursuit of the vision, the African Union has spearheaded the setting up of universities as centers of excellence.

The aim of the symposium at MIT will thus be to explore areas of cooperation between MIT and Africans countries in areas of science, technology and innovation.The event will allow MIT to learn more about emerging trends in Africa and for Africa to familiarize itself with activities and MIT.

This will be achieved through interactive sessions between the African think Tanks with senior leadership of MIT, faculty and students in a bid help raise awareness on the potential areas for cooperation, especially in areas of science, technology and innovation.

 The event is organized by theCenter for International Studies and the Department of Urban Studies and PlanningIn cooperation with the MIT-Africa Interest Group (MAIG), MIT UrbanAfrica, and the MIT Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Visiting Professors and Scholars Program.

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About seventysixthstreet

Science and human rights journalist, Kenya
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