AFRICA: Future Einsteins
South African geneticist Vinet Coetzee held up a malaria-diagnosing scanner that she said can be developed for use in Africa’s rural areas without the need for blood samples or lab tests.
“This can be rapid, affordable and noninvasive,” she said. “It can reduce health inequality and bring us one step closer to a world free of malaria.”
The prototype was among the research projects highlighted at the Next Einstein Forum conference in March 2018 in Rwanda to encourage the development of young scientists across Africa. Organizers called it the largest-ever gathering of scientists on the continent.
“We can go from a dark continent to a bright continent,” said Nigerian chemistry professor Peter Ngene, who described how he plans to use nanotechnology to store solar energy efficiently in hydrogen batteries.
Rwandan President Paul Kagame, pictured, chair of the African Union, opened the gathering by linking scientific progress to Africa’s development at large.
“Knowledge economies are prosperous economies,” he said. “Today, more than ever before, adequate math and science proficiency is a prerequisite for a nation to attain high-income status and the gains in health and well-being that go along with it.”
The president added: “For too long, Africa has allowed itself to be left behind.” As the continent catches up, it cannot afford to leave out women and girls, Kagame said, urging Africans not to accept the global gender gap in science as inevitable.
The Associated Press