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Experts push African economies to strengthen scientific research

KIGALI Rwanda (Xinhua) -- Science and research experts have called on African economies to put much emphasis on promoting mathematical science education and research in order to boost innovation in Africa.

They made the call on Monday during an event to launch an African Institute of Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) center in the Rwandan Capital Kigali. The AIMS is a pan-African network of centers of excellence for postgraduate education, research and outreach in mathematical sciences on the continent.

Speaking at the event, Prof. Neil Turok, founder of the African Institute for Mathematical Science said that the institution seeks to enable Africa’s brightest students to flourish as independent thinkers, problem-solvers and innovators capable of propelling Africa’s future scientific, educational and economic self-sufficiency.

“Africa is the birth place of Mathematics. The continent’s youth represent the world’s greatest untapped pool of scientific and technical talent. African economies should take lead in promoting, supporting and championing science, technology, engineering and mathematics education to promote research and innovation on the continent,” he noted.

Established in 2003, AIMS is the first pan-African network of centers of excellence in the mathematical sciences. Its model prioritizes international-class education of Africa’s most valuable resource—the youth, for the transformation of the continent.

There are six African Institute of Mathematical Sciences centers across Africa: one in South Africa, which opened in 2003, and others in Senegal, Ghana, Cameroon, Tanzania, and now Rwanda. These centers train over 300 students each year.

The training programme at AIMS focuses on developing scientific, technical, and entrepreneurial competence as well as creating a critical mass of well-rounded scientists with excellent problem-solving skills, capable of creative thinking and genuine innovation.

Thierry Zomahoun, president and chief executive of African Institute for Mathematical Sciences said that AIMS students learn professional and employable skills, and are also trained in entrepreneurial methods to broaden their career preparedness for paths outside academia.

“We shall do everything in our power to make Africa a talent magnet. In this way AIMS is filling the skills gap in the mathematical sciences, which will directly contribute to the development of the continent and drive Africa’s transformation, “he added.

Speaking at the event, Rwanda President Paul Kagame emphasized that for Africa to participate in the global economy, there is need for strong indigenous scientific and technological capacity.

AIMS Next Einstein Forum (NEF) initiative is targeting to establish 15 centers of excellence across Africa by 2023, thereby building a network of gifted young Africans in tune with the broad use of the mathematical sciences and able to contribute to new opportunities for growth in Africa, according to AIMS authority.

Since its inception in 2003, AIMS has graduated more than 1,200 students from 42 African countries, 31 percent of them being women.



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