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November 15, 2018

Investing in youth in science key to transforming Kenya

Sylvia Mukasa
Sylvia Mukasa

African Media Agency (AMA) The Next Einstein Forum (NEF), an initiative of the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) in partnership with Robert Bosch Stiftung, today announced the launch of the first NEF Africa Science Week in Nairobi, Kenya.  

The event aims to re-calibrate innovation in Kenya with the right investments and incubator environment can lead to real economic dividends. The goal is to raise public awareness on the importance of science and technology (school age kids, general public, gatekeepers are most targeted).

“We want to provide that platform for relevant discussions and monetary commitments towards research and development in Kenya”, say Sylvia Mukasa, NEF Ambassador.

Mukasa who was leading the event in the country is also an ICT & Telecommunications Consultant and entrepreneur with a special focus on emerging enterprise technologies and Cloud Computing, together with local academic, science and technology champions.

The NEF is a platform that connects science, society and policy in Africa and the rest of the world – with the goal to leverage science for human development globally. The organization believes that Africa’s contributions to the global scientific community are critical for global progress. At the center of NEF efforts are Africa’s young people, the driving force for Africa’s scientific renaissance.

“The government needs to empower its young people to increase their ability to personally influence what is happening in their lives and communities,” said Mukasa. “To meet the challenges that we already face I the country head on, we need a generation of ground-breaking and adaptable young people to create their future,” she added.

The event also aims to foster collaboration among various research actors and initiatives so that there is coordinated public engagement around science and tech in Africa.

According to Mukasa, no country has every developed without heavy long term investments in science research and development. Most African countries haven’t committed more than 1% of their GDP to research and development except South Africa, which has committed to reach 1% by 2020.

This hampers Africa's ability to sustainable transform itself on a socio-economic level and compete globally.

“By bringing together key stakeholders from all sectors, we hope to catalyze investment in research and development and discuss best practices for attracting and retaining young people, especially girls and women, in the sciences,” added Mukasa.

The event is inline with the NEF’s Dakar Declaration, issued at the first biennial NEF Global Gathering, held in in Dakar, Senegal in March 2016, Africa Science Week will place public engagement at the heart of advancing Africa’s scientific agenda. The next edition of the NEF Global Gathering will be held in Kigali in March 2018 under the patronage of H.E. Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda.

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