The first edition of the Next Einstein Forum in Africa kicked off on Tuesday in the Senegalese capital, Dakar.
Some of the continent’s brightest talents have had to go abroad to work in the field of research and to seek greener pastures. Organisers of the science-based conference however believe the current situation can be reversed.
Top scientists, policymakers and start-up companies from across the continent are attending the three-day forum aimed at stemming the brain drain affecting the continent as well as encouraging governments to nurture research in various fields.
Also present at the forum are Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame and host President Macky Sall, who has called on Africans to whip up their interest in scientific innovation.
“The pressure is on to catch up and keep pace so Africa is not left in the wake of technological progress.This starts with a change in our mindset. We really cannot be satisfied with just ending extreme poverty. Our aim is shared and sustainable prosperity. And the key to that is science and innovation, bound by research,” said President Kagame.
He also touched on the apparent waning interest by students to pursue science-related courses at the tertiary level and the lack of investment and collaboration between governments and the private sector to develop the field.
President Macky Sall urged Africa’s youth to revive the spirit of research which made the continent shine in the past.
Researchers at the event are expected to explain how mathematical formulae could be used to create vaccines for yellow fever or Zika.