News / Africa

    Will the Next Einstein Come From Africa?

    Senegalese President Macky Sall and Rwandan President Paul Kagame are seen speaking at the opening of the "Next Einstein Forum" in Dakar, March 8, 2016.
    Senegalese President Macky Sall and Rwandan President Paul Kagame are seen speaking at the opening of the "Next Einstein Forum" in Dakar, March 8, 2016.
    Alpha Jallow

    The next Einstein will come from Africa. At least that is the premise of a global gathering of scientists, government representatives and innovators in Senegal this week.

    The organizers of the Next Einstein Forum say sub-Saharan Africa currently contributes just one percent of the world's scientific research output. But that, they say, is not for lack of ingenuity, but rather lack of opportunity on the continent.

    Senegalese President Macky Sall and his Rwandan counterpart Paul Kagame opened the forum in Dakar with pledges to invest more in scientific education and research.

    In recent years, both countries have opened specialized institutions for science, math and technology.

    Flavia Schiegel is UNESCO's Under Secretary General for the Natural Sciences. She says brain drain is a problem.

    "Well, I think if Africa and African countries, like Senegal or Rwanda explained today, can actually bring a future to young people, the opportunities for good professional careers, I would say these young people either would not leave or they would come back again to be reunited with their families and friends in their home countries," Schiegel said.

    FILE - A boy observes a solar eclipse during an event organized by the Sudanese Society for Astronomy and Space Science on the banks of the Nile river in Khartoum Nov. 3, 2013.
    FILE - A boy observes a solar eclipse during an event organized by the Sudanese Society for Astronomy and Space Science on the banks of the Nile river in Khartoum Nov. 3, 2013.

    Need for basics

    Ghanaian researcher Victor Osei, a forum participant, says scientists who remain in Africa encounter daily challenges.

    "If you are scientist doing a science project, you obviously need certain things to be available, the least of which might be something probably like electricity. I can't imagine a science research project that has to be stopped because there is no good supply of electricity for instance,” said Osei. “These are all things that when we talk about the enabling environment, we need to think about," he added.

    Organizers of the forum say today the continent loses out on about $4 billion each year when Africans go abroad for jobs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

    But the managing director of the Next Einstein Forum, Arun Sharma, says Africa is poised for a scientific boom.

    "I think there is also a huge amount of political will which is now coming up, and it's clear that the politicians, not all the politicians but many of the decision makers, are recognizing the necessity for science and technology to be a driver for Africa," he said.

    Sharma added that the goal of this week's forum is to showcase the work of young African scientists and help connect them with opportunities for education and funding.

    You May Like

    Multimedia Obama Calls on Americans to Help the Families of Its War Dead

    In last Memorial Day of his presidency, Obama lays wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery

    The Strife of the Party: Will Trump Permanently Alter Republicans?

    While billionaire mogul's no-holds-barred style, high-energy delivery are what rocketed him to nomination, they also have created rift between party elites and his supporters

    China's Education Reforms Spark Protest

    Beijing is putting a quota system in place to increase the number of students from poor regions attending universities

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora