Eminent African Scientists receive the 2014 Kwame Nkrumah Scientific Awards supported by EU (10/02/2015)

The 2014 continental African Union Kwame Nkrumah Scientific Awards, which are sponsored by the EU have been presented during the 24th African Union Summit by the new African Union Chair Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe and the Chairperson of the African Union Commission Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma,

  • The Kwame Nkrumah Scientific Awards recognizes leading African scientists who have made major scientific contributions to addressing Africa’s challenges.

This year's continental awards have been presented to:

  • Prof. Salim Abdool Karim, Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research, South Africa, winner in the field of “Earth and Life Sciences” for his work in HIV/AIDS research and
  • Prof. Timoleon Crepin Kofane, University of Yaoundé, Cameroon, winner in the field of “Basic Science, Technology and Innovation” for his work in physics.

Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union Commission in her remarks, said that the Act establishing the Union recognizes the need to embark on an ambitious strategic science and technology development programme, aimed at contributing to socio-economic development of the continent.

 

Formation en Ressources Humaines à Agadez en partenariat avec la HACP

Dr. Zuma further added , the Commission has full confidence that the awardees and indeed the African scientists, realize the great responsibility and trust bestowed upon them to ensure that science, technology and innovation drive socio-economic development and improvement of the lives of African citizens through tackling issues of poverty, employment, increasing population, health risks, food insecurity, depleted natural resources, water, energy, environment and climate change among others. She further thanked the Development Partners, particularly the European Commission for their unwavering support for this programme and many more programmes in the Commission.

The European Union wishes to express its congratulations to the laureates of this prestigious award.

Since the launch of the Kwame Nkrumah Scientific awards in September 2008 by the African Union, the European Union has contributed over € 2.3 million to the awards in line with its commitment to support the African Union's initiatives on higher education, science and technology.

The Kwame Nkrumah Scientific Awards cover three levels: national – for young scientists, regional – for women scientists, and continental – for scientists of any age and gender having made major scientific contributions to address Africa’s challenges.  On 19 December 2014, the regional scientific awards for female African researchers were awarded to researchers from Cameroon, Egypt, Ethiopia and Ghana.

The EU salutes the leading Africa women researchers who received the Kwame Nkrumah Regional Scientific Awards last December. Increasing the participation of women in research, their opportunities to contribute fully and their recognition, as well mainstreaming gender issues in research itself, are an integral part of good research policy. The EU strives to encourage the fullest contribution of women to science, by ensuring gender equality and gender mainstreaming in research because encouraging gender diversity supports scientific excellence.

Background

EU cooperation with Africa in S&T

Since the launch of the Joint Africa-EU Strategy in 2007, the European Union and Africa have been working together to develop a shared policy for science, research and technology and work towards joint actions. But even before this strategy was launched, African scientists have been participating in the EU's framework programmes for research and development. For instance in the 7th Framework Programme, which covered 2007 to 2013, the EU supported some 600 projects involving African researchers working with their European counterparts, in particular in the areas of health, agriculture & food security and on environmental issues. These African researchers received some € 200 million for their work in these research projects. This strong and mutually beneficial collaboration continues in the newly-launched Horizon 2020 programme. The EU also supports the African Union Research Grants, under which 20 projects related to post-harvest and agriculture, renewable and sustainable energy, and water and sanitation are already being implemented, with a new phase of the programme about to begin.

The importance of EU-Africa cooperation on science, technology and innovation was confirmed at the 4th EU-Africa Summit in April 2014 in the EU-Africa Declaration and Roadmap for 2014-2017.

In December 2014, the EU's new Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation – Mr Carlos Moedas – made his first visit to Africa for the launch of the second European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP2), a € 2 billion programme to fight infectious diseases in Africa over the next 10 years.