Eminent African scientists recognised by the African Union with the support of the EU (01/02/2016)

The Kwame Nkrumah continental awards for 2015 were presented during the opening of the 26th African Union Heads of State and Government Summit in Addis Ababa Ethiopia. The EU has sponsored the prestigious Kwame Nkrumah Scientific Awards since 2009. Under this initiative, awards are made to top African scientists at national, regional and continental levels.

The 2015 laureates of the continental awards are:

For Basic Science, Technology and Innovation Award, Prof. Tebello Nyokong, Rhodes University, South Africa, for her work in the field of nanoscience, in particular for applications in the health and environment areas. Prof. Nyokong has received many international awards including the L’Oréal-UNESCO award for “Women in Science” in 2009.

For Life and Earth Sciences Award, Prof. Umezuruike Linus Opara from Nigeria, based at Stellenbosch University, South Africa, for his work in agricultural engineering, in particular on postharvest research. Prof. Opara has received many international awards including the IMPRESSA Award (Impact Re-search and Science in Africa) by the Regional Universities’ Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture in Africa (RUFORUM) in 2014.

It is worth noting that a previous laureate of the regional awards for female scientists is the current President of Mauritius, Professor Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, for her work in phytochemistry.

The European Union's support for the Kwame Nkrumah Scientific Awards is part of the EU-Africa collaboration in Science, Technology & Innovation (STI), under the Human Development component of the JAES. This comprises budget support to the AUC's Department of Human Resources, Science & Technology (HRST) led by Commissioner Martial De-Paul Ikounga, as well as support for the African Union Research Grants (AURG), which will launch its next call for proposals in the coming weeks with a budget of €8.5 million.

In addition, there is a very active High Level Policy Dialogue (HLPD) on STI mediated by the EC and AUC and involving Member States from both regions. The HLPD has identified a set of research priorities for Food and Nutrition Security and Sustainable Agriculture, which was endorsed at the last EU-Africa Summit and is being implemented through Horizon 2020 and AURG programmes.

Kristalina Georgieva, Vice-President of the European Commission in charge of Budget and Human Resources presented the awards in the presence of Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union at the opening ceremony of the 26th African Union Heads of State and Government Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.