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Looking to 2014

Last year was a landmark year for us at the charity, making progress with our projects on the ground in Angola and Mozambique, and also – crucially – expanding our campaign for science, technology and innovation across Africa and around the world. And I’m delighted to be starting 2014 full of optimism and excitement about what’s in front of us.

Primarily, it’s because I feel the debate around Africa’s scientific development is really gathering momentum. There are some truly fantastic organisations working across the continent, many of whom we are blessed to partner with, and with each day passing the voices are getting louder and prouder. Increasingly, when I speak to people or at events, whether in my own country of Angola, across the region or around the world, conversations are now evolving from just ‘why’, to ‘how’. Not just why should we invest in science and technology, but how can we, and how can we do it effectively, sustainably and inclusively. This is not cause for complacency, but cause for great hope and optimism. Above making the case for investment in STI, we must now seek to more effectively map solutions to these challenges of implementation we face across our beloved continent.

This year, we will be working hard to keep this movement growing and help formulate these answers. We are looking to actively support the expanding role of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and the African Union Commission, the lead co-ordinating agencies for the Post 2015 African Common Position Paper, and we will be investing in creating more publicly engaging platforms and vehicles for African science around the world.

And alongside nurturing the development of our PhD Centre projects in Angola and Mozambique with relevant public and private sector partners, we are also looking to expand our Partners Forum across Africa to help develop new exciting programmes on the continent. The Partners Forum is designed not just as a fantastic place for organisations to pool and share knowledge, but as a dynamic resource and foundation for future STI innovations. Already, in its first year, we are looking to launch a pilot m-learning and skills project in Ghana as a result of the Forum’s discussions, and we are hoping for much more of the same this year.

Dr Alvaro SobrinhoLast year, I wrote on the need for a clear, long-term and African-owned science agenda. As we continue to drive towards this ultimate goal, supporting regional and continent-wide benchmarks and targets, my hope for 2014 is that increasingly we can add more detail to the ‘how’, the implementation. As Prof Nyokong said to us this week, Africa has the ambition it needs. It’s now about delivery. And that’s why we’ll continue to actively reach out around the world to find partners who want to join us and help deliver that impact.

We hope you’ll be part of the journey

Featured photo: Hope, Marwa Morgan. Taken: January 14, 2011.

Dr Alvaro Sobrinho

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