Kigali will next week become the one stop center for science and technology where Africa will draw formulas to solve current and future challenges.
Hundreds of thinkers in science, policy, industry and civil society in Africa will next week converge in Rwanda to brainstorm on current challenges and how science can be applied to solve them.
Over 1000 participants are expected to participate in the three day Next Einstein Forum (NEF) which will convene a global science and technology summit in Kigali from March 26-28, 2018.
“NEF2018 wants to spark new ideas, raise awareness on the possible impact of current and emerging technologies,” AIMS communiqué reads adding that it will guide the continent on how to apply Sciences, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in real life.
For example, this forum will take place at a time Africa faces energy challenge since the electricity rate is so far 40%, which puts the continent at the last position worldwide in energy.
“The region account for 13% of the world’s population, but only 4% of its energy demand,” Wilfrid Lauriano do Rego, Vice Chairperson, Terrawatt Initiative and AIMS partner disclosed, revealing that over 640 million Africans have no access to energy.
Energy annual per capita consumption in Sub-Saharan Africa is estimated to 180kWh compared to 13,000kWh in USA and 6,500kWh in Europe.
However, the continent has untapped resources that would help bridge the gap. The continent has over 10TW of solar potential, 350GW of hydroelectric potential, 110GW of wind potential & an additional 15GW of geothermal potential according to Lauriano.
Another pressing issue is the ratio of medical doctors. While the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends at least 1,000 patients per doctor, Quartz, guide to the new global economy, indicates that in Africa one doctor takes care of 5,000 patients and there is only 0.19 doctors per 1,000 in Sub Saharan Africa.
According to NEF, showcasing innovative solutions will enable African scientists use the “brainpower” to translate basic science into impactful results.
NEF believes that “innovation should drive economic growth through the production and the dissemination of knowledge.”
While NEF admits that there are more factors that could contribute to the failure to translate knowledge into products, it believes there should be change in the way sciences are taught and learnt.
“Innovative concepts can either be turned into a working prototype or fail to progress. Factors that contribute to failure include lack of raw materials, inability to articulate the potential benefits, poor technical skills, inadequate infrastructure, and lack of funding among others,” Dr. Youssef Travaly, Vice-President of Science, Innovation and Partnerships of NEF said.