Panafrican News Agency

AIMS, AfDB commit to transform industry-led research in Africa

Kigali, Rwanda (PANA) - The African Development Bank (AfDB) and the African Institute of Mathematics and Sciences (AIMS) have initiated a landmark relationship aimed at building an industry-led research institution in the league of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, according to the website of AfDB.

The website said former President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo, led a delegation of the High-Level Advisory Council of AIMS to a meeting with AfDB in Abidjan, where a 10-year partnership proposal was made.

The main focus of the deal will be on building the mathematical and scientific capacity in Africa, strengthen industry linkages, and create a competitive industrial and innovative space.

Obasanjo, the Patron of the High-Level Advisory Council for AIMS’ Next Einstein Initiative, with former Ghanaian President John Kufuor as Vice-Chair, described the visit as a huge opportunity for the Bank and AIMS to forge an extraordinary partnership to support African countries in the expansion of mathematical science education, training and research.

During the meeting, Obasangjo commended AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina for championing Africa’s development and gave the assurance that the proposed partnership is critical for the continent’s future.

"If we are going to make substantial progress in industrialization within the next decade, the continent must produce well motivated and well trained young innovators," he said.

Speaking in the same vein, Adesina stressed the need for Africa to develop with pride and pledged the Bank’s commitment to build a partnership with AIMS that would allow the continent to compete with the rest of the world.

"We are a knowledge-driven Bank and think our partnership will help us build quantum knowledge for growth. We are excited about the focus on young people. We also like the regional integration dimension of the work that AIMS does," Adesina said.

In addition, the Bank President promised to convene a meeting of donors to discuss AIMS’ funding request, but stressed the need for greater participation by the private sector, particularly key industries that benefit from the institution’s research and work in science, technology and innovation.

While describing the involvement of industry-led research as the driving force of the Silicon Valley, he also made a case for venture capital and private equity funds to support research outputs from the continent.

The aim of the partnership programme is to ensure that each of the 54 African countries has an additional 100-250 world-class specialists in mathematical sciences by 2020.

The main mission within these efforts are to lead research and innovation in various fields where the total cost of the partnership programme is projected at US$54.685 million.

AIMS is seeking bridging finance of US$5 million to build mathematical capacity in Africa and called for the Bank’s support to establish the African Presidential Resource Centre, AIMS President, Thierry Zomahoun, was quoted by the statement as saying.

"With the generous support of donors since 2003, AIMS has been able to mobilise and commit more than US$60 million in support of fully funded scholarships for the brightest young African scholars to obtain master’s and PhD education and training in the mathematical sciences and to implement an industry initiative," he said.
-0- PANA TWA/MA 19April2018