$100m for African tailored research

A fund of $100m has been launched by the Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa (AESA) to help African researchers concentrate on research projects that directly address the needs of people living on the continent.

AESA, which was created by the African Academy of Sciences which is based in Nairobi, Kenya, has created the fund to help African researchers move away from concentrating on research priorities handed down to them by donors from outside the continent.

Encouragingly, the fund is already receiving backing from African leaders notably Mauritian President Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, who helped the set up the fund and Africa governments are expected to invest 1% of their GDP in scientific work to compliment efforts of the fund.

Speaking to the Media following the launch of the fund in September 2015, President Fakim said the fund will help African researchers concentarte on research that solve problems being ecountered by people living in Africa.

“Priorities for donor-backed research have often been set by people outside the continent meaning that some African issues have not been addressed. We need to be able to set our own agenda,” she said adding the future of the African continent depends on boosting African Research.

To start with, the AESA will be supporting the work of seven African researchers across the continent. These include  Zimbabwe’s Dixon Chibanda who is trying to tackle the lack of mental health provision in his country, and South Africa’s Thumbi Ndung’u, who is researching how best to deal with tuberculosis and HIV on the continent. Researchers from Ghana, Mali, Uganda and Kenya are also being backed by the new fund.

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