Dr. Mayaki CEO of the NEPAD Agency commends Senegal and Canada for their strong contributions to the initiative
By Andrew Kanyegirire
16th July 2010, Midrand (NEPAD) - Africa recognizes that in order to achieve economic and social progress, countries have to put more emphasis on how to use the sciences as a vehicle for development, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency (NPCA), Dr. Ibrahim Mayaki, said in Midrand today during a meeting with Prof. Neil Turok, Chair of the Next Einstein Initiative (NEI) of the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS).
At the meeting, Prof. Turok briefed Dr. Mayaki on the progress towards the rollout of AIMS Centres across the continent. It is also in this regard that Dr. Mayaki was informed of the new funding from Senegal and Canada. H.E. President Maître Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal has committed land and €1 million towards the establishment of AIMS-Senegal. The Government of Canada has awarded a grant of CDN $20 million to support the AIMS-NEI plan.
AIMS was founded in 2003, in Muizenberg, Cape Town, as a centre for postgraduate education and research dedicated to the development of mathematical sciences in Africa (see www.aims.ac.za). AIMS recruits 50 outstanding students per year from across the continent, teaching widely applicable, high-level math and computing skills and providing exposure to a broad range of cutting-edge science and technology disciplines.
In his remarks, Dr. Mayaki highlighted the exemplary leadership demonstrated by H.E. President Wade through his commitment towards the creation of AIMS-Senegal. He said that this commitment was in line with the NEPAD principles of African ownership and leadership - in terms of Africa taking charge and responsibility for its own development.
He went on to commend the Government of Canada for awarding a grant of CDN $20 million to support the plan. He commented that such international assistance will contribute to building the international competitiveness of African countries, a core principle of NEPAD. He called upon other partners to follow the Canadian example.
“I look forward to working in close partnership with AIMS-NEI and other partners towards speedy implementation,” he said, before going on to add that “Africa urgently needs many AIMS-like centres, in many fields”.
“In the coming decades, the graduates of these centres will make a critical contribution towards peaceful progress and wealth creation across the continent”, said Dr. Mayaki.
AIMS offers a pan-African and inter-cultural platform for learning among the student population. AIMS has so far graduated 305 students from 30 African countries, with 95 percent now continuing to Masters and PhDs; 30% of these graduates are females.
AIMS was designated as a NEPAD Centre of Excellence by the African Ministerial Conference on Science and Technology (AMCOST) in 2003 and won significant ongoing support from the South African Ministries of Education, and Science and Technology.
AIMS also serves as the Secretariat of the African Mathematical Institutes Network (AMI-Net), a flagship programme in the AU/NEPAD Africa’s Science and Technology Consolidated Plan of Action (CPA). At its meeting in January 2009, AMI-Net considered and endorsed the AIMS Next Einstein Initiative (AIMS-NEI, see www.nexteinstein.org), whose vision is “to unlock and nurture scientific talent across Africa, so that within our lifetime we can celebrate an African Einstein”. The initiative plans to establish a network of around 15 AIMS centres across Africa by 2020.