African Leadership of African Science: The Case for the Coalition for African Research and Innovation (CARI)

Moderator: Dr Thomas Kariuki, Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa

Panelist: Mrs Minister Naledi Pandor, Minister of Science and Technology

Panelist: Dr Ibrahim Mayaki, NEPAD Agency

Panelist: Ms Alma Scott, Johnson & Johnson

Panelist: Mr Edward Whiting, Welcome Trust

The quality of life for more than a billion people in Africa hangs in balance with most countries still furthest to go in achieving targets related to poverty and disease. To change this, we need to create conditions that are conducive to scientific and technological innovation: more R&D partners with more skills, more funds, more support, and more ambition. Yet, Africa’s R&D investment continues to lag behind the rest of the world at only 0.42 percent of GDP, which has inevitably compromised the ability of nations to maintain infrastructure, retain their best talent, attract world class scientists, increase scientific productivity and bring research and innovation to scale.Resources spent on the continent are fragmented with individuals, organisations and governments that fund and conduct R&D on the continent not having any mechanism for systematic collaboration, which forgoes efficiencies in the research, development and innovation ecosystem and results in duplication.A coordinated approach among individuals and organisations with the necessary expertise is essential to achieve these efficiencies. However, few stakeholders have the remit to think about the long-term investment and the policy needed to build a thriving African science and technology sector that responds to the needs of the African people.

The Coalition for African Research and Innovation (CARI) represents the first attempt to bring together various stakeholders—governments, private sector, funders and research institutions—to ignite a conversation on how to mobilise support for science that yields commitments to collaboratively meet short-term development objectives while building long-term capacity and to provide the much needed coordinated approach that is being led by the Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa and R&D funders in Africa.



Thomas Kariuki, Kenya Director, Alliance for Accelerating Scientific Excellence in Africa

Thomas Kariuki is Interim Director of the African Academy of Sciences (AAS) and Director of the Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa, launched in 2015 by the AAS and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Agency. An internationally recognised immunologist, Kariuki leads AESA’s efforts to accelerate world-class research, foster innovation, and promote scientific leadership on the continent. He oversees the funding of research, development and commercialisation of novel, high-impact solutions and is cultivating strategic partnerships with academic institutions, governments and industry globally to transform Africa’s future through science-led, knowledge based economies. Prior to his appointment at AESA, Kariuki served as Director of the Institute of Primate Research/National Museums of Kenya. He has published widely on vaccines and diagnostics development for schistosomiasis (Bilharzia), malaria and co-infections, and on policy related to biomedical research and funding. He is recipient of several international grants and awards.



Minister Naledi Pandor, Minister of Science and Technology

Naledi Pandor is South Africa’s Minister of Science and Technology. A life of exile from 1961 until 1984 resulted in an international flavour to her education. She holds a BA from the University of Botswana and Swaziland and an MA in Education from the University of London. In 1992 she studied for a Diploma in Higher Education, Administration and Leadership at Bryn Mawr in the USA. In 1997 she completed an MA in Linguistics at the University of Stellenbosch and a Diploma in Leadership in Development at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, while she was serving as an MP.

Pandor became an MP in 1994 and has amassed impressive experience in positions of public office, including deputy chief whip of the ANC in the National Assembly from 1995 to 1998, deputy chairperson of the National Council of Provinces in 1998, and its Chairperson from 1999-2004. Her experience in education policy planning made her a welcome appointment as South Africa’s Minister of Education in 2004. She has been a member of cabinet ever since, serving as Minister of Education (2004-2009), Minister of Science and Technology (2009-2012), Minister of Home Affairs (2012-2014), and currently as Minister of Science and Technology.

Pandor has received honorary doctorates from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, University of Stellenbosch, and the University of Lisbon (Portugal).

She was awarded the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s 2016 Science Diplomacy Award, for promoting development through science in South Africa and abroad.Jean Lebel, the President of Canada’s International Development Research Centre, recommended her for the award and wrote that she is leading numerous efforts to promote the research capacities of young and emerging scientists, particularly female scientists. “Under Minister Pandor’s leadership,” he continued, “South Africa has become a catalyst for developing scientific capabilities across the African continent”. The Association is world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal Science.

UNISA awarded her the Outstanding Educator Award, an award reserved for alumni and extraordinary South Africans. On awarding her Germany’s highest federal award, the Grand Cross of Merit, the German Ambassador to South Africa, Walter Lindner, said: “Pandor is for us a symbol of the new South Africa: modern, innovative, dedicated to scientific progress and also outstanding female leadership”.

She is married to Sharif Pandor and they have four children and two grandchildren.

Ibrahim Mayaki,South Africa Chief Executive Officer, NEPAD Agency

Ibrahim AssaneMayaki is the Chief Executive Officer of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Planning and Coordinating Agency. Mayaki joined the NEPAD Agency, an African Union body based in South Africa, in 2009 after holding key positions in his home country that included that of prime minister from 1997 to 2000. Prior to him being prime minister, Mayaki headed the ministries of Integration and Cooperation and Foreign Affairs in Niger in 1996 and 1997, respectively. He guestlectured in international relations and organisations and led research at the Research Center on Europe and the Contemporary World at France’s University of Paris XI from 2000 to 2004. In 2004, he left the University of Paris XI to join the Senegal-based Rural Development in West and Central Africa where he was executive director until his appointment as the CEO of the NEPAD Agency. The 12th AU Assembly endorsed DrMayaki’s appointment in February 2009.


Alma Scott, Head, Africa Operations & Partnrships Johnson & Johnson

Alma Scott is the head of Operations and Partnerships for Johnson & Johnson Global Public Health (GPH), where she draws on more than 25 years of experience in finance, marketing, sales and business development across consumer and pharmaceutical sectors. Within GPH, Alma established and leads national and regional offices in South Africa, Kenya and Ghana to deliver the Johnson & Johnson GPH market access strategy, and partner with governmental and non-governmental organizations to advance the global public health agenda. During her tenure with Johnson & Johnson and other pharmaceutical companies, Alma has held leadership roles in finance, marketing, sales and business development. Most recently, she served as Vice President, Janssen Business Development, focused on delivering future growth for the Immunology franchise through licensing and collaborations. Previously, Alma was responsible for business development in Virology, Women’s Health & Urology, and Metabolics.

Alma joined Johnson & Johnson in 1993. She holds a Master of Management degree from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern and a Bachelor of Science in management and human resource development from the University of Connecticut. Alma is based in Cape Town, South Africa.


Edward Whiting, Director of Policy and Chief of Staff, Welcome Trust

Ed is responsible for our work to influence policymakers around the world in support of our objectives, for example including that Brexit enables excellent international science to flourish, that we are improving our global capacity to respond to epidemics and anti-microbial resistance, and that we are supporting scientists and researchers to enable rapid takeup of their work, where there is potential for a significant positive impact on health. As Chief of Staff he is responsible for supporting the development of Wellcome’s new priority areas and how to deliver our existing priorities, working closely with our Chair and Director to make sure we have identified and are delivering on our top priorities and promises, and with other members of Executive Leadership Team to coordinate our big decisions.

Before joining Wellcome in September 2016, Ed worked in a number of Whitehall social and financial policy departments, including HM Treasury’s financial stability team during the 2008-09 financial crisis. He was most recently at No 10 Downing Street as Deputy Principal Private Secretary to the Prime Minister, leading on public services.

Ed was awarded the OBE for public service and services to No10 Downing Street in the June 2016 Queen’s Birthday Honours list.




By | 2017-12-01T12:46:19+00:00 October 9th, 2017|