Science Advice in Africa: Opportunities and Challenges

Moderator:
Mr Christian Acemah
Panellists:
Dr Renee Street
Mrs Jackie Olang Kado
Prof Sameh H. Soror
Prof/Dr Madiagne Diallo

Dr Renee Street

Dr Street is a specialist scientist at the Environment & Health Research Unit of the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC). She also holds an honorary lectureship at the Discipline of Occupational and Environmental Health, University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN). In 2008, she completed her PhD (Botany) at UKZN. Over the past decade, Dr Street’s research has focused on various aspects of heavy metals with particular bias on toxicity with regards to humans and the environment. Dr Street has a keen interest in public health issues and policy development.

Mr Christian Acemah

Christian Acemah is Executive Secretary of the Uganda National Academy of Sciences. He is also Visiting Professor of African Studies at Quest University, Canada.  Previously, Christian was Director for Strategy and Program Development for the African Science Academy Development Initiative of the U.S. National Academies.  Christian has also served as Executive Officer, Policy and Research at UNICEF within the GAVI Secretariat.  He has worked in the Sudan-Uganda program of the Lutheran World Federation. He holds a first degree in Mathematics and Philosophy from St. John’s College and graduate degree in International Development Economics and Strategy from Georgetown University.

Ms Jackie Olang-Kado

Jackie Olang-Kado is the Executive Director of the Network of African Science Academies (NASAC). NASAC, whose secretariat is based in Nairobi, Kenya, is a consortium of twenty-four science academies in Africa, with membership drawn from all spheres of science. Jackie is a Masters of Arts graduate in Project Planning and Management (MA-PPM) from the University of Nairobi.  She also holds a Bachelor of Education degree (BEd.) in Mathematics and Commerce, from the same university. Her specialization is project management for policy in science and she has over sixteen years’ experience working with scientists in Africa. She is an astute proponent for home-grown solutions that will enable Africa realize its potential. Besides her role in NASAC, she also provides input to a number of African initiatives and also serves on the several national and international Committees.

Prof Sameh H. Soror

Sameh Soror is head of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Department at the Faculty of Pharmacy Helwan University and Director of the Centre for Scientific Excellence “Helwan Structural Biology Research (HSBR)”. He graduated from the Faculty of Pharmacy, Cairo University with Excellent (honour) in 1997 and received his Master’s degree in Genetics from Kaiserslautern University, Germany in 2003, followed by a PhD degree in genetic engineering in 2007. He worked as postdoctoral researcher at Free University Brussels from 2008 to 2009 and 2011-2012 and at Flames Institute for Biotechnology (VIB) in Belgium from 2009-2011. From 2013 to 2015 he was elected as Co-Chair of the GYA. He is a member of the National Committee of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and the National Committee of Crystallography in the Egyptian Academy of Scientific Research (ASRT) and served as a board member of the Global Council of the IAP Science Education Program (SEP) from 2013-2015. He is co-founder of the Egyptian Young Academy of Sciences (EYAS) and member of its advisory board. He is a member of the Steering Committee of INGSA-Africa Chapter and a member of the committee which oversees the IAP project on “Harnessing science, engineering and medicine to address Africa’s challenges”, in partnership with the institute of advanced study (Princeton) and funded by Carnegie Cooperation of New York.

Prof/Dr Madiagne Diallo

Currently Director of Planning and Studies of the Economic, Social and Environmental Council of Senegal, he was Consul General of Senegal in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Minister Counsellor in charge of South-South Cooperation at the Presidency of Senegal. He was the supervisor of the Rio de Janeiro city Director Plan revision for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games. He’s currently a member of the African Chapter’s Steering Committee of the International Network for Government Science Advice and President of its Francophone sub-committee. He is Professor of the Department of Industrial Engineering of the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. Doctorate in Decision Computing from the University of Versailles in France, M.Sc. in Optimization and Statistics from Kaiserslautern University, Bachelor in Mathematics from Federal University of Juiz de Fora of Brazil. He received several honours including Honorary Citizen of the State of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil 2014, Academic Achievement Award from the Journal Who is Who in the World 2010, Productivity in Research Award of the National Center for Research and Development of Brazil 2008.

Science advice consists of suggesting the use of scientific knowledge to support a decision. The scientific advisor coordinates a group of experts who are solicited whenever their expertise is needed. In particular, in the event of a crisis, experts quickly suggest possible actions to the policy maker.

Science advice has been implemented in different places around the world. Mostly, it has been integral part of the political systems in the western countries. Yet, other low- and middle-income countries including African countries have employed science advice in their systems.

The International Network for Government Science Advice (INGSA)  is composed of science advice practitioners, policymakers, institutions and academics operating at the interface between science and policy towards  building the capacity of stakeholders in the science-policy nexus (www.ingsa.org).

There are various instruments of science advice across the world. However, there is no perfect model, which can be applied everywhere.

The level of practicing science advice in Africa varies from country to country. This session will present different models of science advice mechanisms, which are used across the continent. It will further highlight the existing opportunities  and explore the challenges of  science advice on the continent.

2018-11-14T18:28:14+00:00