Meeting key figure in African science

Today was the first day of a 10 day trip to Africa on behalf of The Scientist to talk to researchers about the linkurl:state of science;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/22793/ on the continent. On my inaugural stop, I visited John Mugabe, director of the science and technology council of the linkurl:New Economic Partnership for African Development;http://www.nepad.org/ (NEPAD), whose office is in a research campus on the edge of Pretoria, South Africa. Mugabe is not a vociferous man

Stephen Pincock
Apr 3, 2006
Today was the first day of a 10 day trip to Africa on behalf of The Scientist to talk to researchers about the linkurl:state of science;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/22793/ on the continent. On my inaugural stop, I visited John Mugabe, director of the science and technology council of the linkurl:New Economic Partnership for African Development;http://www.nepad.org/ (NEPAD), whose office is in a research campus on the edge of Pretoria, South Africa. Mugabe is not a vociferous man, and when he talks about the signs of change that are rippling across the linkurl:African science;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/15809/ community, he chooses his words carefully to avoid hyperbole. Nevertheless, I've come away from the interview with the strong sense of his hope and optimism about shifts taking place in the big picture for science in Africa. He pointed to several indicators that science is gaining political capital on the continent. First and perhaps most important was the establishment in 2003...
-scientist.com/article/display/22793/ on the continent. On my inaugural stop, I visited John Mugabe, director of the science and technology council of the linkurl:New Economic Partnership for African Development;http://www.nepad.org/ (NEPAD), whose office is in a research campus on the edge of Pretoria, South Africa. Mugabe is not a vociferous man, and when he talks about the signs of change that are rippling across the linkurl:African science;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/15809/ community, he chooses his words carefully to avoid hyperbole. Nevertheless, I've come away from the interview with the strong sense of his hope and optimism about shifts taking place in the big picture for science in Africa. He pointed to several indicators that science is gaining political capital on the continent. First and perhaps most important was the establishment in 2003 of an intergovernmental group devoted to science and technology ? linkurl:known as;http://www.nepadst.org/steercom/index.shtml AMCOST, African Ministerial Council on Science and Technology. Second, Mugabe noted that regional collaborations are also getting set up to organize and coordinate science efforts in all parts of the continent. And third, he reminded me, in the past couple of years several African governments have for the first time established fully fledged science ministries. One prime example is Mozambique. One of the drivers of all this high level interest in science is a political realization that Africa needs to be a generator of research outputs, not just a user, he said. "International agencies have consistently told Africa that it should not put its resources into knowledge production," he said, but NEPAD, AMCOST and their allies are trying to turn that thinking on its head. Mugabe doesn't imagine that science revolution is going to sweep the continent any time soon, but seems to feel that change is possible. "It takes time and energy, but it has to be done," he said.

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