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African women scientists key to research and development

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Africa needs more investment in its women researchers to tackle the challenges facing the continent.

Science, technology and innovations (STI) can reduce inequalities, generate revenue for Africa, and support sustainable and inclusive development across the continent, said Vera Songwe, UN under-secretary-general and executive secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa, during the launch of a new book that features 23 prominent African women scientists.

The researchers come from various disciplines, ranging from malaria and neglected diseases to astronomy and material science.

The book, Earth, Oceans and Skies, is firmly anchored in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, with a focus on ending poverty, promoting gender equality and supporting climate action. The authors hope the book can make STI an integral part of socio-economic development, support women’s efforts in science fields and motivate young girls and women to take up science as a career.

Folashade Ogunsola, professor of clinical microbiology at the University of Lagos and one of the featured researchers, said consistent research training and offering research grants to African female scientists will help build up confidence in women to drive STI to offer solutions to challenges facing Africa.

Speaking to Nature Africa, Ogunsola said it is important for African scientists to tell their stories to inspire robust support systems for women in research. “It is possible that many women are doing many things in science that go untold. This [book] is important as the narrative is from Africa, and we need to tell our stories from our perspectives,” she said.

“I am convinced that proper research training for at least five to ten years for African women scientists at all career levels will give the continent the desired change that can boost sustainable development,” said Ogunsola.

See also  Fuel prices: People now prefer to walk short distances than to board vehicle – GPRTU

Source:nature.com | Gilbert Nakweya

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