Earlier this week, the African Development Bank (AfDB), led by President Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, and the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS), led by Patron of the High-Level Advisory Council and former President of Nigiera, Olesegun Obasanjo, initiated a groundbreaking relationship to build an industry-led research institution. The meeting was held at AfDB headquarters in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.
AfDB and AIMS discussed a 10-year partnership proposal to build mathematical and scientific capacity in Africa, strengthen industry linkages, and create a competitive industrial and innovative space.
“If we are going to make substantial progress in industrialization within the next decade, be truly visible in the rapidly unfolding fourth industrial revolution and rise effectively to the challenge of creating decent and sustainable jobs for our youths, the continent must produce well motivated and well trained young innovators,” said former President Obasanjo. He praised AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina for championing Africa’s development.
AfDB President Adesina pledged his support and reiterated the Bank’s willingness to partner with AIMS. “We must recognize that the world is moving fast. Consequently, how can Africa position itself in a rapidly changing world so that it doesn’t become disadvantaged? We are a knowledge-driven Bank and think our partnership will help us build quantum knowledge for growth. We are excited about the focus on young people. We also like the regional integration dimension of the work that AIMS does.”
H.E. Olusegun Obasanjo formally presenting AIMS Proposal to Akinwumi Adesina, AfDB President
A meeting will be convened over the next few months to review AIMS funding request. President Adesina urged the private sector and key benefitting industries from AIMS research and strategic foresight in science, technology and innovation, to attend the meeting.
Professor Neil Turok, founder and Chair of AIMS, described the Bank as a leading institution in Africa and said the Institute is excited about the prospect of a partnership. Professor Turok stated AIMS’ research and industry-led capacity development aligns with the Bank’s High 5s, including its regional integration targets. “AIMS is African-owned, African-run, African-operated, but it hosts the best scientists in the world to give African young scientists the skills they need.”
Prof. Turok advanced that AIMS could have the same impact on industry as MIT has in the U.S. “We want to create the same for Africa. We want to work with the African Development Bank to develop sustainable funding.”
Neil Turok, Chair AIMS Board, Akinwumi Adesina AfDB President & Thierry Zomahoun, President & CEO,
The proposed partnership would see each African country secure 100 to 250 world-class specialists in mathematical sciences by 2020 to lead research and innovation in various fields. The total cost of the partnership program is projected at US $54.685 million with initial bridging financing of US $5 million to build mathematical capacity in Africa and called for the Bank’s support to establish the African Presidential Resource Center. President and CEO of AIMS and Founder and Chair of the Next Einstein Forum Thierry Zomahoun explained that “bridging finance is needed to build upon and sustain the momentum in AIMS’ ongoing expansion of mathematical sciences education, training, research and industry initiative on the continent.”
He went on to say, “With the generous support of donors since 2003, AIMS has been able to mobilize and commit more than $60 million in support of fully funded scholarships for the brightest young African scholars to obtain master’s and PhD education and training in the mathematical sciences and to implement an industry initiative.”
Global Group Director, Communications and Public Engagement
For the African Development Bank