Can the next Einstein come from Africa?

Of the many discoveries the world will always remember Albert Eisten for, one recently made the headlines, when on Feb. 11, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory announced the detection of gravitational waves. The warping and rippling of space as predicted by Einstein has now been verified. The German scientist who died in 1955 had an IQ of 160, published more than 300 scientific papers, amid countless display of genius. But will any African be able to repeat Einstein’s feat?

In less than a week, the first global forum for science on African soil will take place in Dakar, Senegal, from 8-10 March 2016. Ahead of this, The Next Einstein Forum (NEF) has launched a global call for support for Africa’s scientific and technological emergence with a video which asks the question, “Can the next Einstein come from Africa?” The  video calls on game changers from Africa and around the world to support Africa’s scientific renaissance.

The Next Einstein Forum Global Gathering 2016, Africa’s premiere global science and technology forum is convened by the NEF, a global platform that brings together leaders in industry, policy, science, and technology. The first edition of this biennial event will set the stage for a vibrant conversation on transforming Africa and the world through a renewed and increased focus on science, technology and innovation. The NEF is an initiative of the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) in partnership with the Robert Bosch Stiftung.

“At more than 700 participants from 80 countries already registered, 52 percent of them young people and 40 percent women, we are expecting a truly global forum that discusses opportunities, innovations, and solutions. The NEF Global Gathering will unveil Africa’s global contributions to science and technology and as the forum opens on International Women’s Day, we will specifically acknowledge the contributions and address the challenges faced by female scientists,” said Thierry Zomahoun, NEF Chair and President and CEO of AIMS.

The NEF Global Gathering 2016 will showcase the innovations and contributions of the NEF’s 15 Fellows – some of Africa’s brightest young scientists who are on the frontline of Africa’s science renaissance. Flying under the radar, these scientists have been tackling some the continent’s most urgent technological and development challenges – from, big data and cybersecurity to hypertension, heart disease, immunology and public health.

“A great idea can come from anywhere in the world, and there is no doubt that new and novel scientific ideas to solve global health challenges will come from Africa,” said Seema Kumar, Vice President, Innovation, Global Health and Science Policy, Johnson & Johnson and Member of the NEF International Steering Committee.

“The scientific talent in Africa is outstanding with the potential to produce the next Einstein, Pasteur or Madame Curie. The world needs the best science from across the globe to solve the medical challenges of our lifetime like HIV, TB, and other infectious diseases like Ebola and Zika virus, and non-communicable diseases like hypertension and diabetes.”