TORONTO, May 30, 2014 /CNW/ - The African Institute for Mathematical Science - Next Einstein Initiative will finalize a deal with H.E. Jakaya Kiwete, President of Tanzania, to open its fifth centre of excellence for training, research and outreach for African youth at a meeting in Toronto today.
"Tanzania will be our fifth centre and we are proud of what we've accomplished to date," says Neil Turok, AIMS founder and director of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Canada. "AIMS has graduated 560 Africans with advanced degrees in mathematical sciences and more than a third have been women."
The arrangement was finalized at a meeting of top officials from the Tanzanian government and AIMS-NEI representatives in Toronto following the Canadian Summit on Maternal, Newborn and Child Health. Tanzania's President co-chaired the summit with Prime Minister Stephen Harper. The plan will see the centre open in Tanzania this Fall.
"We are pleased to bring our concept to Tanzania. We bring together top global scholars in math and science to teach and research with Africa's brightest students," says Thierry Zomahoun, executive director of the AIMS Global Secretariat. "Our graduates then use these skills to tackle African development issues ranging from, disease and famine, to environmental degradation, illiteracy and poverty. AIMS graduates have a broad-based training and are talented problem solvers and innovators."
The expansion is timely as economies in Africa have been experiencing phenomenal growth in the first decade of this century. Many countries had seen economic growth rates greater than 4 per cent and these high growth rates are predicted to continue until 2015. Tanzania has emerged as an economic leader in the East. Its economy at $31.9 billion (USD) grew 7.0 per cent in 2013. Tanzania's economy is projected to grow by 7.2 per cent to $34.9 billion (USD) in 2014. As a result, the demand is exploding for a generation of youth that can apply science and math to ensure rapid and stable social and political development.
Yet, only six per cent of post-secondary aged Africans are enrolled in apprenticeships, colleges or universities, compared to the global average of 26 per cent (UNESCO Institute of Statistics, Montreal, 2010). In Europe and North America the enrollment ratio is as high as 80 per cent. The AIMS-NEI is playing a major part in closing this gap in Africa, by opening centres of excellence for training, research and outreach. The plan is to create a network of 15 centres across Africa graduating more than 1,500 mathematical sciences experts - half will be women - annually by the year 2023.
"We are grateful for the support of the Government of Tanzania for the Next Einstein Initiative," says Zomahoun. "This support confirms it is part of a growing group of African nations that want to raise Africa's profile as a continent where science is ennobled and applied to solve global issues." He also acknowledged the support from the Government of Canada, through the International Development Research Centre.
Turok, a South African-born physicist known for his work in cosmology, developing and testing theories of the big bang, founded AIMS in 2003. He believes that building capacity in mathematical science is one of the smartest ways to contribute to Africa's development, by investing directly in talented young people, in an efficient, transparent and highly cost-effective way.
Why focus on mathematical sciences? Because mathematics underlies every modern technology from plumbing to electricity, smartphones to satellites. Its applications range from modelling and planning for economics, communications, transport, energy and health. Yet, it is also completely cross-cultural and free to share. Mathematical science is the foundation for development. Many AIMS graduates have gone on to leading positions in civil institutions and NGOs, as well as in universities, research centres and companies across Africa.
About AIMS and the Next Einstein Initiative
The African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) is a pan-African network of centers of excellence for post graduate education, research and outreach in mathematical sciences. Its mission is to enable Africa's brightest students to flourish as independent thinkers, problem solvers and innovators capable of propelling Africa's future scientific, educational and economic self-sufficiency. AIMS was founded in 2003 and has produced more than 560 graduates, about one third of whom are women. The goal of the Next Einstein Initiative is to build 15 centres of excellence across Africa by 2023. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
To learn more more: www.nexteinstein.org.
SOURCE: African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS)
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