Abuja, 11 Dec. 2017 (ACBF) – The African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) has exhorted twelve more young African women scientists and engineers whom it sponsored to obtain masters degrees in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) to apply their skills in earnest for the transformation of Africa. Dr. Coffi Noumon, Special Advisor in the Office of the Executive Secretary of ACBF made the call in Abuja, Nigeria, during the 7th Commencement ceremony of the African University of Science and Technology (AUST) where the beneficiaries of ACBF scholarships received their Master of Science parchments. They were among 102 MSc graduates of that pan-African institution – having studied in the fields of petroleum engineering; pure and applied mathematics; computer science; material science and engineering; and theoretical and applied physics.
“We of ACBF are very proud of our contribution to excellence in Science, Technology, Engineering and mathematics (STEM) in Africa, especially through our partnership with AUST since 2012 where we have fully funded courses of 54 persons leading to Master of Science degrees and 15 leading to Doctorate degrees, most of whom are excelling in both academia and industry to innovatively contribute to Africa’s transformation,” Dr. Noumon told the press during the commencement ceremony.
“We believe that our support to the training of highly skilled scientists and engineers at AUST as well as our funding of the training of thousands of agricultural scientists, economists and public sector managers is proving very useful Africa at this crucial period when the continent is pursuing robust development plans such as Agenda 2063 as well as sub-regional and national transformation plans,” he added, while stating that Foundation is beckoning on more partners and African member States to support its programs for a skills revolution in Africa which will enhance the continent’s sustainable development.
Ms. Lois Okereke Chinwendu, an ACBF-sponsored candidate who emerged as the best student in Pure and Applied Mathematics of the just graduated class expressed gratitude to the Foundation and said targeted support of the kind given by ACBF would help make a difference in the pursuit of Africa’s development. She expressed the hope that ACBF will continue to acquire the resources needed to keep supporting excellence in science and engineering especially among African women to help look for lasting solutions to issues affecting the continent’s development.
Meanwhile, the President of AUST – Prof. Kingston Nyamapfene remarked that “with major support from our partners such as the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF), we have been able to attract top notch faculty as well as some of the brightest students on the continent, many of whom would not have had the opportunity to receive high quality post-graduate education, without the type of financial support which ACBF has provided in the form of scholarships.”
Referring to ACBF’s support that specifically targeted competent young women to encourage the increased participation of women in Science and Engineering fields, Prof. Nyamapfene added that “already, we see evidence of how those young women are becoming the vanguard of a generation that will make science and technology the cornerstone for Africa’s transformation.”
One such young women sponsored by ACBF, Ms. Blessing Ugwoke, very recently won the prestigious “Debut in Research: Young talents from Africa Prize” (sometimes referred to as the ‘Nobel Prize for Energy’) instituted by the Italian energy and engineering giant ENI to promote and reward research and technological innovation in the fields of energy and the environment. Ms. Ugwoke, who completed her M.Sc. in Petroleum Engineering at AUST in 2016, was formally presented with the prize by the Italian President on 5October 2017.
“The ACBF study grant paved the way for me with respect to advancing my academic career. It is a wonderful initiative from ACBF and it is forever changing lives,” Ms. Ugwoke said, while adding that she hopes to further her research to proffer modern solutions to energy deficiencies especially in the rural parts of Sub-Saharan Africa.
Another ACBF-sponsored graduate from AUST – Ms. Joy Ugonma Olayiwola, who heads the ICT unit of Geo Apps Plus – the marketing arm of the Nigerian Space Agency, credited her success to the timely intervention of ACBF. She said she is at the forefront of a team that is working on advanced computer programming to further the work of the Space Agency, while she uses her spare time to volunteer in mentoring girls in Nigeria’s government schools to pursue studies in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) as a way of multiplying the efforts of ACBF and AUST in that regard.
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ABOUT the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF)
Having spearheaded and robustly coordinated capacity development programs worth over 700 million US dollars across 45 countries and 8 regional economic communities (RECs) in Africa since 1991, ACBF has gathered the requisite experience that makes it the go-to institution for expert knowledge and human resources to advise and support African countries, regional economic communities and institutions on decisive steps to take to develop the practical skills urgently required for the continent’s economic transformation.
Evidence from our cutting-edge work (constituting hundreds of knowledge publications) and the work of several partners show that Africa's development efforts are being hobbled by severe capacity deficits often in the form of shortage of critical skills, deficits in leadership, inhibiting mindsets and weak institutions. The continent’s practical skills shortage is acute in key areas such as Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and Agriculture.
At ACBF, we will continue using our unmatched track record in managing financial facilities for development, our vast knowledge gathering experience thanks to the exceptional skills mix of our core staff as well as our strong strategic partnerships and networks to help countries and institutions identify their capacity needs, advise them on how to plug these capacity weaknesses and on where to find the knowledge and resources to develop the requisite capacity resources, effectively use them and retain them to achieve their short and long-term development objectives.
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