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African Scientific Priorities

Transformed lives on the continent through science

The African Science Technology and Innovation (STI) Priority Setting programme engages Africa’s science leaders and political stakeholders to identify of the top scientific priorities that, if addressed, offer the highest return on investment for Africa’s sustainable development. Over a five-year period, the programme will be developing, publishing and disseminating to relevant stakeholders, a set of position papers communicating the top 10 scientific priorities for Africa.

The first four, developed in 2019 focus on maternal and neonatal health; climate change; data governance; and genomics and precision medicine. This programme, implemented through the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will also map existing local interventions and innovations as well as those produced by the global community of scientists to assess innovations that are ready to be scaled up and those which require further scientific research to develop new tools.
The African Union Agenda 2063, Science Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa (STISA 2024) and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030 paint an optimistic picture of what Africa and the world can look like in the next few years. On most targets, especially those related to poverty and disease, African countries have the furthest to go. In human terms, this means that the quality of life for more than a billion people on the fastest-growing continent hangs in the balance. To address Africa’s biggest global health and development challenges, scientific innovation will be essential.

For too long, scientific priorities for Africa have been determined by people who are far removed from the problems they are aiming to solve. This in turn affects the entire African continent by limiting the impact STI is having on Africa’s development goals, especially those linked to poverty and disease. Given that less than a few years to a decade remains’ until the timeline to achieving STISA2024 and the SDGs, it is more critical than ever that Africa focuses on key priorities that will have highest impact on our journey towards achieving “The Africa we want” as outlined in Agenda 2063.
To realise its goal, the Africa STI priorities five-year programme aims to:
  • Convene Africa’s science leaders in order to identify the continent’s most urgent science priorities
  • Enhance the contribution to the body of scientific knowledge through supporting knowledge generation and dissemination in the identified priority areas
  • Using scientific priorities identified to inform investment decisions by African governments and global funders to ensure that resources are being directed toward those projects most critical to health and development progress in Africa.

Current Priorities

Since its inception in 2019, the programme has produced a list of scientific priorities. It has also outlined the processes for developing position papers, which are due to be published in 2020. The current priorities are:

Future Priorities

In 2020, the AAS will engage expert teams and key stakeholders to develop and disseminate position papers in:

Meet the Team

Team Member
Nelson Torto Executive Director
Team Member
Isayvani Naicker Director of Strategy and Partnerships
Team Member
Grace Mwaura Fellows and Affiliates Manager
Team Member
Lydia Makendo Manoti Programme Manager
Team Member
Davies Mbela Communications Assistant