The COVID-19 pandemic is giving African scientists a chance to shine
By proving themselves in coronavirus response, scientists could gird themselves for economic storms to come
The coronavirus pandemic is threatening economies around the globe. But the research-based advice and services many top African scientists are giving their governments could help them argue for funding in a post-crisis financial downturn.
"There is quite a bit of optimism in the scientific community at the moment," says Moses Alobo, a programme manager at the African Academy of Sciences, a grant management and science advocacy organisation based in Nairobi, Kenya.
"Policymakers are listening now, compared to previously," he says. Many AAS fellows, who are senior scientists, are involved in shaping their countries’ coronavirus response plans. And when scientists work with governments to, for example, manufacture ventilators locally, it "plants a seed" for future partnerships, he says. "We think and believe that the recommendation that 2 per cent of GDP be spent on R&D will probably be taken a little bit more seriously now."