Young Scientists

Doing experimental science in Africa: how to? - 16. Questions : can Africa fund its experimental research?

Local or international financing? Opinions are divided.

Question: "As François pointed out, experimental studies are extremely expensive in Africa. When we talk about funds, we often look abroad. Is it not time, when we really want financing, to look at companies that are in Africa, rather than turning to Europe?"

Alpha Kabinet Keita: "Today, doing research in Africa is not easy. Several factors show this difficulty. Today, I listened to many people on several panels. It is all very well to think that we can move forward by relying on our own resources, but let's stay pragmatic! Our countries, most of the time, have other priorities. If we lose sight of that, there are things we can never do. So, to do research in the conditions of the majority of African countries, we must collaborate. Because we must not lose sight of that a lot has already been done. There are many things for which we already have a base. We start from there to try to develop our own strategies, adapted to African specificities. So if our countries today have the opportunity to develop national research policies, they can be implemented through South-South collaboration, as others have said today, but also through collaboration between the South and the North. The French Institute of Research for Sustainable Development is a perfect example of this collaboration that helps Africa to do research in Africa for Africans and by Africans. Focusing only on national institutions to get funding and conduct research at the global level may be possible for a few African countries, but for the majority, it remains utopia."

Veronica Okello: "It is not always good to ask for money, but when you are facing a difficult situation, you have to try to find local solutions. First of all, to find funding. In my country, Kenya, we have the National Research Fund, which promotes research projects that focus on sustainable development goals. And within universities, we have research funds for students and scientists. So they try to prioritize the development of project proposals and give them funds that allow them to carry out research projects that could help solve local problems. I think Africa is not doing so bad. Anyway, we're doing the best we can."

François Piuzzi: "There are a lot of students in the early years, for example in physics. I visited several African universities and went to see the laboratories where the practical work is being done: it was difficult. So what can we do when there are a lot of students and little equipment? You have to try to find cheap equipment and the methods I told you about allow you to build equipment for the practical work. We must try to implement them, but we must not say that it is not possible. We can set them up. We can improve the situation a little."


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