A time for action

Pressure is mounting on African Ministers to produce a practical, doable action plan for Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) when they meet as part of a first STI Forum in Nairobi, Kenya.
Henry Roman, president of the World Association of Young Scientists (WAYS) and chair of the African region,  said much of what had been said at the forum on April 1 -2 is “old news” but he liked the tangible action-oriented mood at the forum.
“I like that people are talking about action – on what we are going to do. We need a proper plan that says: 'This is what we planned; this is what we did'.”

He said if the youth was involved this was possible. “They [the youth] are action-driven. They want things yesterday,” Roman said. He agreed with criticism from youth delegates that there were not enough representatives from youth organizations on the panels.

Roman said the forum included examples of sustainable, workable  initiatives that could be funded. One of them was the Regional Initiative for Science and Education (RISE) which has been succeeding to increase the number of PhD's and Masters as well as conference articles, journal papers and patent applications in areas such as Chemistry, Mathematics, Materials Science. Said Roman: “Africa should ask: How do we fund this? If governments say: 'We will do it.' then industry will match the funding. That is what the market needs. You cannot have scores of unemployed people. Then you will have an Arab Spring,” he said.

WAYS is a virtual network which aims to allow opportunities to young scientists to get insights into policymaking and creates a platform for collaborations across disciplines. It is also open to any group or individual who work towards demystifying science.