New Next Einstein Forum Ambassadors to drive shift in perceptions about science and technology in Africa

KIGALI, Rwanda, December 2nd, 2019,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/- Today, the Next Einstein Forum (NEF) announces its new class of Ambassadors, the third cohort of young science and technology champions from across Africa. Ambassadors, one from each African country, will drive public engagement activities to promote science and technology education, research and innovation in their countries.

Dr. Youssef Travaly, NEF Vice-President of Science, Innovation, and Partnerships said: “This selection comes at a time when we are working to accelerate science diplomacy and collaboration to solve Africa’s and the world’s grand challenges. This new cohort is already working to advance the frontiers of science and technology to solve societal problems through research and outreach. Leveraging their momentum and the wider NEF community of scientists, we hope to influence a clear policy and public opinion shift, spurring action and investment. Congratulations to all ambassadors.”

NEF Ambassadors are selected through a rigorous process that includes review of academic achievements, entrepreneurial abilities and track record of public engagement efforts. Ambassadors also have to demonstrate a passion for grassroots scientific initiatives in their countries and inspiring the next generation of scientists.

“Our ambition is to multiply the number of role models by building a strong community of scientists who are active in their communities. This will help improve coordination and accelerate impact. Ambassadors, in particular, help advance the NEF’s objective to make science and technology a central part of regional and local development through the organization of Africa Science Week’s in their countries. We look forward to working with each of them,” said Nathalie Munyampenda, NEF Managing Director.

NEF Ambassadors will represent their country at the NEF’s premier science and innovation gathering on 10-13 March in Nairobi, Kenya. They will get to interact with other members of the community as well as network with leading scientists and business leaders. 

In this cohort, the NEF has selected Ambassadors in 45 countries. The NEF is accepting applications for Eritrea, Somalia, South Sudan, Equatorial Guinea, Namibia, Central African Republic, Burundi, Libya, and Mozambique. Interested applicants can download the application at www.nef.org/ambassadors. Learn more about the NEF Global Gathering 2020 at https://gg2020.nef.org/

Fadoul Hissein Abba (Chad) combines electrical engineering and entrepreneurship. Currently the manager of WenakLabs, he founded HiraTech-a startup of tele-irrigation, which enables farmers to remotely control irrigation systems at their farms. 

Omar Ibn Abdillah (Comoros) is the founder & CEO of OIA Group. He was selected as a 2019 Obama Leader and is deputy president of Ideas for Action Africa. He is a Techstars Startup facilitator and head coach at 100startups. 

Sophia Yusuf Abeid (Tanzania) is an Electronics and Telecoms Engineer. She co-founded Blueprint Innovations and is known for her award-winning File Tracking System. She was the youngest awardee recognized at NEF Africa Week 2018 in Tanzania.

Manara Asad Begira Arbab (Sudan) graduated from the University of Khartoum’s Faculty of Science in the Department of Zoology. She became the first Youth Advocate at UNICEF Sudan while playing an active role in organizing NEF Africa Science Week for Sudan.

Mohamed-Lamine Bamba (Cote d’Ivoire) is Head Teacher at Happy Coders Academy, a school that teaches children Coding, 3D design, and Robotics. He has worked as a web developer and managing director of Digit’Com.

Abdoulaye Oury Barry (Guinea) returned to Guinea after a doctorate in France and a postdoc in Belgium, to set up a first-of-its-kind research laboratory at the University of Conakry, his alma mater. He is the founding president of TechnoTransGuinée.

Sakina Benabdelkader (Algeria) is a biologist and project leader. She was honored as “The Woman Entrepreneur 2017” and “The Best Idea 2016” in Algerian contests. She has served as ambassador for foundations that promote youth and women in sciences.

Salma Bougarrani (Morocco) holds a Ph.D. in Environment and Water Treatment from the Faculty of Sciences at Mohammed V University in Rabat. A recipient of Excellence in Research Awards, she has managed the “Women in Water Field” project at Peking and is co-founder of Green WATECH.

Baltazar Cá (Guinea Bissau) is a Researcher at the National Institute for Public Health in Guinea-Bissau, presently coordinating MAF-TB project fieldwork. He is tracking the genetic diversity of circulating Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex in Guinea Bissau.

Yusuf Chimole (Malawi) started receiving international awards from the age of 16. The founder of Lync Systems and vice president of Robotics Foundation Limited, he is the chief designer of Malawi Pavilion for Dubai Expo 2020 and World Expo 2025.

Chioma Chukwu (Nigeria), a software developer, is the Founder of STEMteers, in partnership with the Ministry of Education in Nigeria, which has launched STEM clubs in over 21 schools reaching about 500 students, of which 50 percent are female students.

Mamadou Tourad Diallo (Mauritania) who holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science and Telecommunications is currently working in Mauritania as a lecturer at the University of Nouakchott – Al Asriya. He is passionate about artificial intelligence, smart grids, and IoT.

Sicelo Dube (Zimbabwe) advocates for STEM education as a senior lab technician at Hellenic Academy. He is also the founder of LEC Biotec, co-founder of Elevante Trust and president of the Zimbabwe Science Laboratory Technicians Trust.

Shymaa Enany (Egypt) is an associate professor of Microbiology at Suez Canal University, Egypt. An award winner, she was the first Arab scientist to apply bacterial proteomic techniques to help reveal good markers for bacteria spreading in the community.

Anyse Sofia Fernandes-Pereira (Cabo Verde), a Ph.D. student, is investigating the medicinal power of plants to demonstrate the scientific validity of plant-based traditional medicine use. She hopes to forge a link between traditional and scientific knowledge. 

Ousia A. Foli-Bebe (Togo) founded EcoTecLab to foster youth innovation and STEM education. He co-designed and built MoLab, a mobile STEM lab that facilitates STEM workshops across schools and villages in Togo.

Ines Gasmi (Tunisia) holds a Ph.D. in Agricultural Sciences with a specialization in desertification, environment and climate change. Her work centers on finding solutions to Tunisia’s water shortage and climate change direct impact.

Oliver Jolezya Hasimuna (Zambia) is an Aquaculturist in Zambia’s Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock. He offers consultancy and training services in aquaculture and fisheries, in addition to outreach service and youth mentorship in STEM. 

Eric Gabriel Jenn (Liberia) works to improve road construction in Liberia. As a transport and geotechnical engineer and an infrastructure policy specialist, he is among the 150 Fellows from over 100 countries collaborating with the EU Joint Research Center in Italy.

Annick Laurence Koussoube (Burkina Faso) holds a Master’s degree in Communications from the African Institute of Management (IAM) in Ouagadougou. She is Communications Specialist at Pananetugri Initiative for the Wellbeing of the Woman.

Ntiea Ephraim Letsapo (Lesotho) is a water and water environment scientist working at the Department of Water Affairs of Lesotho as Head of Water Law Section. He is involved in various phases of water resources development projects.

Devina Lobine (Mauritius) is currently a post-doctoral research fellow at the University of Mauritius. She is investigating Mauritian medicinal plants to manage Alzheimer’s disease and is actively engaged in promoting STEM and bio-innovation among the youth.

Mario Lopes (Sao Tome & Principe) is co-founder of Tela Digital Media Group and editor of STP Digital. He is a board member and policy advisor in the National Youth Council of Sao Tome and Principe and vice-president of the NGO Galo Canta.

Philippa Ngaju Makobore (Uganda) is an award-winning innovator who designs medical devices appropriate and affordable for low resource contexts. She is the Department Head of the Instrumentation Division at the Uganda Industrial Research Institute. 

Elie Mandela (Rwanda) holds a Bachelor of Sciences with Honors in Pharmacy from the University of Rwanda. Currently, he serves an Associate Program Analyst at Mastercard Foundation in charge of Youth Engagement, he supported Johnson and Johnson Global Public Health to establish a mental health research in Rwanda and is the founding director of Hult Prize Rwanda.

Alda Manuel (Angola) works as an Electrical Engineer at Anglobal, Angolan energy, and telecommunications company. Her goal is to empower girls in STEM and bridge the gender gap in Angola. 

Paulcy Des Merveilles Mboungou (Congo Brazzaville) is the co-founder & CTO of MALAMU Inc, a service that seeks to provide a more efficient health care delivery system. Previously at ThoughtWorks where he gained experience delivering software using Agile, he is the co-founder of Knowledge Sharing Campaign. 

Dikabo Mogopodi (Botswana) holds a Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry. She has recently joined The University of Botswana where she works as a Lecturer in Analytical Chemistry. A blogger and author, she is involved in intellectual property advocacy in science and technology.

Sebay J.B. Momoh (Sierra Leone) is a petroleum engineer and holds an MSc (with distinction) in Petro and Environmental Technology from Coventry University, England. A STEM enthusiast, she works at Sierra Leone’s Petroleum Directorate.

Gladys Mosomtai (Kenya) is a passionate mentor of girls in STEM and user of earth observation technologies. A Ph.D. Fellow in Kenya and at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, she is a recipient in 2018 of L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Fellowship.

Talla Ndiaye (Senegal) is involved in extending Senegal’s use of Data Intelligence, currently working as a Big Data engineer at Orange-Sonatel in Dakar. He coordinates and/or contributes to Open Algorithms, Flux Vision, Data4Development, Senagro, and Walùjiggen. 

Abdou Idris Omar (Djibouti) is a Fluid Mechanics and Energetics engineer by training and an assistant professor in the Department of Civil Engineering of the Faculty of Engineers at the University of Djibouti where he has been a faculty member since 2015. He is also a permanent member of the Energy Research Group (GRE) that contributes to the stated government policy on the energy transition and sustainable development. Abdou Idris aspires to advance policies that provide a solution for affordable and well-adapted buildings suitable for private and community use, in both rural and urban settings.

Justina Adwoa Onumah (Ghana) is a Senior Research Scientist at the Science and Technology Policy Research Institute of the CSIR-Ghana. A Ph.D. Fellow at the University of Ghana, she is working to foster a stronger research-policy-industry nexus in Ghana.

Moussa Hasan Ousseini (Niger) is pursuing a doctorate in SVT at Abdou Moumouni University, holding degrees in Zoology and Applied Physiology. A poultry nerd, he won best prize at the 2018 Africa Science Week’s “Your thesis in 3 minutes” contest in Niger. 

Beranger Constantin Nsa Oyono (Gabon) is an information systems design engineer and holds a Master’s degree in Applied Mathematics. The Head of Research and Development in a government agency, he assists the Gabonese government with promoting STEM in young people.

Beryl Birgitta Payet (Seychelles) is a Communications and Electronics Engineer with the Department of Information Communications Technology (DICT) in Seychelles. She is a member of SYAH-Seychelles and Global Shapers-Victoria Hub; two Seychelles Youth-led Non-Government Organizations undertaking life-changing community projects in Seychelles. She is an advocate for STEM education and passionate about the empowerment of women and girls. She is one of Seychelles’ Mandela Washington Fellow for 2019.

Randrianavelo Tsiry Nantenaina Rakotondratovo (Madagascar) works as project manager at Institut Pasteur of Madagascar, he is involved in youth development and civic engagement in STEM through his organization “Move up Madagascar”.

Jeshika Ramchund (South Africa) is an award-winning scientist and lead engineer at Bosch Projects (Pty) Ltd, South Africa. She has been celebrated by Mail and Guardian in 2018 and named South African’s Young Engineer of the Year 2019.

Hassan Sillah (Gambia) in 11th grade represented his country in the 21st Edition of the Pan-African Mathematics Olympiad. He is an IT Manager at the SBEC International School, the president of the Robotics Hub Gambia, and co-founder of Sakina software startup.

Lwandle Simelane (Eswatini), is a senior science officer in the Department of Research, Science, Technology, and Innovation of Eswatini. She is currently responsible for the portfolio of international collaborations, resource mobilization, and ethics.

Fadimatou Noutchemo Simo (Cameroon) is the founder and president of the Young African Aviation Professional Association and CEO of HEFA Group, her aviation consultancy firm. She won the IATA High Flyer Award 2019 and the Commonwealth Point of Light.

Andebet Gedamu Tamirat (Ethiopia) is an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Kotebe Metropolitan University, Ethiopia. He is conducting research in the area of next-generation rechargeable battery and is in charge of technology transfer at KMU.

Vidjinnangni Grégory Thoto (Benin) advises business leaders and supports start-ups/SMEs in their digital communication strategy. He is the managing director of Guerra Tech Hub, which trains young graduates in novel skills of digital technology.

Mohammed Traore (Mali) was selected as an early-stage researcher in the ForSEAdiscovery project, under which he did a Ph.D. in Spain. Passionate for all things science, he is currently an Assistant Professor at the National Engineering School of Bamako.

Josephine Ndeze Uwase (DRC) was crowned Miss Geek Africa 2019, thanks to her project aiming to reduce maternal mortality rate in rural Congo using cell-phone technologies. She is a student in computer science in Goma, DRC.

Read their full profiles here

About the Next Einstein Forum
Launched in 2013 by the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS), the Next Einstein Forum’s (NEF) work is shaped by our belief that the next Einstein will be African. The NEF is working to make NEF a global hub for science implementing programs that connect science, society, and policy in Africa and the rest of the world – with the goal to leverage science for human development globally. The NEF believes that Africa’s contributions to the global scientific community are critical for global progress. At the centre of our efforts at NEF, is Africa’s young people, the driving force for Africa’s scientific renaissance.

The NEF organized biennial global gatherings, Africa’s largest science and innovation conference. Far from an ordinary science forum, the NEF Global Gatherings position science at the centre of global development efforts. In the presence of political and industry leaders, and with a strong focus on youth and women, the voices of global science leaders’ have the opportunity to be heard and to have a major impact on Africa’s scientific future. The NEF Global Gathering 2020 will be held on 10-13 March 2020 in Nairobi, Kenya.

In addition, the NEF organizes an Africa Science Week in over 30 countries each year. This year’s edition will be held in 40 countries in October 2019. To make science relevant for everyone, the NEF publishes a public magazine Scientific African Magazine.

More at nef.org Twitter: @NextEinsteinFor Facebook: NextEinsteinForum
Medium: medium.com/next-einstein-forum  

Media contacts
Kevin Eze
Manager, Communications and Public Engagement NEF
E: keze@nef.org

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