August 22, 2018

What’s stopping young African scientists from achieving their potential

Young African scientists face persistent barriers which cause them to leave their own countries, and even academia. This means the continent’s work force loses highly trained people who are crucial for scientific and technological advancement, and for economic development. It’s estimated that 20,000 highly educated professionals leave the continent annually, with up to 30% of Africa’s scientists among them. To identify all […]

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August 21, 2018

African agriculture has a lot to gain from increased access to big data

African scientists are about to get unprecedented access to enormous amounts of satellite data. This is thanks to a deal signed by the African Union with the European Commission’s Copernicus programme, which describes itself as the world’s third largest data provider. Scientists say that data generated by Copernicus’s satellites includes digital imagery of vegetation, soil and water cover, sea and land […]

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August 21, 2018

New telescope chases the mysteries of radio flashes and dark energy

A new telescope was unveiled that will be built at the SKA South Africa site in the Karoo. The Hydrogen Intensity and Real-time Analysis eXperiment (HIRAX) project is an international collaboration being led by scientists from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. It’s an interferometer array that will be made up of 1024 6-metre dishes. Interferometer arrays are really cool because they […]

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August 14, 2018

How biobanks can help improve the integrity of scientific research

Biobanks are repositories which receive, store, process and disseminate specimens. These include DNA derived from humans and animals; bacterial strains; and environmental samples like plants and soil. Biobanks also provide the vital infrastructure for research to support scientific advancement and innovation. Dominique Anderson, Alan Christoffels and Carmen Swanepoel wrote in The Conversation that, according to a recent study, across the world, […]

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August 14, 2018

Why global South should lead solar geo-engineering R&D

Esther Nakkazi writes in scidev that, despite developing countries contributing nearly 0.1 per cent of the global emissions to climate change, they suffer more than 90 per cent of the global impacts because of their inability to adapt to climate change, according to the Global Climate Change Regime report published in 2013. As countries grapple with the challenges […]

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August 9, 2018

A new way to equip Africa’s science labs: get students to build their own

The critical importance of conducting practical experiments as well as learning theory sets science education apart from many other taught courses. The value of this practical training is two-fold: first, it provides an in-depth understanding of the biological systems that are being studied. Second, the practice of science in industry or academia is essentially a […]

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August 9, 2018

Open-science hardware in the developing world

Walk into any modern physics laboratory and you’ll see all kinds of hi-tech instruments. There are spectrometers, microscopes, oscilloscopes and diffractometers all spitting out data, spectra and images. In the developing world it’s difficult to get and maintain the hi-tech equipment we associate with modern laboratories. But could open-science hardware provide a lifeline? And what […]

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August 9, 2018

Big data is coming to agriculture. Farmers must set its course

The industrialization of agriculture began some 100 years ago. We are now witnessing its digitalization. But a wave of big data may sweep farmers off their land, unless they mark out a course in good time and decide which problems digital technologies should address. In the future, young farmers are likely to don digital glasses […]

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August 4, 2018

How a 20-year old mobile technology protocol is revolutionizing Africa

Over the last few years, banks and other large companies have deployed their USSD applications at great cost due to the engineering effort and equipment required. Until very recently, individuals and small organizations could never even dream of building their own USSD apps. USSD stands for Unstructured Supplementary Service Data and supposedly it never got […]

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August 3, 2018

Meet Salma Okonkwo, the brain behind Ghana’s biggest solar farm

For more than a decade, entrepreneur Salma in Ghana has been quietly building up a multimillion-dollar oil and gas outfit called UBI Group. Salma Okonkwo is a rare woman to head up an energy company in Africa. In her interview with Forbes, “I don’t stop when the door is being shut. I find a way to make it work,”. […]

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