Technology

Africa: Tambo Partnerships ‘Can Transform Research in Africa’


This article was supported by the O.R. Tambo Africa Research Chairs Initiative.

[PRETORIA] Researchers across Africa need to work together to make research as effective as possible, the annual gathering of a research initiative named after a South African anti-apartheid icon heard.

The 2023 O.R. Tambo Africa Research Chairs Initiative Annual Gathering brought together researchers and scientists from across Africa to explore how to achieve research excellence through collaborations across the continent.

“We need to work together to create a more enabling environment for research in Africa.”Fulufhelo Nelwamondo, chief executive of South Africa’s National Research Foundation (NRF)

The initiative is named after South African anti-apartheid activist Oliver Tambo, a former science teacher who co-founded the African National Congress Youth League alongside Nelson Mandela.

“We need to work together to create a more enabling environment for research in Africa,” said Fulufhelo Nelwamondo, chief executive of South Africa’s National Research Foundation (NRF), which hosted the meeting last week (25-27 October).

“We need to invest in our researchers and provide them with the resources they need to succeed,” he said.

“We also need to promote collaboration and cooperation among African researchers.”

The event culminated with an awarding ceremony for the ten leading African academics who have been selected to be O.R. Tambo Africa Research Chairs.

The research chairs, who come from seven different African countries, work across a variety of topics such as agriculture, health, climate change, and renewable energy.

Pan-African unity

“Tambo was a strong advocate for pan-African unity and cooperation,” Nelwamondo added.

He said that collaborations between the South Africa’s NRF, the Science Granting Council Initiative (SGCI), and other development partners have created a sense of relevance and impact, enabled joint programming and thinking, and provided a platform for collaboration, resource sharing, and the development of effective African solutions.

He said the O.R. Tambo Africa Research Chairs initiative in particular had “helped to break down silos and barriers in the African science ecosystem” and “helped to raise the profile of African science and to attract international attention to the work of African researchers”.