First of all, I like to wish you all a happy new year. Hope you fully enjoyed the festive period and that the year 2015 has been off to a great start.

Professor Kuku

In the last three AAS Newsletters I have endeavoured to report some of the activities of our Governing Council (GC) aimed at fulfilling our mandate. For example,

  1. continuing of our capacity building and nurturing of scientific talents in various areas of Science, Technology and Innovation (ST&I) research needed for sustainable development of our continent;
  2. appraising AAS strategic plans in terms of what has been achieved and the way forward;
  3. activation of sub-regional activities and kick-starting the AAS Affiliate membership programme;
  4. strengthening existing partnerships and generating new ones;
  5. increasing the visibility of the AAS and popularizing Science all over the continent through our creation of four AAS commissions; 
  6. intensification of fund raising to improve the financial health of our academy; and
  7. broadening AAS Fellowship base.

capacity building & nurturing new talent

In the direction of capacity building and nurturing of new scientific talents, there have already been two successful CIRCLE (Climate Impact Research Capacity and Leadership Enhancement) events this year—Inaugural Institutional Representatives CIRCLE Champions Workshop, February 2-4 2015, and the CIRCLE Visiting Fellows Workshop, February 5-7 2015. Work on the AAS-NEPAD AESA (Alliance for Excellence in Science in Africa) platform continues to make progress.

The recent AAS GC meeting of February 9-10 approved the Charter for AESA. Dr. Thomas Kariuki, the Treasurer of AAS and a member of the AAS Management Committee (MC) and GC has recently been appointed Director of AESA. I am also delighted that the AU has put its stamp on the progress made on AESA by requesting the AAS and NPCA (NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency) to establish and operationalize the AESA as a platform that will at first stimulate breakthroughs in health research expanding later into such research areas as food and nutrition, energy and environment.

Increasing AAS visibility

In the direction of increasing AAS visibility all over the continent, I am happy that the first AAS Pan-African Science Olympiad is scheduled to take place August 23-29, 2015, in Abuja, Nigeria. Letters have been written to various African countries inviting them to participate in this programme. More information on this event is available at the AAS website.

The other AAS Commissions are in the process of planning concrete activities for 2015. In the Vol 18, No 3. of this newsletter, I mentioned that the AAS GC approved the involvement of AAS (when invited) in sub-regional activities organized by AAS Fellows as a way of further enhancing AAS visibility all over the continent. One such activity is the “4th International Conference on Mathematics and Information Science (ICMIS 2015) organized by Professor Abdel-Aty Vice-President for Northern Africa Feb 5-7 at Zaweil City, Egypt where I represented AAS as well as gave an invited plenary Mathematics lecture.

The AAS GC has approved the next AAS General Assembly (GA) meeting scheduled to take place in Kasane, Botswana, during the week of June 20, 2016. I seize this opportunity to thank Professor Nelson Torto , the CEO of Botswana Institute for Technology and Innovation, for spearheading the hosting of the GA in Botswana. It is anticipated that events during the GA will include, among others, the inauguration of Botswana Academy of Sciences.

The AAS GC decided, at its meeting of February 9-10 to institute the payment of annual dues and membership fees by AAS Fellows with effect from 2015 and members of GC have already shown good examples by paying their own membership fees and annual dues at the meeting. I seize this opportunity to appeal to all Fellows of AAS to follow the good example of GC members by paying their dues once they are called upon to do so.

The Kwame Nkrumah Continental Prize 

It is my great pleasure to now congratulate the two AAS Fellows who were awarded the Kwame Nkrumah Continental Prize on January 31, 2015, namely Professor Salim Abdool-Karim of South Africa for his award for Life and Earth Sciences and Professor Timolean Crepin Kofane of Cameroon for Basic Sciences, Technology and Innovation.

I am also delighted to congratulate Professor Abdel-shafy Fahmy Obada, former AAS Vice-President for Northern Africa, and President of the Egyptian Mathematical society for the award of Egypt State medal for his innovative contributions to quantum optics. Finally, I heartily congratulate the AAS Fellow, Professor Ben-Eric Van Wyk for his award of the gold medal by SAAB (South African Association of Botanists) for his contributions to the knowledge of medicinal, poisonous and useful plants.

Prof Aderemi Oluyomi Kuku, President, AAS