Physics in Africa: invest to reform and transform

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Zewail City of Science, Technology and Innovation, Giza, Egypt.

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Launched last November, the African Strategy for Fundamental and Applied Physics (ASFAP; https://africanphysicsstrategy.org) aims to reform and transform physics in Africa — from education to research and applications. I and my fellow co-founders argue that physics is essential to the continent taking its place as a co-leader in the global scientific system, with all the socio-economic benefits that brings.

This year and next, ASFAP is convening a series of community meetings. We will seek broad input from: international advisers; disciplinary committees (representing astrophysics, materials science and so on); young scientists; female physicists; and ethics specialists. These consultations will inform a report setting out a detailed 10-year strategy for structures and funding for physics in Africa. The report will be submitted to the African Academy of Sciences and other stakeholders in late 2022.

We hope that this plan will attract investment from institutions, governments, philanthropic organizations and industry.

Africa’s investment in research has been woefully inadequate. Inclusive growth and sustainable development cannot proceed without scientific knowledge.

Nature 590, 551 (2021)

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