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Lade Araba
Guest post by Lade Araba

Lade is a 2012 UNECA MIF Fellow and the Founder and President of the Visiola Foundation. She is an Adviser with the Department for International Development (DFID) funded Nigeria Infrastructure Advisory Facility (NIAF). She recently served as the Technical Advisor to the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Honourable Minister of Finance of Nigeria.

The Visiola Foundation participates at the 2016 Next Einstein Forum global gathering

The Visiola Foundation was pleased to participate in the stimulating discussions at the Next Einstein Forum (NEF) 2016 Global Gathering in Dakar, while sharing its own experience in creating opportunities for marginalised girls and young women to pursue science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers. Two of the Foundation’s scholars, Omolara Kassim and Rachael Asaolu, were invited to participate in the Forum where they were inspired to continue working hard towards becoming leading scientists in their own right.

Participating in the Next Einstein Forum’s 2016 Global Gathering was a big eye opener for me! I now realise that I too can work hard to use science to create solutions to problems in my community. I am inspired and I also want to become a NEF Ambassador.

-Omolara, 2014 Visiola Foundation Science Scholar

I was very excited to travel to Dakar! The Next Einstein Forum showed me that women can achieve many successes in science. I also learned that I need to be bold and share my ideas clearly. It was a very inspiring journey for me!

-Rachael, 2014 Visiola Foundation Science Scholar

NEF is an initiative of the African Institute of Mathematical Sciences (AIMS), which was founded by the leading South African physicist, Dr. Neil Turok. NEF is a convener of thought leaders in science, policy, industry and civil society from across Africa and the international scientific community to leverage science and technology to solve global challenges. NEF was launched by AIMS and the German Foundation, the Robert Bosch Stiftung in 2013, as a global forum for science in Africa.

The 2016 Global Gathering took place in Dakar, Senegal from 8-10 March and brought together more than 800 stakeholders from across the STEM fields. It further showcased the talent of African scientists and innovators, highlighting the laudable achievements of 15 of the continent’s top young scientists and NEF Fellows.

“I strongly believe that the next generation of leading scientists will be from Africa”

-Dr. Neil Turok, Founder, AIMS

President Macky Sall of Senegal and President Paul Kagame of Rwanda presented merit awards to the NEF Fellows, who are leading innovative research to address some of Africa’s critical health and development challenges. They further pledged their support to invest in science, technology, and innovation in their respective countries, with deliberate efforts geared towards increasing the number of female STEM professionals. In his opening remarks, the Minister of Higher Education and Research of Senegal, Mary Teuw Niane expressed his belief that Africa can become a global scientific hub and that African governments should provide the necessary funding and infrastructure to make this a reality. The Ministers of Science and Technology Dr. Naledi Pandor, of South Africa and Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, of Nigeria further discussed the plans of their respective governments to boost science and technology education and technical training.

Thierry Zomahoun, Chairperson of NEF, and President and CEO of AIMS noted that the Forum was created to drive continent-wide collaboration and to build a strong STEM ecosystem in Africa, while showcasing the impressive pool of rising and established STEM talent. Participating scientists from across the globe presented their breakthrough research and innovations, while private sector participants, including Johnson & Johnson, Philipps, Wellcome Trust, and IBM shared their plans to continue to support research and innovation across Africa.

The Forum also provided a platform for 11 African innovators to pitch their projects during the Challenge of innovation to invention (Ci2i) session. Seema Kumar, Vice President, Innovation, Global Health, and Policy Communication at Johnson & Johnson moderated the competition. Ms. Kumar noted that, “African scientists demonstrated to a distinguished global audience an undeniable reality: that Africa is rising, coming of age, and is here to show the world a new face – not of poverty, disillusion, and famine – but of self-sufficiency, hope, and sustainability.” Moses Bangura, Founder of Rokel Delivery Services (RDS), emerged the winner of the innovation challenge with his drones, which deliver urgent life-saving health care to communities in need.


The Visiola Foundation was co-founded by Ibrahim Fellowship alumnus Lade Araba.