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27th TWAS General Meeting Highlights for sub-Saharan Africa

The 27th General Meeting of The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) was held in Kigali, Rwanda in November 2016. The meeting was well attended by Fellows, TWAS Young Affiliates and representatives of Regional Offices. It also created a platform to award, recognise and celebrate outstanding scientists/researchers who are excelling in their area of specialisation. Below is a summary of some of the activities that took place in Kigali that relate to The World Academy of Sciences Regional Office for sub-Saharan Africa (TWAS-ROSSA).

TWAS Prizes
Prof Mahouton Norbert Hounkonnou, a 2004 TWAS Fellow, a professor of mathematics and physics at the University of Abomey-Calavi in the Republic of Benin is the recipient of the 2016 C.N.R. Rao Prize for scientific research. Prof Mahouton Norbert Hounkonnou is the President of the Benin National Academy of Sciences. The C.N.R Rao annual prize is valued at 5000 USD. Prof Hounkonnou was honoured for the outstanding level of his research in mathematics and his sustained commitment to mathematics education. His research in advanced theoretical fields finds application in many other disciplines, including physics, oceanography, health, management of water and ecosystems, climate studies and energy issues.

Prof Glenda Gray an ASSAf Member, National Research Foundation A-rated scientist and President of the Medical Research Council South Africa was awarded the 2016 TWAS Regional Prize worth 3000 USD in Kigali, Rwanda on 14 November 2016. The theme for the regional prize was Building Scientific Institutions. She was honoured with this prestigious prize for her outstanding contributions to the establishment and advancement of scientific institutions’ activities in the developing world. The establishment and advancement of scientific institutions play key roles in solving many local, regional and global challenges that include poverty, health, gender inequality and injustices, water crises, climate change, and the need for quality education.

Dr Mariam Nkansah, a Ghanaian researcher was announced as the first-ever winner of the Fayzah M. Al-Kharafi Prize worth 4000 USD, an annual award that recognises exceptional women scientists from scientifically and technologically lagging countries. The award recognised her research on the health risks raised by human exposure to hazardous heavy metals in routine activities of daily life. Nkansah’s research has shed light on the heavy metal content of tea, clay and dust in her home country. She is involved in heavy-metal screening research in Ghana, helping to raise awareness of dangerous elements in food, drink and the environment.

TWAS Young Affiliates
TWAS-ROSSA selected five new young affiliates from sub-Saharan Africa who were inducted by TWAS in Kigali during the 27th General meeting on 14 November 2016. The regional office congratulates the following early career scientists as affiliates from the world's developing regions to actively serve five-year terms with TWAS.

  • Dr Olaniyi Fawole- Nigeria
  • Dr Michelle Greve- South Africa
  • Dr Julius Kofi Hagan- Ghana
  • Dr Hudaa Neetoo- Mauritius
  • Dr Victorien Tamegnon Dougnon- Benin

In addition, TWAS has launched the TWAS Young Affiliates Network (TYAN). This year TWAS inducted 25 new Young Affiliates from 20 countries. It is anticipated that the network will give Young Affiliates a stronger voice within TWAS, and in the global science community.

TWAS Membership
During the general meeting in Kigali, TWAS elected 40 new Fellows, bringing total TWAS membership to over 1 200 for the first time in its 33-year history. Of the new Fellows, 12 are women, a ratio of 30%. The proportion of women Fellows elected each year has been steadily rising and reached a peak this year. The new Fellows come from 18 countries, including several that have had few or no TWAS Fellows.

TWAS-ROSSA congratulates and welcomes the following four new Fellows from sub-Saharan Africa.

  • Prof Demel Teketay Fanta (Ethiopia): (M) PhD, Professor in Forest Science, Botswana University of Agriculture and Natural Sciences, Gaborone, Botswana.
  • Prof Dan Stein (South Africa): (M) PhD, Professor and Chair, Department of Psychiatry, University of Cape Town, South Africa.
  • Prof David Justin Bakibinga (Uganda): (M) DPhil, Professor, School of Law, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda.     

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