Access to Scientific Expertise in Fast Growing African Countries

Saturday, 14 February 2015: 10:00 AM-11:30 AM
Room LL21A (San Jose Convention Center)
The Nigerian government halted polio vaccination after pressure from religious leaders in 2007, and vaccinators continue to be attacked. In South Africa, current president Jacob Zuma publicly expressed the belief that showering after sex prevents HIV transmission. In Zambia, genetically-modifiedfood aid was rejected because of misleading safety claims from the British Medical Association. And traditional medicine remains largely unchallenged across Africa. This session will explore how new ways of organizing and accessing data can connect African science to African decision-makers and help prevent misinformation and manipulation. The rapid development of many African economies is creating an urgent need -- and opportunity -- for sound science and research evidence. Information reaching African decision-makers from companies and development agencies is largely unregulated. The role of academic science in government and the media is not yet strong enough to interrogate claims and prevent misinformation. New information technology is helping Africans take advantage of economic opportunities, from the hugely successful M-Pesa mobile payments and loans service to online trading platforms such as the African Food Exchange. Can African scientific institutes take advantage of these new platforms? How can they bridge the gap between the growing information base and the public to help prevent misinformation and aid Africa’s development?
Max Goldman, Sense About Science
Sarah Evanega, Cornell University
Tracey Brown, Sense About Science
Ylann Schemm, Elsevier and Yona Baguma, National Agricultural Research Organization
Thandi Mgwebi, South African National Research Foundation
Developing Institutional Research Capabilities in Africa
Daniel Otunge, African Agricultural Technology Foundation
Encouraging Open Discussion on Agricultural Biotechnology in Africa
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