It was difficult finding research materials from African-based sources for her graduate research work. Where existent, they were either few and far between or poorly presented. Over the same period, two female African scientists were nominated and won the 2013 L’Oreal-UNESCO Awards For Women in Science. And yet, no information about them was readily available.
These and other similar personal experiences led me to take a closer look at the higher education and research sector in my home country, Nigeria. At first, I wanted to understand why these female African scientists and their excellent contributions were not easily visible for all to see and celebrate. My investigations revealed many other lapses and deficiencies not only in Nigeria, but across the sub-region. I learned that actually, Africa’s Knowledge Sector was riddled with many challenges, ranging from those affecting the research creativity process, skills and competencies issues, knowledge dissemination, institutional and governmental factors and so on.
Yet alongside these inefficiencies and challenges, there are many like our recent L’Oreal-UNESCO Award winners, who continue to excel. All across the sector, there are yet more with potential who are in dire need of nurturing and support, including Academics, researchers, students and institutions. They should be valued as legitimate contributors to Africa’s aspiration for growth driven by industrialisation and innovation. They should be supported so that they can exhibit their full potential and thereby contribute to Africa’s development. Surely something could be done!
This quest for change led me to launch Akada Network as a non-profit, non-governmental organization, dedicated to addressing the challenges of Africa’s knowledge sector and to supporting all participants and stakeholders within it to realise their full potential.
Founder and CEO