In March, 2015, the African Union supported the establishment of the Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa (AESA) under the leadership of the African Academy of Sciences and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development. AESA will help drive Africa’s research agenda and build scientific capacity across the continent. The Wellcome Trust, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the UK Department for International Development are funding the development of AESA and sharing their vision of supporting the next generation of African researchers who will help solve some of the continent’s greatest health and development challenges.
In early September, I was honored to receive an invitation to attend the AESA launch in Nairobi. I delivered a speech during which I read a letter from Dr. Francis Collins, the Director of NIH, in support of AESA. As a African-American, I am very proud Africa will play a key role in building a world-class scientific and programmatic unit.