One of the model’s main advantages is that it could reduce sustain-ably the brain drain that the continent has suffered for many decades, particularly after the period of political independence. But ownership of the model needs to become primarily African to fully impact positively on the lives of sons and daughters of Africa.
AllAfrica online outlet which publishes the story describes how the model was developed.
“RISE, – that’s the name of the initiative and stands for Regional Initiative in Science and Education, was designed during a series of discussions with African academic and scientific leaders.”
The concept came to address the issues of academic isolation, and create more collaboration and partnerships among African scientific institutions.
RISE does not support individual people or institutions, but rather networks of academic institutions, each of which is required to have at least three member “nodes” in different countries.
In 2008, five RISE networks were selected during a competition and judged by independent scientists.
AllAfrica also reports that:
“RISE’s fifth annual meeting, held October 12-13, 2012, in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, provided a snapshot of activities and participants from all five networks. Each network was represented by varying numbers of faculty supervisors and students The networks are similar in size, and all reported on their accomplishments during the past year. “
The five RISE presently operating networks include:
- SABINA, the Southern African Biochemistry and Informatics for Natural Products Network
- AMSEN, the African Materials Science and Engineering Network;
- AFNNET, the African Natural Products Network;
- SSAWRN, the Sub-Saharan Africa Water Resources Network;
- WIO-RISE, the Western Indian Ocean Regional Initiative.
Although the scale of RISE is still small, the network has already supported about 140 students in the last five years. The program has become a credible model which can be expanded and strengthened in the coming years.
To aspirant African scientists, and institutions of science on the continent, this is an opportunity to tap into, and possibly to learn from in order to interest the new African capitalists so they can support similar initiatives.
Africans have the capacity and resources to solve their problems; they can only do so by being bold in addressing them and learning from best practices wherever they can be found.
RISE is a Western initiative, nothing particularly negative about that fact. As one of the coordinators of the initiative indicates, in 2007, the project received initial funding of a U.S. $3.3 million grant from the Carnegie Corporation. Four years later, RISE is supporting 63 masters’ and 67 Ph.D. students through a U.S. $5 million Carnegie grant, according to SciDev.Net.
Institutions that provide required financial resources most of the times dictate the policies and benefits mainly from the results from projects they are involved in. They have full control.
What is stopping African scientists and other specialists across the continent and even in the Diaspora from conceptualizing projects and approaching the new wealthy personalities of Africa, for example Aliko Dangote, Mo Ibrahim, Nassef Sawiris, Mike Adenuga, Patrice Motsepe, Yasseem Mansoor, Jim Ovia, Cyryl Ramaphosa, Isabel Dos Santos and many others, and selling to them their ideas to get the necessary funding?
Is U.S $8.3 million [$3.3 million + $5 million that have supported RISE so far] a so big amount from billions these African wealthy people have for the continent to own totally their scientific development or any other?
Africa needs to have its people at the core and as total stakeholders of their continent’s development.
Related information: Who is rethinking African development?