WEST-CENTRAL AFRICA: Scientists discuss development

Scientists from West and Central Africa met to discuss setting up new academies to promote science and technology so development of the continent could be better managed, reported Le Soleil of Dakar. The meeting was convened in Senegal last month by the Network of African Science Academies, Nasac.

Professor Ahmadou Lamine Ndiaye, Secretary-General of Nasac, told participants that the workshop would "enable the sharing of information between the existing national academies and those countries which are working to create new academies".

Professor Doudou Bâ, permanent secretary of the Senegal National Academy of Science and Technology, told the meeting: "It is recognised throughout the world that science and technology constitute the motor of a country's development. That's why it is important to raise scientific awareness nationally, to give science its place in the economic, social and cultural development of our continent. It has a role to play in the opening up of our society."

Bâ believed that academies of science helped public authorities take good decisions when drawing up development policies, and that his academy occupied a privileged place in the national institutional system of research, reported Le Soleil.

Professor Gumedzoe Mawuena Dieudonné, director of research at the University of Lomé, Togo, said that an academy was "not a luxury, but a necessity for every country that wants to develop harmoniously".