New maths institute to join ‘pan-African ecosystem’

The African Institute for Mathematical Sciences, or AIMS, has opened its sixth education centre of excellence in Rwanda’s capital, Kigali, as part of plans to establish 15 AIMS centres across Africa by 2023, which will form part of an 'ecosystem' of transformative institutions.

"We are collaborating with AIMS to develop an ecosystem of pan-African institutions with a transformative agenda. We all recognise that AIMS' education model is an important tool for development and progress on our continent," Rwanda's President Paul Kagame said at the AIMS official launch that took place at the Kigali Convention Centre.

The launch of AIMS Rwanda in April was a result of a partnership agreement between the government of Rwanda through the ministry of education and AIMS, according to a press report.

Centres of excellence

At present, AIMS, which is Africa’s first and biggest network of centres of excellence in mathematical sciences, consists of a pan-African network of six centres of excellence across African States including South Africa, Senegal, Ghana, Cameroon, Tanzania and Rwanda. Since its establishment in 2003, AIMS has developed partnerships with 15 African universities, and graduated over 1,200 students from more than 42 countries.

AIMS offers postgraduate education, training, research innovation and public engagement for the advancement of science, technology, engineering and mathematics for developing a knowledge-based economy in Africa. AIMS also helps in bridging the gap between academia and industry through the introduction of relevant curriculum, job and internship opportunities, and industrial research opportunities.

AIMS Rwanda launched its first intake in Rwanda in August 2016. The maiden intake included 44 students from 10 countries, including 17 females.

The establishment of AIMS is in line with a 2014 report published by the International Mathematical Union entitled Mathematics in Africa: Challenges and opportunities, which called for a strengthening and expanding of training and research activities, especially regional networks of people and institutions.

"African nations need more support for those who wish to become educators and researchers in mathematics, and more collaboration among institutions and people seeking to make this happen," the report stated.

Quantum Leap Africa

As part of the AIMS in Rwanda ecosystem, Rwanda will also host Africa’s first research centre in quantum science called Quantum Leap Africa, based in Kigali.

The centre aims to solve development problems through data analytics and smart systems design, and build capacity in emerging fields such as quantum information science.

“This [Quantum Leap Africa research centre] will be a world-class centre of scientific research and a leader in solving critical problems of development,” Kagame said.

Rwanda will host the 2018 Next Einstein Forum, also an initiative of AIMS, in partnership with the Robert Bosch Stiftung. It serves as a platform to connect science, society and policy in Africa and the rest of the world with the goal of leveraging science for human development globally.

“It [the Next Einstein Forum] will focus on establishing a clear roadmap for how Africa will transform by leveraging science, technology and innovation,” said Kagame.