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Canada Commits $22.6 Million to Training of African Scientists on Climate Change

September 2, 2016

Marie-Claude-Bibeau-450x450MARIE-Claude Bibeau, minister of International Development and La Francophonie, has announced that Canada would contribute CA$22.6 million over five years to the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences – Next Einstein Initiative, AIMS-NEI, to train African mathematical scientists to develop climate change adaptation and mitigation solutions.

With the funding, AIMS will expand its successful model of training African post-graduate students in advanced mathematical sciences to incorporate a greater focus on climate change. The funding will be delivered via Global Affairs Canada (CA$19.6 million) and the International Development Research Centre, IDRC, (CA$3 million). The IDRC will manage the funding on behalf of the Canadian government.

With the funding, AIMS will develop a specialised program in climate change at AIMS-Rwanda and a climate change course option will be offered at all AIMS centres.

AIMS will also support up to three research chairs to lead some 50 African researchers to build a specialised body of knowledge in addressing the impacts of climate change in Africa. AIMS will create a climate change internship program for its students and alumni, as well as research fellowships for outstanding African women mathematical scientists to conduct climate change research. An additional AIMS centre will be opened in Francophone Africa.

AIMS is building a critical mass of mathematical scientists in Africa who can address the continent’s complex economic, health, agriculture, and environmental challenges. Every year, some 50 of Africa’s top students enroll in each of AIMS’ six centres to take a 10-month graduate-level course, leading to a Master’s degree in mathematical science.

Already, AIMS alumni have demonstrated their impact on climate change research. For instance, alumni have developed crop models to estimate the future of food security in the face of a changing climate, used mathematical modelling to help industry convert waste to energy, and developed models to understand the diffusion patterns of infectious diseases as warming climates lengthen transmission seasons.

“This initiative demonstrates Canada’s commitment to Africa’s youth and their ability to find lasting solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges, like climate change. AIMS will make great strides to increase the recruitment and advancement of young mathematical scientists, especially women, in Africa,” Bibeau said.

Responding to the gesture, Thierry Zomahoun, president and CEO, AIMS, said: “We are thrilled to receive this investment from the Government of Canada at a time when the world and Africa’s efforts are focused on the sustainable development of the continent and its most valuable human resource—its youth.”

*Real News

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