We often speak of sustainable development as an abstraction driven by grand ideals that are most comfortably discussed in academic settings. We, of course, should never underestimate the power of ideas. But ultimately it is people – their knowledge, their skills, their imagination, their commitment – that determines whether an idea becomes a force for positive change instead of an enduring academic point of debate. The key issue examined in this book is: How can highly trained young scientists from Africa chart a career course that enables them to apply their knowledge to benefit their own countries and regions? By posing and seeking to answer this question, the youthful scientists who have contributed to this book give us reason to hope that a better future awaits Africa – a future in which the gap between ideals and reality can be closed with the help of an indigenous scientific community that firmly believes their futures can best be served by serving their countries. I urge anyone who is interested in the future of Africa to read this book, not just for the details that it provides on a broad range of research activities, but also for its strategic vision calling on Africa’s youthful scientists to lead the charge for change.
Professor Mohamed H. A. Hassan
President, African Academy of Sciences
Executive Director, Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS)