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United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

Islamic Development Bank

AFRICA'S MINDS BUILD A BETTER FUTURE African Science, Technology & Innovation Success Stories

Published in 2014 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, 7, place de Fontenoy, 75352 Paris 07 SP, France In partnership with the Islamic Development Bank, P.O. Box 5925, Jeddah 21432 Kingdom of Saudi Arabia © UNESCO 2014

This publication is available in Open Access under the Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 IGO (CC-BY-SA 3.0 IGO) license ( By using the content of this publication, the users accept to be bound by the terms of use of the UNESCO Open Access Repository ( The present license applies exclusively to the text content of the publication. For the use of any material not clearly identified as belonging to UNESCO, prior permission shall be requested from: [email protected] or UNESCO Publishing, 7, place de Fontenoy, 75352 Paris 07 SP France. The designations employed and the presentation of material throughout this publication do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of UNESCO and the Islamic Development Bank concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries. The ideas and opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors; they are not necessarily those of UNESCO and the Islamic Development Bank and do not commit the Organization. Cover photo: © Jerome Berquez - Graphic design and typeset: Maro Haas External Peer Review: Deborah-Fay Nontokozo, Senior Journalist at Research Africa Printed by UNESCO Printed in France SC-2013/WS/15

Table of Contents ForEwOrd 3 Ahmad Mohamed Ali, President of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) 5 Irina Bokova, Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)


Agriculture 6 8 10

Valorisation of the Argan Tree, Research turns oil into market hit, empowers women, Morocco SEKEM Initiative, Linking research and local people through organic agriculture, Egypt Orange-fleshed Sweet Potato Project, A magic wand for nutrition and incomes in Mozambique


Capacity development and innovation 12 14 16

Acquisition, Promotion and Development of Technology in Nigeria, Transforming Nigeria through fair technology transfer iHub, Proliferation of software innovation in Kenya Institute of Food Technology (ITA), Sowing the seeds of stable agriculture, Senegal


Education 18 20

The Rubisadt Foundation, Equipping girls with science to drive change, Cameroon African Network of Scientific and Technological Institutions (ANSTI), Building a brighter future for African researchers, across Africa


Energy 22

Solar Villages, A West African solar revolution, Benin, Burkina Faso and Mali


Health 24 26

The South African Telemedicine System, Mobile tech supports front-line health workers, South Africa Mapping Malaria Risk in Africa (MARA), Digitising malaria hotspot maps saves lives, across Africa

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Africa: A poster child for putting science to the heart of global development, SciDev.Net

Africa’s Minds Build a Better Future


Foreword Many countries in Africa are experiencing sustained economic growth, and the whole continent has demonstrated remarkable progress on many socioeconomic indicators in a relatively short period of time. Despite this optimistic picture, Africa is still lagging behind other regions when it comes to achieving the Millennium Development Goals. The ambitions for Africa would continue to fall short of expectations if the vital role