It is not a new story that migration is accelerating in Africa. The United Nations estimates that by 2050, Africa could see 45 million inhabitants leaving the continent while only 25 million could enter. While the narrative about brain drain is overwhelming, are there other explanations to this alarming trend? One of the reasons that Côte d’Ivoire, Africa’s largest economy, is doing well is because it is attracting scientists, researchers and scientists to build its biotech industry.
“When we are recruiting in Côte d’Ivoire in 2014, we had almost no talent. Even in the scientific community we have to bring engineers, marketers and sales people as well,” said Sébastien Lepetitre, co-founder of France-based bioscience company Sokamatina, which helps medics design custom medical devices. “It was difficult to attract top talent from other countries because they were afraid to leave Ivory Coast. We had to work hard to solve this.”
For countries like the Republic of South Africa, Europe and Asia, Africa offers a home to manufacturing and processing of raw materials, growing agricultural products, harvesting and processing gems and energy. Some of the wonders of Africa are showcased in the science-driven educational programs that draw the world’s top researchers.
Professor Marc Schaffhauser, who is working on a project known as the Human Antibiotic Resistance Network (HARN), is a geneticist from Austria who founded HARN along with Prof. Marie-Josée Laliberté from France. The mission of HARN is to to communicate research about the way drug resistance develops in humans, with a particular focus on bacteria. This network of scientists are working to develop and install unique technology to find out who are the hosts of the resistant bacteria so they can be isolated and controlled to prevent “superbug” infection.
“In 2016, the number of people taking antibiotics in the United States exceeded their use in the 1960s,” Schaffhauser explained. “In fact, we have to train our children and help them understand better the consequences of the overuse of antibiotics. We have to work harder. We have to use more animal antibiotics to prevent cross-resistance to those that they do use.”
Hansen Sang, who is working on another project by the Henn-na-African Youth Science Research Training Program or HNOYT, will use innovative knowledge to help prevent future health threats. HNOYT is a research and educational program that is set up and run by young scientists from across Africa, who are using their skills to train future scientists.
“I am from Kenya and I am working in South Africa,” Sang told Fox News. “There are many interesting projects in Africa and they are working hard to generate solutions.”
Sang is also from Kenya and he is working on another research project by HNOYT.
“I am working on cross contamination in hospitals and we are looking for ways to decrease the risk of cross contamination by detecting and reducing antibiotic resistance.”