Will the Next Einstein be African?

In February 2016, the Government of Rwanda through its Ministry of Education signed a partnership with the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences – Next Einstein Initiative (AIMS – NEI) in an effort to build Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) expertise in Rwanda and the region. Among agreed core objectives was: To Launch the Quantum Leap Africa research center. In March 2017, a year later, the first ever Quantum leap initiative Africa workshop was held at AIMS Kigali in preparation for said launch.

You might wonder what the purpose of a quantum leap into science is for starters and why Africa should be interested. The research center will seek to solve development problems through implementation of advanced systems for data gathering, system data monitoring and rapid data analysis. Now, you’ll appreciate that many African institutions collect a lot of data in varied ways; from registration books/lists at seminars to population censuses and even SIM Card registration exercises- but what has been done with this information or a more accurate question: how has this data been applied to solve one of Africa’s biggest challenges, unemployment?

With innovative scientific training and technical advances by big data analytics experts, there’s a better chance to finding solutions to unemployment through this data analysis for example; by providing Rwandan and African youth with skills required for the available jobs in STEM. Rwanda through its earlier initiatives appealed to AIMS as a conducive environment for the South African founded institution. Quantum Leap Africa is set to be the inaugural research center in quantum sciences on the African continent and has the potential to fulfill the ambitions of the Rwandan government of steering the country into a continental hub of technology.

AIMS Founder, Neil Turok said at the workshop that they wanted to prepare Africa for the next industrial revolution through Quantum Leap Africa initiative. Considering Sub-Saharan Africa missed the first 3, hopefully this innovation will be the continent’s frog leap to the 4th Industrial Revolution and in the process produce Africa’s next Einstein – whether man or woman.