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Africa-US Presidential Forum on STEM, AI launched

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The Nekotech Centre of Excellence, in partnership with Rutgers University, USA, has launched its maiden Africa-US Presidential Forum on Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Artificial Intelligence (STEM/AI) to enhance industrialisation on the African Continent. 

The forum was part of a campaign to unite African leaders and offer them the opportunity to build their citizens’ capacity in STEM/AI in the United States of America (USA), Canada, and some developed countries, to foster industrialisation.

Addressing about 50 participants at the virtual launch of the forum, Mr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera, the Malawian President, said Nekotech and Rutgers University, through the STEM/AI educational scholarships, would give Africa the opportunity to rewrite the future.

“This programme would equip Africans with the know-how and wherewithal to do what we can do for ourselves instead of depending on others,” he said.

He said Malawians were privileged to be among the countries to benefit from the US$25 million STEM/AI scholarships in Prep Schools and access to one billion dollars in educational loans as Malawi was recently hit by Tropical Cyclone Freddy.

“It did not only kill and displace thousands but destroyed US$1.5 billion worth of crops and infrastructure. As such, I cannot emphasise enough the importance of this scholarship programme and am honoured that Malawi will be part of it,” he said.

Rev. Dr Princess A. K Ocansey, the Executive Chairperson of the Nekotech Centre of Excellence, located in Big Ada in the Greater Accra Region, and SOS Global Investments, said Africa was far behind in industrialisation as the continent had missed three industrial revolutions in the past.

She said it was time for the continent to reclaim its rightful position in the industrial world, by working on the mindset of the next generation and equipping them with the tools to operate successfully, as Korea did.

“We are now in the fourth industrial revolution, which is digitalisation driven by digital technologies and led by Artificial Intelligence. We cannot afford to be left behind,” she said.

Rev. Dr Ocansey noted that to achieve the vision, African leaders must get together as a body to push the agenda forward.

She, therefore, called on all African presidents to join in the Forum to be held in the USA from September 20 to 22, 2023, during which scholarships would be presented to nominated African countries through their presidents.

She awarded the Malawian President US$2.5 million in prep school scholarships and access to US$100 million in educational loans for about 1000 Malawians in 2024, to undertake STEM/AI educational programmes in the USA and Canada.

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