NEF Ambassadors are the NEF’s young science and technology champions, one from each African country. All under 42 years, they drive the NEF’s local public engagement activities while growing their careers through the NEF’s partnerships that offer opportunities for mentorship and collaborations with established researchers. Meet the 2019-2021 class of NEF Ambassadors unveiled during the just concluded virtual edition of the NEF Global Gathering (NEF-GG) 2020.
Sakina Benabdelkader (Algeria) is a Biologist whose project focuses on the preservation and valorisation of the natural resources in medicinal and aromatic plants. Sakina has also been an ambassador and member of foundations that promote biodiversity conservation, sustainable development, youth and women in sciences, innovation, entrepreneurship and leadership.She was recently selected by Universcience as part of the Africa2020 group of 49 young scientists to participate in workshops and a residency to foster the emergence of joint scientific and technical culture projects in Africa.
Alda Manuel (Angola) graduated from Newcastle University with Honours in Electrical Engineering. At the Angolan Energy and Telecommunications company, her role majorly consists of installing electrical gensets for synchronisation technology and program on controllers for renewable application purposes. She is currently building a community to attract more girls into STEM and mentor them to leadership scientific positions.
Vidjinnangni Grégory Thoto (Benin) is the Managing Director of Guerra Tech Hub where he trains youth on entrepreneurship and digital literacy. He also co-leads a program called “Hack Her_” which is invested in ensuring that women are actively involved in the development of computing.
Dikabo Mogopodi (Botswana) is a Lecturer in Analytical Chemistry at the University of Botswana. With seasoned experience as a researcher, a lot of her work cuts across water management, nanomaterials, chemical management, and food security.Annick Laurence Koussoube (Burkina Faso) currently holds the position of Communications Specialist at Pananetugri Initiative for the Wellbeing of the Woman (IPBF). She is also a Licentiate in Marketing and Management from the Catholic University of Central Africa and a Master’s in Communications from the African Institute of Management (IAM) in Ouagadougou.
Willy Irakoze (Burundi) started his academic journey asan Agronomist Engineer at the University of Burundi, after which he left for Belgium to pursue his Master’s degree in bioengineering sciences at the Catholic University of Louvain and obtained a Master’s degree in plant pathology. Willy Irakoze is also passionate about food security and has since created a confederation of organic coffee producers in Burundi.
Anyse Sofia Fernandes-Pereira (Cabo Verde) is a Pharmacist whose research is dedicated to investigating the medicinal power of plants and demonstrating the scientific validity of plant-based traditional medicine use. She is also studying certain species to improve their resilience to climate change-related abiotic stress.
Fadimatou Noutchemo Simo (Cameroon) is an Economics and IATA diploma holder who wears many hats. In addition to being a STEM advocate, she is the CEO of HEFA Group, her aviation consultancy firm and also the founder and president of Young African Aviation Professional Association, a non-profit organization. She is also the winner of the IATA High Flyer Award 2019 and the Commonwealth Point of Light Award 2019.
Fadoul Hissein Abba (Chad) specializes in robotics and digital manufacturing. His background not only earned him the role of fablab manager of wenaklabs in Chad, but also encouraged him to empower youth with STEM tools. He is also the Founder of HiraTech, a start-up that is working on tele-irrigation.
Bomar Ibn Abdillah (Comoros) is the Deputy President of Ideas for Action Africa, Techstars Startup Weekend Facilitator, Associate and Head of Accompaniment at 100startups. An Economist and SDGs Advocate, Omar is also the Founder & CEO of OIA Group. Some of his written work focuses on areas such as the role of youth in development policy, gender inequality and others. So far, he has trained over 5,000 youth, and 50 organizations and corporations across Africa. In September 2020, he was appointed as the Head Office of Monitoring and Evaluation Office of the Comoros Development Plan at the general planning commission (CGP).
Paulcy Des Merveilles Mboungou (Congo Brazzaville) is a strong advocate for quality education. He has received training in Big Data, Machine Learning and Design Thinking. In addition to this, creating software at ThoughtWorks where he learnt about implementing Agile and the benefits.
Mohamed-Lamine Bamba (Côte d’Ivoire) is a Web Developer and Science/Technology enthusiast who’s currently the Head Teacher at Happy Coders Academy, an innovative school aiming to teach children Coding, 3D design and Robotics. He was previously Director of Digit’Com, a digital marketing company before joining Happy Coders Academy.
Abdou Idris Omar (Djibouti) aspires to advance policies that provide a solution for affordable and well-adapted buildings suitable for private and community use, both in rural and urban settings. A Fluid Mechanics and Energetics Engineer by training, his main research focuses on heat transfer and energy processes in buildings and their environment. Abdou is currently an Assistant-Professor in the Department of Civil Engineering of the Faculty of Engineers at the University of Djibouti.
Josephine Ndeze Uwase (DRC) won the Miss Geek Africa 2019 thanks to her project to reduce maternal mortality rate in the rural Congo using cell-phone technologies. A creative student in computer science in Goma, DRC, she has ambitions to become a first-class engineer in artificial intelligence after she completes her Bachelor of Science degree in 2021.
Shymaa Enany (Egypt) was the first Arab Scientist to apply bacterial proteomic techniques to help reveal good markers for bacteria spreading in the community, for which she has received many awards. She is an Associate Professor of Microbiology at Suez Canal University in Egypt and a member of Microbiology National Committee working to achieve sustainable development goals for a better future.
Mesfin Asfha Abadi (Eritrea) has over seven years of experience in the community development sector, specifically focusing on empowering young leaders towards fostering peace and stability. He is currently the Country Director for the global peace chain in Eritrea, an alumnus of YALI RLC, East Africa and a Mandela Washington Fellow. Mesfin is driven by a commitment to social justice and looks forward to a complete liberation and equality in Eritrea someday.
Lwandle P. Simelane (Eswatini)is a Senior Science Officer in the Department of Research, Science, Technology and Innovation, mandated to promote and facilitate the integration of research, science, technology and innovation into policy, planning and national development processes. She is currently responsible for the portfolio of International collaborations, resource mobilization and ethics. She has been actively involved in the drafting of national policies and strategies for Science, Technology and Innovation.
Andebet Gedamu Tamirat (Ethiopia) was engaged in conducting cutting-edge research in the area of next-generation rechargeable batteries from 2017 to 2018, after completing his PhD in 2015 from the department of Chemical Engineering, National Taiwan University of Science and Technology. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Kotebe Metropolitan University (KMU), Ethiopia.
Beranger Constantin Nsa Oyono (Gabon) currently assists the Gabonese government in promoting youth in STEM, serving as Head of Research and Development at the National Agency of Digital Infrastructures and Frequencies. He holds a Master’s degree in Applied Mathematics from the University of Aix-Marseille, France, after studying at Masuku University of Science and Technology, Gabon.
Hassan Sillah (Gambia) is an Executive Member of the African Collective Impact that promotes STEM initiatives in Africa. Currently a final year student at the University of the Gambia majoring in Physics, Hassan studied Computer Science at Ashesi University College, Ghana after being awarded a Mastercard Foundation Scholarship.
Justina Adwoa Onumah (Ghana) has interests in the areas of Innovation, Poverty, Technology transfer, Research-Policy-Industry linkages, productivity studies and food security and has been involved in a number of research projects with about 11 journal articles to her credit. She is currently a PhD (Development Studies) Fellow at University of Ghana, Senior Research Scientist at the Science and Technology Policy Research Institute of the CSIR-Ghana and holds a Master of Philosophy Degree in Agricultural Economics.
Abdoulaye Oury Barry (Guinea) returned to Guinea after a doctorate in France and a postdoc in Belgium, to set up a first-of-its-kind Research Laboratory at the University of Conakry, his alma mater. He is also the Founding President of TechnoTransGuinée and a lecturer and researcher at the University. He was recently selected among the 23 world wide winners of the Expo 2020 Dubai Innovation Impact Grant program, an initiative that provides funding, business support and exposure to innovative solutions that benefit communities and make a real impact on people’s lives.
Baltazar Cá (Guinea Bissau) is a researcher at the National Institute for Public Health in Guinea-Bissau presently coordinating a project that relates to the study of genes and tuberculosis in Bissau and how it relates to drug resistance profiles. He is currently finishing his PhD in Molecular and Cell Biology at Porto University.
Gladys Mosomtai (Kenya) is researching the influence of landscape structure and microclimate on coffee pest populations in smallholder farms.A passionate user of Earth Observation Technology to solve environmental challenges, especially in Kenya, she has over five years’ experience in GIS and remote sensing applications in landscape ecology, epidemiology, movement ecology and climate change modelling. She is a PhD Fellow at the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology, Kenya and the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.
Ntiea Ephraim Letsapo (Lesotho) has over 10 years of experience working in the water sector, especially water resources management, and has been involved in several water resources development projects. He works for the Department of Water Affairs of Lesotho as Head of Water Law Section in the division of Water Rights.
Eric Gabriel Jenn (Liberia) is a Transport and Geotechnical Engineer and an Infrastructure Policy Specialist, currently working as a Transport Specialist at the Ministry of Public Works in Liberia. His research in the application of weathered laterite soil as a base and sub-base material for both low and high volume road construction in tropical regions has been extensively referenced.
Mohamed Edabbar (Libya) helps to uplift exceptional teams with innovative solutions that are advancing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through the UN Solutions Summit, where he has been an observer and a member of the selection committee.
Randrianavelo Tsiry Nantenaina Rakotondratovo (Madagascar) is a Project Manager by profession with years of experience in development project management in Environmental, Health, Socio-Economy, Gender and Agricultural sectors. He is also involved in youth development and civic engagement through his organization called Move up Madagascar, which invests time and resources for education, environmental protection and currently for STEM.
Yusuf Chimole (Malawi) is the Vice-President of Robotics Foundation Limited and Founder of Lync Systems, a tech company that uses modern technologies like AI, IoT, RPA, Cloud, and Automation to develop efficient and effective solutions that could transform the lives of people. Currently, he is a final year student at University of Malawi, pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Information Technology.
Mohamed Traoré (Mali) has a passion for science and was selected as an early stage Researcher in the ForSEAdiscovery project as a postgraduate student. Under this fellowship, he undertook a PhD at the University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain, finishing in July 2018 with a Summa Cum Laude. He is currently an Assistant Professor at the National Engineering School of Bamako (ENI-ABT).
Dr Mamadou Tourad Diallo (Mauritania) has several years of experience in the fields of science and telecommunications. His research focuses on quality experience measurement techniques on fixed networks while he works also on topics related to artificial intelligence, smart grids and Internet of Things (IoT).
Devina Lobine (Mauritius) is a Science Advocate with interests in ethno-pharmacology, drug discovery and non-communicable diseases. She is currently a post- doctoral research fellow at the University of Mauritius, investigating Mauritian medicinal plants to manage Alzheimer’s disease. Devina is also passionate about youth empowerment and in her roles as Youth Ambassador of Southern Africa Network for Biosciences (SANBio) and a Fellow of Africa Science Leadership Program, she is actively engaged in promoting STEM and fostering bio-innovation in Africa’s young minds in Africa. She was recently selected for the 11th edition of the prestigious L’Oréal-UNESCO for Women in Science Sub-Sahara Africa program. This joint initiative, launched in 2010, rewards twenty women scientists each year for the excellence of their work.
Salma Bougarrani (Morocco) is a Researcher in the synthesis of new eco-innovative materials for wastewater treatment and has been involved in several international projects. She has also contributed to the organization of several international conferences and workshops in the field of women in science, water and environment and is a Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), and Co-Founder and Manager of Green WATECH, a social enterprise.
Ágata Correia (Mozambique) has been a Collaborator to UEM’s Coordination Center for Gender Issues (CeCaGe), participating in several projects concerning Gender Equality and Women Empowerment. Agata has also a member of TEDxMaputo Team, having organized several events. At the time being, she is SANBio’s FemBioBiz and Future Agro Challenge Project Manager at DEV Mozambique, as well as a SANBio Youth Ambassador, while developing her own company – SATIVA, a native medicinal herbs food supplement manufacturer.
Emmanuel Nepolo (Namibia) is a Health Professional Educator and Research Scientist in Namibia whose research focuses on the mechanisms of development and spread of resistance Tuberculosis strains using sequencing technology. He is a Health Professional Educator and Research Scientist in Namibia and currently serves as Senior Lecturer and Head of Department at a National School of Medicine, University of Namibia.
Moussa Hasan Ousseini (Niger) is a Member of a community of practice on local chicken and is interested in studying the best means of breeding local chicken, as a means of fighting poverty and food insecurity in rural Niger. He is a doctoral candidate in SVT at Abdou Moumouni University and holds a Master’s degree in Zoology and Applied Physiology.
Chioma Chukwu (Nigeria) founded a project called STEMTeers, which connects and engages young learners who hope to gain practical skills in their chosen STEM careers and inspire them to create innovative solutions for their community. A software developer who began her career in teaching, working part-time as a Software Programmer and Developer, she also coaches for Girl to Code for the International Technovation Challenge.
Elie Mandela (Rwanda) currently works at Mastercard Foundation as Associate Program Manager with a Bachelor of Sciences with Honors in Pharmacy from the University of Rwanda. He previously led the Hult Prize Rwanda national program, helping to create the biggest ecosystem of social entrepreneurs and innovation in Universities across the country. Prior to that, he worked with Johnson and Johnson (JnJ) Global Public Health and served on the Junior Steering Committee of the JnJ African Innovation Challenge – where he helped identify the best innovators from across the continent.
Mario Lopes (Sao Tome & Principe) is combating fake news in his country in his role as Editor of STP Digital, a news platform that shares news from citizen media around Sao Tome and Principe. He is also Co-Founder of Tela Digital Media Group and a Board Member and Policy Advisor in the National Youth Council of Sao Tome and Principe as well as Vice-President of the NGO Galo Canta.
Talla Ndiaye (Senegal) is involved in extending Senegal’s use of Data Intelligence as a Coordinating Member and Trainer at AfricaTechUp Tour, which aims to introduce young Africans to Big Data and Artificial Intelligence. He coordinates and contributes to several sustainable development projects such as OPAL (Open Algorithms), Data4Development, and Senagro, which fosters links between farmers and investors.
Beryl Birgitta Payet (Seychelles) is one of Seychelles’ Mandela Washington Fellows for 2019, an advocate for STEM education and passionate about the empowerment of women and girls. She is a Communications and Electronics Engineer with the Department of Information Communications Technology (DICT) in Seychelles.
Sebay J.B Momoh (Sierra Leone) is a Techwomen Fellow, a U.S. Department of State initiative geared towards professional mentorship for women in STEM, and the Program Coordinator for STEM Women SL, an NGO working towards improving science education in Sierra Leone and increasing the percentage of women in STEM workforce. As a co-regional Ambassador for Technovation Girls SL, Sebay supports girls between 10-18 years to learn skills they require to emerge as technology entrepreneurs and leaders.
Adnan Abdo Mohamed (Somalia) is an award-winning youth leader who studied Optometry and Visual Science at the University of Hargiesa, and was among the first batch of qualified optometrists trained in the country. He is passionate about youth engagement and Pan-Africanism and has taken part in several continental youth conferences and consultations, some of them organized by the African Union. Adnan is a Country Coordinator for the Pan-African Youth Network for the culture of Peace (PAYNCOP) and the Eastern Africa Youth Coordination Centroid (EAYCC).
Jeshika Ramchund (South Africa) has 11 years of experience in the planning, design and implementation of water, sanitation, sustainable and integrated developments infrastructure projects. She is a registered professional engineer working as a Lead Engineer for the Developments Division at Bosch Projects (Pty) Ltd in South Africa and holds a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
Emmanuel Saulo (South Sudan) is an Engineer by profession and Social Entrepreneur. He is currently CEO of EG International LTD, a Tech company that has created jobs for the youth. He also serves as the Chairperson and a Co-Founder of Sacco, an organization that promotes youth empowerment, entrepreneurship activities, and capacity building with special consideration for women.
Manara Asad Begira Arbab (Sudan) was the first Youth Advocate at UNICEF Sudan, where she took part in the “Generation Unlimited” project batch one, and along with her team became the global winners. She is passionate about promoting youth in science in Sudan as shown in her decision to volunteer to organize NEF Africa Science Week in 2018, after which she became its in-country organizer in 2019, presenting Sudanese candidates to Falling Walls Lab finals in Germany.
Sophia Yusuf Abeid (Tanzania) is the Co-Founder of “Blueprint Innovations” that delivers digital solutions. Abeid is known for her innovation “File Tracking System” (FTS) that easily locates files for large organizations. An Electronics and Telecoms Engineer, and currently a Graduate Trainee Engineer at Vodacom Tanzania, she was the youngest awardee of Next Einstein Forum’s Africa Science Week 2018 in Tanzania for women emerging in STEM.
Ousia A. Foli-Bebe (Togo) is a Togolese Innovator and the Founder and Executive Manager of EcoTecLab where he empowers the youth through innovation and STEM education. He deigns and facilitates STEM workshops on solar dryer, solar cooker, 3D printer, Recycling etc. With many years of experience as an innovator, he co-designed and built MoLab: a mobile STEM lab, through which he facilitates STEM education workshops at schools and villages in Togo.
Ines Gasmi (Tunisia) is an early career Researcher who holds a PhD in Agricultural Sciences with specialization in desertification, environment and climate change from the Institut National Agronomique of Tunisia. Coming from a country that suffers from water shortage and the direct impact of climate change, she is always trying to find solutions to protect water resources by getting involved with different networks and volunteering at different NGOs. She also holds Masters degrees in combating desertification and sustainable management of natural resources in dry areas (2013) from Institut National Agronomique in Tunisia, and in Land Management in Dry Lands (2017) from UNU-INWEH.
Philippa Ngaju Makobore (Uganda) is the Department Head of the Instrumentation Division at the Uganda Industrial Research Institute. She received a BSc in Electrical Engineering from the University of Alberta, Canada and a Professional Certificate in Embedded Systems Engineering from the University of California. Her research interests are in the design of medical devices that are appropriate and affordable for low resource contexts. She is a member of the African Biomedical Engineering Consortium, IEEE Engineering in Medicine Biology Society among others.
Oliver Jolezya Hasimuna (Zambia) currently works at the National Aquaculture Research and Development Centre in Kitwe. He is an Aquaculturist in Zambia’s Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock with a BSc in Fisheries and Aquaculture from the Copperbelt University in Zambia and a Diploma in Fisheries Science from the University of Zambia. Some of his areas of expertise include biodiversity conservation, fish anesthetics, fish nutrition among others.
Sicelo Dube (Zimbabwe)is the Founder of LEC Biotec, a company she started at the age of 23, which manufactures and distributes lab equipment and chemicals to schools. Sicelo champions STEM education, innovation and entrepreneurship, and is currently working as Junior Science Teacher and Senior Lab Technician at Hellenic Academy. She is the President of the Zimbabwe Science Laboratory Technicians Trust and also Co-Founder of Elevate Trust.
Far from an ordinary science forum, the NEF Global Gatherings position science at the centre of global development efforts. In the presence of political and industry leaders, and with a strong focus on youth and women, the voices of global science leaders’ have the opportunity to be heard and to have a major impact on Africa’s scientific future. In addition, the NEF, through NEF Ambassadors, organizes Africa Science Week across the continent each year.
Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of AIMS.
Founded in 2003, the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) is a pan-African network of centres of excellence for post-graduate training in mathematical sciences, research and public engagement in STEM. With centres in South Africa, Senegal, Ghana, Cameroon and Rwanda, AIMS is leading Africa’s socio-economic transformation through innovative scientific training, cutting-edge research, and public engagement. With expertly tailored academic and non-academic programs spanning through Centres of Excellence, Research Centres, the AIMS Industry Initiative and Gender-Responsive Teacher Training, AIMS equally created two critical initiatives: Quantum Leap Africa, which aspires to do leading-edge research in quantum science, and the Next Einstein Forum, which is positioning Africa to become an important player in global science. For more information, visit www.nexteinstein.org.
Dr Layih Butake
Senior Outreach Manager & Acting Director of Communications, AIMS
African Media Agency