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26 MAR 2018

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  • 26th March 2018
  • Kigali Convention Centre, Kigali, Rwanda

 07:00 – 09:45

Coffee and Networking

 10:00 – 11:00

Welcome and Opening Ceremony

 11:00 – 12:00

Presidential Panel: Laying the Groundwork for Knowledge Led Economies: Policy & Practice

During the Presidential Panel, Heads of State will be given the opportunity to express their views on a White Paper jointly prepared in advance by NEF, the Sustainable Development Goals Center for Africa, the African Academy of Sciences and Carnegie Melon University Africa, submitted to the Heads of State a few months ahead of the Global Gathering. This paper entitled “Laying the Groundwork for Knowledge Led Economies” will focus on regulatory framework, scientific culture and capacity, and partnerships and structured financing required to build knowledge led economies. Moderated by Didier Acoutey, Heads of State and Former Heads of State will discuss their aspirations and commitments vis-a-vis the paper’s recommendations.

 12:00 – 12:30

NEF Fellows Award Ceremony & Pictures

 12:30 – 13:30


 13:30 – 14:00

NEF Fellows Spotlight Session 1

 14:00 – 15:00

Special Session: Bridging the Gap for Women in Science and Technology

ModeratorProf. Éliane Ubalijoro, McGill University

Prof. Tolu Oni, NEF Fellow & Co-Chair Global Young Academy
Heide Hackmann, Executive Director of the International Council for Science

This special session will focus on conclusions and recommendations from a White Paper on best practices for advancing women in scientific research. While panel on Women in STEM at the NEF GG2016 sought to define and to challenge barriers that cause women’s under representation in STEM fields, this 2018 special session will bring together political and industry leaders and focus on innovative policies to put in place by governments and industries to advance the status of women in science in academia and industry.

 15:00 – 15:30


 15:30 – 16:45

Plenary: Driving Innovation through Africa’s Digital Economy


Dr. Solomon Assefa, Director of IBM Research Africa
Mr. Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, Co-founder of Flutterwave
Prof. Aminata Garba, NEF Fellow and Director of Kigali Collaborative Research Center
Yinka Adegoke, Africa editor for Quartz
Josh Ghaim, Chief Technology Officer, Johnson & Johnson Family of Consumer Companies
Lutz Ziob, Dean of the 4Afrika Academy at Microsoft

Panelists will discuss how new digital trends are radically transforming the business landscape, reshaping the nature of work and the boundaries of enterprises, spurring innovation in business models and driving the transfer of knowledge and access to international markets. The digital economy is indeed the single most important driver of innovation, competitiveness and growth, and it holds huge potential for African entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). A small percentage of African enterprises currently taking advantage of new digital opportunities even though SMEs are the backbone of Africa’s economy. How African businesses adopt digital technologies will be a key determinant of their future growth.

 16:45 – 17:00


 17:00 – 18:00

Special Session: Inspiring the Next Generation: A Conversation with Nobel Laureates


Nobel Laureate Professor Dr. Klaus von Klitzing
Nobel Laureate Professor Peter Agre (M.D.)
John Travis, Managing Editor of News, Science
Vladimir Šucha, Director-General of the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission

 17:00 – 18:00

NEF Ministerial Meeting

 19:00 – 22:30

NEF VIP Dinner

  • 27th March 2018
  • Kigali Convention Centre, Kigali, Rwanda

 08:15 – 09:00

NEF Fellows Spotlight Session 2

 09:00 – 10:00

Plenary: Playing Catch Up: Accelerating Africa’s Lab to Market Process

Dr. Johannes Fruehauf, President of Lab Central and CEO of Cambridge Biolabs
Thierry Zomahoun, AIMS President and CEO and NEF Chairperson

This plenary session will focus on product innovation, in particular how to accelerate the time to market for African innovations. Panelists are expected to shed light on why Africa is missing opportunities to adopt innovative products and solutions and what can concretely be done.

 10:00 – 11:00


 11:00 – 11:45

NEF Fellows Spotlight Session 3

 11:45 – 12:45

Plenary: Africa’s Low Carbon Circular Economy

Dr. Justus Masa, NEF Fellow
Hans Bolscher, Senior Consultant Climate and Renewable Energy
Kathryn Toure, International Development Research Centre Regional Director, Sub-Saharan Africa

This plenary session will provide recommendations on how to unlock the full potential of this new emerging concept for Africa. The transition of African nations to industrial economies that do not produce waste and pollution will help accelerate its growth. However, each continent, country, region, city must design its own approach to a Circular Economy following its definition, principles and objects.

 11:45 – 13:00

Ci2i Challenge Top 15 Pitching Session

Africa’s top 15 innovators, pre-screened by the NEF team and a smaller Scientific Programme Committee, will participate in the NEF Ci2i Challenge Top 15 Pitching Session. This includes five candidates per category: Climate Smart Innovations, Personalized Health Care Innovations and Deeptech Innovations. The Challenge of Invention to Innovation (Ci2i) is the NEF’s innovation competition. Judged by industry leaders and researchers, the NEF is looking for the best research based innovations with potential for impact and immediate scale up. Each innovator will have no more than five minutes to pitch their idea and/or product. The top six as selected by the judges will pitch to all participants in plenary on Day 3.

 12:45 – 14:00


 14:00 – 15:30

Peek Session: Breakthroughs from Across the World (PLENARY)

Speaker: Dr. Oshiorenoya Agabi, Koniku
Douglas Wallace, Director, Center for Mitochondrial and Epigenomic Medicine at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute
Sayed Azam-Ali, Chief Executive Officer of Crops For the Future (CFF)

The afternoon will start with an exciting peek session that will give scientists and researchers selected from all over the globe an opportunity to unveil their exciting discoveries. Their breakthroughs in all kinds of different fields have many important implications for human life.

 15:30 – 16:00


 16:00 – 17:00

Parallel Session: Learning to Lead: What Capacities do Scientists of Tomorrow Need?

Opening Remarks: Prof. Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, President European Research Council
Moderator: Dr. Katrin Rehak-Nitsche, Head of Science, Robert Bosch Stiftung
Prof. Tumani Corrah, African Research Excellence Fund (AREF)
Dr. Tom Kariuki, African Academy of Sciences (AAS)
Dr. Connie Nshemereirwe, Acutalise Africa

The speed and quality of developing science capacity depends not only on infrastructure and the technical training of people, but is intimately linked to the quality of leadership to lead change. It is widely accepted that the future of scientific development lies in enabling interdisciplinary, interconnected and often large, international teams. Furthermore, as economies become more and more dependent on knowledge and innovation, and considering tremendous societal challenges such as rapid urbanization, sustainable use of natural resources or climate change, the need for transdisciplinary science and research is growing. For both these developments, effective leadership in science and research is pivotal. The session will gather experts in the field of science leadership to discuss what capacities scientists of tomorrow need in order to lead.

 16:00 – 17:00

Parallel Session: Africa: The New Fintech Frontier


Elizabeth Rossiello, CEO and Founder of Bitpesa
Dr. Abdigani Diriye, NEF Fellow

This session will be focus on the challenges ahead for fintech in Africa. Africa is fertile ground for new fintech services, which leverage the power of communities and digital technology to make financial services more relevant. Fintech businesses have developed into remarkable success stories. Innovators and fintech-preneurs have built new platforms that consumers can easily understand, trust, and in a click, can transact, borrow, save and insure. Despite the potential, even the most disruptive Fintech firms fail. Panelists will discuss this high failure rate and what can be done to mitigate risk.

 16:00 – 17:00

Parallel Session: Leveraging Artificial Intelligence to Improve Health Outcomes

Abdoulaye Baniré Diallo, Professor, UQAM & Chief Scientist My Intelligent Machines
Naheed Kurji, President and CEO of Cyclica
Naser Faruqui, Director of Technology and Innovation, Canada’s International Development Research Centre
Jean-Francois Gagné, Co-founder and CEO of Element AI

 16:00 – 17:00

Parallel Session: Towards Africa’s Energy Independence

Gadi Taj Ndahumba, African Legal Support Facility
Prof. Peter Ngene, NEF Fellow
Wilfrid Lauriano do Rego, Lead Partner – Energy & Power/Utilities, KPGM France
Jean-Pascal Pham-Ba, Secretary-General & Spokesperson of Terrawatt Initiative


This session will be introducing different Electricity-to-gas “pathways” including electricity to hydrogen, electricity to natural gas end-users, electricity to renewable content in petroleum fuel, seasonal energy storage to electricity, electricity to zero emission transportation, electricity to seasonal storage for transportation, etc. Electricity-to-fuel or Electricity-to-gas is indeed a promising option for storing interment renewables and distributed energy. It is a concept for the transition to increased renewable content of current fuels with a goal of transitioning to a sustainable low-carbon future energy system that interconnects power, transportation sectors and thermal energy demand all together. In this session, panelists will debate on barriers to adoption of these promising technologies, which ultimately will contribute in making the continent self-sustainable in energy.

 16:00 – 17:00

Ci2i Challenge Top 15 Pitching Session

Africa’s top 15 innovators, pre-screened by the NEF team and a smaller Scientific Programme Committee, will participate in the NEF Ci2i Challenge Top 15 Pitching Session. This includes five candidates per category: Climate Smart Innovations, Personalized Health Care Innovations and Deeptech Innovations. The Challenge of Invention to Innovation (Ci2i) is the NEF’s innovation competition. Judged by industry leaders and researchers, the NEF is looking for the best research based innovations with potential for impact and immediate scale up. Each innovator will have no more than five minutes to pitch their idea and/or product. The top six as selected by the judges will pitch to all participants in plenary on Day 3.

 18:00 – 22:30


Pan-African Robotic Competition

The Pan-African Robotics Competition (PARC) is an All-African Robotics competition which brings together middle, high-school, and university robotics teams to participate in a competition around a challenge based on a real-world topic relevant to science and the sustainable development of Africa. The theme for 2018 is Innovation in Health Care.

  • 28th March 2018
  • Kigali Convention Centre, Kigali, Rwanda

 8:15 – 09:00


 9:00 – 10:00

Discovering Africa's Brightest Scientists (PLENARY)

Mr. Arthur Zang, CardioPad
Ms. Temie Giwa-Tubosun, Life Bank
Mr. Brian Turyabagye
Dr. Dougbeh Christopher Nyan
Cedric Atangana, CEO of Infinity Space, Builder of WeCashUp
Mahmud Johnson, Founder and CEO of J-Palm Libera
Grâce-Françoise Nibizi,  Founder, SaCoDé & Ageteka ProjectGrace Nakibaala, Founder and CEO PetalTap

Every year, brilliant young Africans are making inspiring new discoveries, pushing the boundaries of innovation.  This plenary session will help participants catch up with recent breakthroughs across the continent. Each Innovator will share their breakthrough in five minutes and take a few audience questions.

 10:00 – 10:30


 10:30 – 11:30

Plenary: Feeding the World, Preserving the World

Moderator: Prof. Adam Sneyd, University of Guelph


Dr. Ousmane Badiane, Africa Director for the International Food Policy Research Institute
Dr. Sanushka Naidoo, NEF Fellow
Prof. Jean Palutikof, Director of National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility, Griffith University
Pierre Thiam, Co-founder of Yolele Foods
Agnes Kalibata, President, Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA)

Agriculture is the most important component of most African economies and has significant implications for food security and poverty reduction in the region. Climate Change Agriculture (CSA) is a conceptual framework focusing on sustainable increases in agricultural productivity and income, building resilience to foster adaptation to climate change and reducing and/or removing greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural production, where appropriate. The potential benefits of CSA are clear but its adoption by smallholder farmers in Africa is slow. The panel will address factors influencing CSA adoption in Africa including the technical, social, political and institutional environment.

 11:30 – 11:45


 11:45 – 12:45

Parallel Session: The Changing Global Map of Science

Moderator: Dr. Ingrid Wuenning Tschol, SVP Robert Bosch Stiftung


Prof. Nelson Torto, Executive Director, African Academy of Sciences
Dr. Rush Holt, CEO, American Association for the Advancement of Science
Prof. Dame Anne Glover, Vice-Principal, University of Aberdeen & former Chief Scientific Advisor to the European Union
Dr. Peter Strohschneider, President of DFG, German Research Foundation
Dr. Aku Kwamie, NEF Fellow
Theresia Bauer, Minister of Science, Research and the Arts, Baden- Württemberg State, Germany

This session will discuss the opportunities and risks of /for science in light of the global political developments. The top 20 positions of the often disputed, yet highly observed Shanghai Academic Rankings of 2017 are occupied by US and UK-Universities with one exception, the ETH in Zürich (19). In the remaining 80 positions of the top 100 European universities together with UK and US are dominating and only 5 Asian universities (4 from Japan and 1 from China) are present. The first African University, the University of Cape Town enters the ranking at position 300.

Political events and the way we will evaluate science and research in the future may clear the way for more fluctuation within this or similar rankings. International collaborations and competition for attracting the best brains from all over the world have become more difficult for so far highly successful countries like the UK and the US. China’s universities are rapidly developing and African scientists have started to become more visible on the global map of science. Every continent needs strong science and innovative solutions, as we are all facing awesome challenges, such as climate change, food production for a rapidly growing population, epidemic diseases or the decimation of other species. More than at any time in our history, we need to work together. We have developed the technology to destroy the planet, but not the ability to solve the problems. To do this, we need to break down, not build up barriers, between and within our nations.

 11:45 – 12:45

Parallel Session: Current Conversations in Physics


Prof. Jonathan Esole, NEF Fellow
Dr. Yabebal Fantaye, NEF Fellow

This session will bring together experts and young talented scientists from Africa and across the world to discuss recent discoveries and trends in mathematics and physics. This will provide an opportunity for young researchers to learn the current state of the research in these fields. The NEF welcomes researchers from both theoretical and applied mathematics and physics to use this opportunity to exchange ideas with the leading scientists.

 11:45 – 12:45

Parallel Session: Smart Cities & Smart Systems in Africa: Challenges & Opportunities


Prof. Saskia Sassen, Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology at Columbia University
Prof. Edgar Pieterse, South African Research Chair in Urban policy & Director of African Centre for Cities (ACC)
Prof. Hamidou Tembine, NEF Fellow
Gaetan Siew, Chairperson of the Port Louis Development Initiative and Special Envoy for UN Habitat
Jean Philbert Nsengimana, Special Advisor, Smart Africa

For this session, panelists will be looking at the concept of smart sustainable cities from the angle of city flows and urban planning. Within a city, there are two major classes of systems including flows that run through a city’s infrastructure and services. The former, city flows, include among other waste through sewerage and municipal waste systems and energy through electricity grids. In line with this, panelists will debate on challenges and opportunities for the continent to adopt waste-to-products technologies.

 11:45 – 12:45

Parallel Session: Changing the Way We Learn: Building Scientific Culture Early On


Prof. Romain Murenzi, Executive Director of The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS)
Dr. France A. Córdova, Director of the US National Science Foundation
Prof. Sidy Ndao, NEF Fellow & DAUST Founder
José M. F. Moura, Philip L. and Marsha Dowd University Professor, CMU & IEEE President Elect

This session will address critical points for the continent to build a pipeline of researchers and innovators. They will focus on how to build scientific culture early. Panelists will look at global best practices and provide recommendations on how to strengthen early and tertiary education.

 12:45 – 13:30


 13:30 – 14:45

Plenary Session: The Future of Health: Preventing & Diagnosing Disease

Dr. Agnes Binagwaho, Vice Chancellor at the University of Global Health Equity
Dr. Kevin Dzobo, NEF Fellow
Genya Dana, Head of Precision Medicine at the World Economic Forum
Paul Stoffels, Chief Scientific Officer, Johnson & Johnson
Dr. Nina Dudnik, Founder and CEO of Seeding Labs

This plenary session will discuss the next generation of healthcare strategies and mechanisms that integrate diagnostic information collected from multiple sources combined with state of the art technologies. Currently, on the continent, the field of healthcare is primarily focused on late stage disease including treatments applied relatively late with suboptimal health outcomes. Instead of curing diseases after the fact, we must focus on preventing disease before it strikes by building a true culture of health and disease prevention. Advancements in science and technology are helping us understand disease risk, detect disease early, enable preventative interventions as well as matching medication to the genetic properties of a patient. In this plenary session, panelists are expected to review the barriers that prevent wide deployment of personalized health in Africa (skills gaps, reliable infrastructures for state of the equipment, etc.) and make concrete recommendations to support African governments and local authorities in making informed policy decisions to transition to a culture of precision health, which will improve health outcomes and the health system as a whole.

 14:45 – 15:00


 15:00 – 15:30

Ci2i Final Pitches

In this exciting pitching session, participants will get to vote via the NEF GG2018 App for their top choice in each category. This electronic voting will provide 50% of the vote, with the 50% coming from the judges. The winner will be announced in the closing ceremony.

 15:30 – 15:45


 15:45 – 16:30

Closing Ceremony

The closing ceremony will start with a series of announcements including the NEF Ci2i competition Winner. This will be followed by the reading of the draft version of the Kigali Declaration. This declaration will be open to Public Consultation for the two weeks following the Global Gathering before it is finalized. The date of the next Global Gathering will be officially announced before the closing remarks by the Rwanda Education Minister.