Next Einstein Forum – Africa Science Week, Gaborone, Botswana
The Next Einstein Forum Africa Science Week recently took place, in Gaborone, Botswana. It was run under the theme “Harnessing the potential of natural resources towards sustainable Science, Technology and Innovation”. It spanned four days with activities including 2 days of virtual conference sessions and two in-person sessions which included a high school outreach programme. The outreach programme was intended to bring science to the schools.
The virtual and in-person presentations were evaluated by a group of assessors for the quality of the content, relevance, clarity, and presentation skills of the presenters. Two University of Botswana students scooped the first and second prizes for the postgraduate and early career presentations. The third position was awarded to Paidamoyo Mataranyika, a Microbiology Ph.D. candidate at the University of Namibia in the Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology, and Biotechnology.
She attended the conference and presented some of her ongoing Ph.D. research work. The title of her presentation was “Isolation and identification of rhizosphere and root endosphere associated bacteria of Vigna radiata (L.) R. Wilczek var. radiata, Vigna aconitifolia (Jacq.) Marechal], Vigna unguiculata L. Walp, Lablab purpureus (L.) Sweet var. Lignosus Prain and Macrotyloma uniflorum Var. Madhu.” Paidamoyo is supervised by Dr Jean Damascene from UNAM and Professor Percy Chimwamurombe from the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) Her research aims to develop environmentally and economically sustainable alternatives to chemical fertilisers to be used by subsistence farmers in Namibia.
These meetings aim to provide a platform for STEM practitioners including, researchers and policymakers from the SADC region to deliberate on strategies, policy direction, and technologically innovative efforts that can enhance the utilization of natural resources in African countries, particularly the SADC region, towards sustainable development. The optimization of natural resources will allow for diversification of commercial uses of these as well as diversify African economies.