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ECOWAS Courts Stakeholders for Mathematics Development

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ECOWAS is associating with other stakeholders in the desire to raise the banner of mathematics through competitions that can help propagate and popularize

the subject for the overall technological development of the African continent. 

To this end, the ECOWAS Commission would continue to support activities of the Pan African Mathematics Olympiad and other programmes to ensure that citizens on the continent do get a good grasp of the fundamentals of Science and Technology.  

This submission was made at the three-in one conference- the 1st Pan African Mathematics Olympiad (PAMO), the Pan African Mathematical Olympiad for Girls (PAMO-G) and the 23rd Pan African Mathematics Olympiad of the African Mathematical Union which held at the ECOWAS Commission on the 24th of August 2015. 

The ECOWAS Commissioner of Education, Science and Culture Professor Jean Pierre Ezin maintained that ECOWAS would continue to contribute to the promotion and development of mathematics and science in general.

He described the conference as an important regional initiative “to be supported because the goals are in tandem with the objectives of our department”.

The aim of the PAMO-G is among others, to encourage and empower girls to study and to have active careers in the mathematical sciences, to promote equal opportunity for girls in the mathematical sciences and to accelerate the growth of world class female mathematicians in Africa.

The ECOWAS Department of Science and Technology has since 2010 been organizing in conjunction with the African Union Commission, the Nkwame Nkrumah prize for regional scientific women in the areas of Basic Science and Innovation as well as what has been categorized as Life Sciences and Earth.

The Commissioner who spoke through his Head of Division, Science and Technology Dr. Roland Kouakou observed that, of the seven winners of the Nkwame Nkrumah prize since 2010, there has been only one mathematician while the others have been from Life Sciences and Earth bemoaning that the implication of this is that “the situation is very critical for mathematics”.

He revealed further “In recent years our studies have shown that in West Africa, less than 12 percent of scientists are women and the spotlight is made to the Life Science and Earth. Therefore, it is urgent that all stakeholders have to pay more attention to the young generations to give them the love of sciences and innovations particularly in mathematics”.

Conveying the desire of ECOWAS for the Olympiad to stimulate the love of sciences, mathematics and innovation in the participants, the Commissioner remarked: “The future of Africa is for the young, the scientific women because when you give an education to a girl you educate family, a home, a village, a country and a region.

In his opening ceremony address, the Director of Nigeria’s National Mathematical Centre (NMC) Professor Adewale Solarin harped on the need to keep the momentum of competitions stressing that once the study of mathematics as the bedrock of the sciences is continuously encouraged, the key to unlocking the world of development and societal advancement would be given to citizens of African nations.

Some icons of mathematics propagation and educationists who were at the ECOWAS main auditorium venue of the event included the president of the African Academy of Sciences Professor Aderemi Kuku, former Director of the NMC Professor Sam Ale, Executive Secretary of the Nigerian National Universities Commission (NUC) Professor Julius Okojie as well as the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education Mrs H.U. Abdullahi. There were also a good number of students as well as experts from international institutions. 

Participating countries which wooden banners were held aloft at the ceremonial match past included Nigeria, South Africa, Cameroon, Ghana, Niger, Benin, Tanzania and Tunisia.

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