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Regional partnership promoting high-impact ideas for a healthier Africa is announced


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The AAS President Prof Felix Dapare Dakora and WHO Regional Director for Africa Dr Matshidiso Moeti sign a memorandum of understanding on 28 October 2019 at the Grand Challenges Africa Annual Meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Regional partnership promoting high-impact ideas for a healthier Africa is announced

Addis Ababa, 28 October 2019 – The African Academy of Sciences (AAS) and the World Health Organization (WHO) today in Addis Ababa unveiled a strategic partnership that will leverage innovations and sustainably scale them up to guarantee a healthier and more productive future for Africa.

The partnership was sealed with a memorandum of understanding signed by the AAS President Felix Dapare Dakora and WHO Regional Director for Africa Dr Matshidiso Moeti at the 2019 Grand Challenges Annual Meeting.

Speaking after the signing ceremony, Professor Dakora said, “This partnership builds on our shared vision, mission and interest to catalyse science, technology and innovation to promote good health and well-being for the greater good of the African continent.”

“We will support the strengthening of national and regional platforms for innovation by collaborating with the African Academy of Sciences to create new country-level forums for innovation support,” said Dr Moeti. “The intention is to continually infuse new ideas and refresh the pipeline while at the same time building the ecosystem to support innovation.”

Through this partnership, the AAS and WHO will work together to promote the wide availability of quality, safe, effective, affordable and sustainable high-impact health interventions that benefit the public. The two parties will work on a process that will accelerate the development of innovations that are high priority and aligned with the WHO Global Action Plan for Healthy Lives and Well-being for All, which intends to hasten country progress on the health-related Sustainable Development Goals.

The parties have outlined a series of activities they will implement, leveraging each partner’s unique strengths to:

  • assess the needs of populations and develop priority areas for innovation and development;
  • strengthen national and regional platforms to provide governments with strategic information on the most promising innovations from local and global pipelines and advocate with governments for adoption of these ideas;
  • build a relevant pipeline of creative ideas, primed to be developed into successful interventions; and
  • explore mechanisms for financing the scaling up of the prioritized innovations.

With a decade left for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, the AAS and WHO are committed to accelerating the impact of innovations. Earlier this year, WHO launched the first Africa Innovation Challenge, which recognizes home-grown innovations with potential to solve African health challenges. Some innovations have already demonstrated success in significantly improving the health, lives and productivity of African citizens, such as those funded by the AAS that are tackling maternal, neonatal and child health; safe water, sanitation and hygiene challenges; antimicrobial resistance; new drug discovery; and data sciences.

Further information on the joint activities:

  • The AAS will implement the partnership through its Grand Challenges Africa programme, which promotes Africa-led innovations to help countries achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by awarding seed and scale-up grants to the continent’s most impressive solutions.
  • Grand Challenges Africa is implemented through the funding, programmatic and agenda-setting platform, Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa, which is an initiative of the AAS and the African Union Development Agency and supported by the Wellcome Trust, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the UK Department for International Development.




About the African Academy of Sciences
The African Academy of Sciences (AAS) is a non-aligned, non-political, not-for-profit
pan-African organisation whose vision is to see transformed lives on the African continent through science. Our tripartite mandate is recognising excellence through the AAS’ highly prestigious fellowship and award schemes, providing advisory and think tank functions for shaping Africa’s Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) strategies and policies and implementing key STI programmes addressing Africa’s developmental challenges through the agenda setting, programmatic and funding platform Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in science in Africa (AESA). AESA is an initiative of The AAS and the African Union Development Agency-NEPAD Agency.

Join us on: | Twitter @AASciences | and learn more at

About the World Health Organization
The World Health Organization contributes to a better future for people everywhere. Good health lays the foundation for vibrant and productive communities, stronger economies, safer nations and a better world. As the lead health authority within the United Nations system, our work touches people’s lives around the world every day. In Africa, WHO serves 47 Member States and works with development partners to improve the health and well-being of all people living here. The WHO Regional Office for Africa is located in Brazzaville, Congo. Learn more at and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube

The African Academy of Sciences
Deborah-Fay Ndlovu
Email: | Tel: +254 727 660 760

World Health Organization
Collins Boakye-Agyemang

Communications officer
Email:  | Tel: + 242 06 520 6565