‘Africa needs more scientists to record scientific breakthroughs’

For Africa to break-away from the backwaters of underdevelopment, Professor of Chemistry, State University of New York, Binghamton, Omowunmi Sadik, said expertise in science and engineering field is a requisite.

Besides, she posited that more females should be encouraged to go into Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), since women are still underrepresented in the field.

Sadik, who is also the Director, Center for Research in Advanced Sensing Technologies and Environmental Sustainability (CREATES), in a chat with The Guardian, pointed out that the crisis in the energy sector, food safety, healthcare, sustainable water solutions, among others, needs scientific knowledge to be properly fixed.

She subsequently called on African leaders to invest in science and technology from elementary through high school while also encouraging teachers to engage students in basic sciences.

She said, “Africa and Nigeria in particular needs expertise in science and technology in order to advance as a continent. There are tons of problems in energy, food safety, healthcare, sustainable water solutions and agricultural developments that require expertise in STEM fields. We should encourage women to tap into these areas. We need to make investment in science and technology from elementary through high school and encourage teachers to engage students in basic science.

“And so, for Nigeria to advance in science and technology, we need more scientists and engineers. Ask any Nigerian family, everyone would like their children to be doctors and lawyers. There is nothing wrong with this aspiration except that there are more fields of human endeavors than just being doctors and lawyers. We need to encourage every student to go into the STEM fields regardless of their gender.”

According to her, students should be encouraged into STEM fields through internship opportunities in companies and national laboratories while advising that young girls and women should be encouraged to spend critical times in research laboratories and observe how science is conducted.

“We need to discourage the stereotypes that a woman’s place lies in the kitchen. Science and technology fields are not easy fields to be in but we should not exclude women and girls. They should be given opportunities to explore science and mathematics right from the elementary to junior secondary and senior secondary levels.”


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