Ms Sinovuyo Banzana, science communicator at DSI-Mandela Nanomedicine Platform (Nelson Mandela University, South Africa) and Dr Steven Mufamadi, Research Chair in nanomedicine at the DSI-Mandela Nanomedicine Platform (Nelson Mandela University) and the founder of Nabio Consulting (Pty) Ltd. have written a January 15, 2023 Nanowerk Spotlight article. While the focus is largely on South Africa, they also provide insight into what is happening in other countries on the African continent.
From the January 15, 2023 Nanowerk Spotlight article, Note: Links have been removed,
In Africa, South Africa is considered as the leading country in terms of health care services and biomedical research. In the past few years or so, the South Africa Agency for Science and Technology Advancement (SAASTA) and other education programs started to engage with the community and spread the word on nanomedicine so that everyone can have a better understanding about how nanomedicine works.
South Africa has established a MSc Nanoscience Postgraduate Programme – a collaborative programme between the University of Johannesburg (UJ), Nelson Mandela University (NMU), the University of the Free State (UFS) and the University of the Western Cape (UWC).
In Egypt, the Zewail City of Science, Technology, and Innovation a non-profit, independent institution of learning, research and innovation, has established an undergraduate bachelor’s degree of science in nanoscience: the BSc in Nano Science.
Over the past decade, the South African government has been investing in nanotechnology-based equipment and infrastructure, human capital development, and R&D at several public universities and science centres. These research facilities are available to researchers from across the continent and beyond. Prominent among them are the
Centre for High Resolution Transmission Electron Microscopy (HRTEM)
DSI-Mandela nanomedicine platform at Nelson Mandela University (NMU)
National Centre for Nanostructured Materials – a characterisation facility and nanomaterials industrial development facility at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)
Mintek Nanotechnology Innovation Centre (NIC).
The future of nanomedicine in Africa is promising. The World Health Organization (WHO) has established partnerships with the pharmaceutical industry, such as Pfizer in South Africa and Moderna in Kenya, to establish the first two African mRNA hubs. These public-private partnerships focus on technology transfer and human capacity building, which will enable African scientists and inventors to produce their own mRNA vaccines and nanomedicine products that are tailored to the specific needs of the African population. This is crucial in addressing vaccine inequality and ensuring access to medicine for all.
In the next few years, it is likely that we will see nanomedicine-based drugs or vaccines developed in Africa enter the global market.
African governments need to take advantage of nanomedicine innovation and their partnerships with international private companies in order to develop their nanomedicine innovation and create job opportunities, and/or to achieve their United Nation Sustainable Development Goals (UN-SDGs) by 2030.
You can find out more about the Nanomedicine programme at Nelson Mandela University here.
Thank you to Ms Banzana and Dr. Mufamadi. It’s always good to get some insight into nanotechnology developments from a region that is not North America or Europe.