Queensley C. Chukwudum (University of Uyo, Nigeria) and Saralees Nadarajah (University of Manchester, UK, and Howard University, Washington DC, USA) would like your assistance, to support African research that benefits Africa. They write:


It is a sad fact that Africa has been, and continues to be, affected by exploitation from outsiders, mainly perpetuated by Europeans and Americans. The Atlantic Slave Trade resulted in incalculable suffering for African people, and no compensation was given to those affected by it. The colonization of Africa has also brought significant loss of resources and wealth. Additionally, the extraction of minerals from Africa has been used to benefit industries in other countries.

Further, there is a history of intellectual exploitation where scientific papers, published in the name of Africa, have primarily benefited non-African authors, while not giving credit to African contributions. These publications have mostly benefited the careers of European and American researchers. It is important to acknowledge and address these injustices in order to move towards a more equitable future. One discipline that has benefited a great deal from publications in the name of Africa is statistics: statisticians in the Global North have benefited by publishing papers in the name of Africa, without including Africans as co-authors. These include people at the top of their profession who are supposed to be torch-bearers of statistics in the UK and globally. Sadly, this has given rise to a neocolonial science.

Sometimes, African scholars have been used to carry out the groundwork, such as the collection of data for survey, data cleaning, fieldwork and so forth. However, they don’t receive acknowledgment, let alone training so that they become a core part of the research studies. The results of this kind of treatment are:

1. African scholars are kept in the dark, both funding-wise and knowledge-wise.

2. Seeing European and American researchers as the acme of knowledge and truth, they troop out en masse to these Western countries in search of greener academic pastures. This has led to massive brain drain in many African countries.

3. This lack of confidence perpetuates across generations, causing a drastic decline in STEM-related researchers in Africa, and researchers who do not believe that they can undertake high quality research (on their own) that will be accepted by top-tier journals. This has been made evident in Duermeijer et al. (2018, Elsevier Connect) which indicates that only about 1 percent of the world’s research is from Africa by African scholars. There is however a silver lining, according to this report: Africans possess a high potential for tremendous growth in scientific production.

It was in the pursuit of justice and equality, and a burning desire to foster such a growth process, that in 2017 Saralees Nadarajah established the EducateAfrica project: https://educate-africa.github.io/.

One of the aims of EducateAfrica is to work with researchers in Africa, encouraging them to work on problems that are important to the continent. Many papers have been published as a result of this collaboration, including Musara et al. (2022, Scientific Reports, 12, article number 7698), Okorie et al. (2021, Scientific Reports, 11, article number 12309), and Chukwudum and Nadarajah (2022, Environmental Modeling and Assessment, 27, 343-362).

This collaboration continues in spite of the many difficulties that researchers in Africa face. Most of the statistics departments in Africa do not have adequate resources. Often there are very few functional computers for the entire department. In many countries there are daily electricity cuts (not to mention shortages of food, fuel, etc.) which adds to the hardship. Overall, a typical African scholar barely crosses the survival threshold, and hence requires all the help and nurturing care they can get. Needless to say that the perpetrators of neocolonial science will never provide such care.

Ways to support

We are resolute in our desire to help change the narrative in Africa no matter the cost. If some help can be provided in terms of books, journals, computers and funds through the GoFundMe platform https://gofund.me/2bfbcd90, that will go a long way in making a direct impact in the lives of locally-based African statisticians and mathematicians.