Africa, home to 840 million people, is lagging behind in reaching the world's Millennium Development Goals to halve world poverty by 2015. The continent battles with chronic poverty and hunger, rampant disease, civil conflict, and political unrest in many parts. Environmental degradation, failing agriculture, lack of access to clean water, population growth, rapid urbanization, and loss of biodiversity add to the daunting list of challenges. The continent is not doing well on the education or science fronts either. Advances in science and technology are held back by poor education and research infrastructure, escalating brain drain, and a widening digital divide. Africa contributes only 1.4% of the world's scientific publications, with South Africa and Egypt accounting for more than half of the continent's share. While improved ...

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