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African chemistry to blossom?

The past decade has seen growth in African chemistry, fuelled in particular by the classification and investigation of natural products, according to James Darkwa, a chemistry professor at the university of Johannesburg.

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Yet it is generally agreed that despite the recent boom in African chemistry, with several continental and regional networks springing up, sustainable funding for research and maintenance of laboratory equipment remains a big challenge, Darkwa said.

Members of one such network, the Pan Africa Chemistry Network (PACN), have had several success stories since its launch in 2007. PACN and the Sao Paulo Research Foundation in Brazil sponsored Jean Claude Ndom from the University of Douala, Cameroon, for a two-month research fellowship; and the Chemical society of Nigeria will receive 2,000 books and travel grants.

PACN has also identified centres of excellence to act as regional training and research hubs. "This is the right way to get African chemists on the world map of chemistry," says Anthony Gachanja, professor of chemistry at one of the excellence centres--Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Kenya.

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Title Annotation:Science
Publication:African Business
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:60AFR
Date:Mar 1, 2011
Words:178
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