Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Pledges Support for Alvaro Sobrinho’s Charity

African charity, the Planet Earth Institute, led by international philanthropist Dr Alvaro Sobrinho, has received substantial financial support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for its new campaign. The Planet Earth Institute hopes to use the grant to mobilise and bring together local, national and pan-continental efforts to fund research and development in Africa.

The Planet Earth Institute has spent the last few years promoting the scientific advancement of Africa. The organisation has already funded dozens of PhD’s across the continent and plans to fund thousands more over the coming years. On top of this, the Planet Earth Institute has raised money for a higher education research centre and recently launched a pioneering initiative to bring science and scientific careers to the attention on secondary school students in Mauritius and Angola.

Chairman of Institute, Dr Alvaro Sobrinho has worked tirelessly to promote science education on continent, through his work with the Planet Earth Institute and through his own private investments and as an advocate speaking at events and writing for high-profile publications. Dr Sobrinho is convinced of Africa’s need for better and more accessible science education if the continent is going to continue to thrive in the 21st Century.

Writing for a news publication several months ago, Dr Alvaro Sobrinho explained the changing nature of the economic impetus driving Africa. Low-skilled jobs, he noted, will become less and less common as the economy shifts towards high-tech, science based production, utilising the latest in robots technology. If young Africans are to find a place in this economy, Dr Sobrinho believes they will need an education based on STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects.

With the funding from the Gates Foundation, the Planet Earth Institute will be capable of embarking on a campaign to convince governments and private capital to invest in Africa’s future, by directing their capital towards invest in research and development. In particular, it is likely that the Planet Earth Institute will call for greater investment in high-level STEM education, in order to create a new generation of graduates, skilled in the science, who can lead Africa into an era of growth and prosperity based on high-tech industry.

Science and Technology Enrolment Programme arrives in Angola

The Planet Earth Institute’s Science and Technology Enrolment Programme is due to begin in Angola in December. After a successful start in Mauritius, the Science and Technology Enrolment Programme is now being brought to other African nations, starting with Angola, the birthplace of Alvaro Sobrinho, the Planet Earth Institute’s Chairman.

Science and Technology Enrolment Programme, STEP for short, focuses on promoting science and technology to young African students. The objective of the programme is rectify the poor enrolment rates for science and mathematics in African schools, which far below desirable averages.

Given the importance of science and technology in overcoming development challenges and building a sustainable economy, the Planet Earth Institute views increasing enrolment in related subjects as an essential part of the development agenda. The Planet Earth Institute hopes to demonstrate the usefulness and applicability of science by giving them hands on experience and the chance to meet professionals.

In Mauritius, where STEP began, students have visited an ocean explorer vessel, witnessed live science demonstrations and had the chance to speak with experts from a variety of fields. By all accounts, students have come away feeling positive and enthusiastic about science and its potential.

Alongside launching STEP in Angola, the Planet Earth Institute recently announced that it would be funding a selection of PhD programmes in the country. This PhD scholarships are part of an ongoing funding drive led by the Planet Earth Institute, which aims to provide money for 10,000 PhDs over the coming decade.

From the 14th to the 15th December, STEP will host an event in Angola with help from a local development charity. Over the course of this and several more events, the organisations hope to reach some 1500 students, offering them education, enthusiasm and skills.

7 Steps to Improving African Education

Sarah Hambly from the Planet Earth Institute has presented a detailed, 7-step plan for improving the quality of African education. The Planet Earth Institute is led by Dr Alvaro Sobrinho, with a mission to achieve the scientific advancement of Africa. A central tenet of the institutes agenda is the improvement of education, particularly in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, a group of subjects commonly referred to as STEM.

In a convincing article, Hambly describes the 7 ways education must be improved in Africa. Starting with concrete proposals such as creating centres of excellence, and including more abstract goals, like being willing to take more risks. She points out that while there is nearly 1 billion people in Africa the continent can boast only 2000 higher-education institutions.

Building centres of excellence, argues Hambly, would be an enlightened first step towards overcoming the institutional and resource shortages. Funding could be pooled and focused on a single institution that would provide leadership to other schools. The centre of excellence could demonstrate best practises and conduct essential research.

Combining centres of excellence with an improvement in digital technology could ensure access to education is not hampered. Providing excellent online learning opportunities would open education up to millions more Africans. Linking these students with Africa’s budding tech hubs would help them to further integrate and adapt to an increasingly tech based economy.

Implementing these improvements while also measuring performance, tailoring courses to the needs of labour markets and increasing links with the private sector, will ensure that newly educated Africans are ready to enter the job market. Linking education to job creation, argues Hambly, is essential.

Finally, Hambly urges African educators to take risks. To push the boundaries of what is possible within education by taking a chance and investing in what Africa needs. She claims that with the right government support and investment “Africa’s increasing youth can continue to innovate their way into a sustainable, science-led and bright tomorrow.”

Alvaro Sobrinho Advocates Development Impact Bonds

In order for Africa to achieve the targets laid down by the United Nations and it partners in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the continent will need to raise huge amounts of capital, argues Alvaro Sobrinho, banker, philanthropist and Chair of the Planet Earth Institute. Writing in a well-known publication, the well-respected banker drew attention to the massive gap in funding that still stands in the way of African development.

To achieve the ambitious aims agreed upon in the SDGs, the world will need to invest $3.9 trillion every year for 15 years. This money will need to go developing nations, to improve their healthcare, their education systems, their energy supply, their economies and their infrastructure. For the latter, an estimated $100 billion a year will be necessary for Africa alone.

The majority of the funding, claims Alvaro Sobrinho, will come from governments and philanthropy, the remaining difference will need to be found elsewhere. He suggests private finance could fill the gap in funding need to meet the Sustainable Development Goals. By investing in Development Impact Bonds (DIBs), private finance could propel African development forward, while making mutual gains.

DIBs work on the basis of a series of goals and targets. Only when the targets are met will investors see a return on their money. This ensures accountability and oversight, with investors pressuring recipients to live up to their obligations. Once targets have been met and goals fulfilled, the investor is paid by governments or donors, depending on the project.

This form of investment would allow African development to get started immediately, rather than waiting until governments have the money years down the line, if at all. Areas that could benefit from Development Impact Bonds include education, an area the Sobrinho focuses on personally through his work with the Planet Earth Institute and as an advocate in his on time.

A successful businessman, Sobrinho is keen to emphasis the mutual nature of DIBs, investors will also benefit from the arrangement.

Angolan PhD Programme to be Offered by the Planet Earth Institute

During the 20th edition of the prestigious Technic-Scientific Journeys held by Angolan development organisation FESA, trustees of the Planet Earth Institute announced a new scholarship programme for Angolan scientists researching in one of several areas the institute believes require attention if development, economic and social issues on the African continent are to be overcome.

Trustee, Sir Christopher Edwards announced the launch of the scholarship programme during his presentation. The audience, comprised of government official from around the world, academics and representatives of business and civil society were respective to the announcement.

The scholarship will be the second of its kind launched by the Planet Earth Institute, the charity organisation chaired by Angolan born businessman and philanthropist, Alvaro Sobrinho. Earlier in 2016 the charity launched a similar scholarship programme in Mauritius, where much of the organisations activities have been focused during the last year.

On top of the scholarship programme the Planet Earth Institute has established a permanent office in Mauritius and has been running a science advocacy programme aimed at young Mauritian students in the hope of inspiring them to study science-focused subjects in the future. The Angolan scholarship programme, the Eduardo dos Santos PhD Scholarship Programme, signals a return to the organisations roots.

Chairman, Dr Alvaro Sobrinho, is still very much involved in his native country as Executive Chairman of an Angolan investment bank. The Planet Earth Institute has been involved in supporting Angola’s higher education infrastructure for several years, the scholarship programme is the most recent of the organisations attempts to improve scientific research in the country.

During his speech, Sir Christopher Edwards was not specific about when the scholarship programme would launch. He simply assured the crowd that the programme would be up and running within the coming months.

Dr Alvaro Sobrinho Receives Doctorate from Prestigious University

The philanthropic and development work of Dr Alvaro Sobrinho has earned him an honorary doctorate from the University of Middlesex. The honorary degree was presented to successful, Angolan business man by University vice chancellor, Professor Tim Blackman during a ceremony attended by the board of the Planet Earth Institute.

Dr Alvaro Sobrinho has dedicated years of his life to advancing science, technology and innovation in Africa. As the driving force behind the dynamic NGO, the Planet Earth Institute, Dr Sobrinho has overseen the creation of an extensive PhD funding programme, which will support high-level research by African scientists for a decade. The programme offers full scholarships to students who’s research attempts to resolve specific development issues in the field of health, energy, agriculture, water supply and innovation.

The PhD programme awarded its first scholarship grants earlier this year to promising African academics studying in Mauritius. Dr Sobrinho hopes that the programme will provide solutions to key social, economic and development issues facing the continent, as well as train and provide opportunities for African scientists.

Alongside his philanthropic work, Dr Sobrinho is working with finance institutions and international businesses to bring much needed infrastructure to Africa. New telecommunications networks and renewable energy projects are just the beginning.

As an influential voice in African business and development circles, Dr Sobrinho has worked hard to raise awareness of need to educate young Africans in order to prepare them for Africa’s technological future. Millions of young Africans are expected to join the continent’s workforce every year for the next ten years, Dr Sobrinho has been active in create a network of organisations dedicated to ensuring a smooth entrance into the labour market for young Africans.

The honorary degree recognises all of these achievements and the many more that can be attributed to the dedication and determination of Dr Alvaro Sobrinho.

The philanthropic and development work of Dr Alvaro Sobrinho has earned him an honorary doctorate from the University of Middlesex. The honorary degree was presented to successful, Angolan business man by University vice chancellor, Professor Tim Blackman during a ceremony attended by the board of the Planet Earth Institute.

Dr Alvaro Sobrinho has dedicated years of his life to advancing science, technology and innovation in Africa. As the driving force behind the dynamic NGO, the Planet Earth Institute, Dr Sobrinho has overseen the creation of an extensive PhD funding programme, which will support high-level research by African scientists for a decade. The programme offers full scholarships to students who’s research attempts to resolve specific development issues in the field of health, energy, agriculture, water supply and innovation.

The PhD programme awarded its first scholarship grants earlier this year to promising African academics studying in Mauritius. Dr Sobrinho hopes that the programme will provide solutions to key social, economic and development issues facing the continent, as well as train and provide opportunities for African scientists.

Alongside his philanthropic work, Dr Sobrinho is working with finance institutions and international businesses to bring much needed infrastructure to Africa. New telecommunications networks and renewable energy projects are just the beginning.

As an influential voice in African business and development circles, Dr Sobrinho has worked hard to raise awareness of need to educate young Africans in order to prepare them for Africa’s technological future. Millions of young Africans are expected to join the continent’s workforce every year for the next ten years, Dr Sobrinho has been active in create a network of organisations dedicated to ensuring a smooth entrance into the labour market for young Africans.

The honorary degree recognises all of these achievements and the many more that can be attributed to the dedication and determination of Dr Alvaro Sobrinho.

Science and Technology Education the Key to African Development

‘Africa is now on the march and science has been widely acknowledged as being the vehicle of growth and development for the Continent’ – H.E. President Ameenah Gurib-Fakim.

During the Science Africa UnConference, hosted by the African NGO the Planet Earth Institute on the 14th September in Kensington Town Hall, London, H.E. President Ameenah Gurib-Fakim called for the creation of a ‘generation science’. A new generation of young Africans educated in the sciences and prepared to lead their continent into a bright and prosperous future.

Her call was supported by Planet Earth Institute Chairman, Dr Alvaro Sobrinho, who pointed out that 60% of the African population is under the age of 30; “we must not let these talents go to waste, and need to make every effort to retain our most talented young people”, he continued.

President Ameenah Gurib-Fakim used her speech at the Science Africa UnConference to announce the notion of a generation science. She called for greater investment in education and training to be made across the continent. Arguing convincingly in front of more than 170 conference participants, President Ameenah Gurib-Fakim suggested that a generation of Africans equipped with scientific and technical skills could becoming leaders of industry and solve the numerous development problems the continent is facing.

With 10s of millions of young Africans expected to join the labour force over the next decade, policy makers and businesses have a unique opportunity to create a vibrant, enthusiastic, well-educated workforce that could bring Africa to the forefront of the global economy, claimed President Ameenah Gurib-Fakim and Dr Alvaro Sobrinho. Her Excellency concluded her speech with a call to action, asking all participants to take part in promoting and providing educational opporuntinties to young Africans. By working together, argued President Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, “a ‘Generation Science’…can lead sustainable and inclusive development on our beautiful continent”.

Generation Science Announced at PEI Conference

On 14th September, the Planet Earth Institute (PEI) hosted its annual Science African UnConference in London. The event brought together a host of experts and professionals from international NGOs, development organisations, the United Nations, the UK government, academic institutions and trans-national businesses. More than 170 high-profile individuals participated in the day-long event. Presentations, panel discussions, workshops and Q&A sessions made up the core activities over the course of the day. Participants were invited to share their views on, and offer practical solutions to, the African youth bulge issue.

More than 10 million young Africans will enter the economy every year for the next decade. This is an extremely high number of people for any economy to cater for. The conference explored ways to promote scientific learning to the millions of young Africans that will be searching for employment in the coming years.

The African economy is widely expected to become increasingly based on technology, a change that is being called the Fourth Industrial Revolution. If young Africans are to find a place for themselves in a technology based world, they will need scientific knowledge and skills. The conference focused on how to create Generation Science on the African continent.

Alvaro Sobrinho, Chairman of the PEI, offered his thoughts on Generation Science during the conference. He emphasised the role learning mathematics played in driving forward his own career and how science has become the focal point of his own children’s education. He hopes that opportunities he and his children have been able to enjoy are made available to many more Africans in the coming years.

If Africa can provide high-level training and education to its youth, Alvaro Sobrinho believes the continent and its people can “realise its potential and lead the world as scientists, engineers and innovators.”

British Council Added to the Science Africa UnConference Line-up

Earlier this week the Planet Earth Institute (PEI) announced that the British Council would be joining the line-up at next week’s Science Africa Conference in London. In keeping with the theme of the conference – which focuses on how to get young Africans the education they need for science based economy – the British Council with a give a workshop of improving education in developing regions.

With years of experience running educational and cultural programmes all over the world, the British Council has recently been awarded the task of managing a Department For International Development (DFID) programme focused on improving education in Africa, the Middle East and Asia. The programme, which has a budget of £45 million, will look at how higher-education can be transformed to meet the changing needs of the labour market in the aforementioned regions.

The focus of the programme compliments the work of the PEI; the Institute has set up several high-education initiatives during the last few years, including an extensive PhD funding programme and a high-education research institute. PEI Chairman, Dr Alvaro Sobrinho, has spoken often of the need to revamp and improve higher-education in Africa if the continent is to meet the economic, social and developmental challenges of the coming years.

Alongside the workshop, the British Council will join the list of distinguished organisations supporting the event; the list includes the World Bank, IMB Research Africa and several prominent UN bodies. These partner organisations have joined the PEI in contributing financially to the hosting of the conference. Their combined contributions have ensured the conference remain free to anyone wishing to participate.

Registration can be carried out online, via the PEI’s website. The Conference takes places next week, on September 14th. The day will be hosted by Lord Paul Boateng and HE President Gurib-Fakim, with Dr Alvaro Sobrinho in attendance throughout the day.

Keynote Speaker Announced for Science UnConference

This week the Planet Earth Institute finally announced the keynote speaker for the Science Africa UnConference taking place in London on September 14th. While the agenda and workshops had already been made public on the institutes website, until recently attendees were unaware of who would be speaking at the conference. The Planet Earth Institute have now confirmed the keynote speaker, along with two more esteemed speakers.

The keynote will be given by the Chief Scientific Advisor at the UK Department of International Development, Professor Charlotte Watts. Professor Watts has worked for the Department of International Development for nearly two years, giving scientific advise to ministers and members of the government. Prior to her government position, Professor Watts conducted research and taught at the London School of Hygiene and Medicine, as Professor of Social and Mathematical Epidemiology. She will discuss strategies for preparing young Africans for an economy focused on high-tech manufacturing and science based innovations.

The input from Professor Watts will be substantiated and reinforced by two more high-profile speakers, Dr Thomas Kariuki and Kedest Tesfagiorgis. Dr Kariuki is a Kenyan biomedical scientists who has won numerous awards and accolades for his work in the field. He has recently been appointed Director of the newly formed Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa. The new body is part of the African Academy for Science and is intended to collect and distribute funding for scientific research in Africa. The organisation has obviously overlapping objectives with the Planet Earth Institute and the intention of the conference itself, making Dr Kariuki an ideal speaker.

Ms Tesfagiorgis is an Ethiopian born health advocate; she is currently working for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on the Grand Challenges Program. The program awards grants to researcher working on promising solutions to major international health issues. Substantial grants have been awarded to thousands of researchers resulting in numerous innovative solutions to pressing health problems.

The three speakers will share their thoughts on the conference’s theme, the African youth bulge and how to equip young Africans with the skills they will need to become future scientific leaders on the continent.