Africa and India have common problems of communicable and non-communicable diseases, high maternal and child mortality, and weak health-delivery systems. Together with other funders, the Wellcome Trust is supporting capacity-building and innovation in health research in both regions, through the Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa (AESA) and the India Alliance.
A flourishing trade in low-cost Indian drugs is transforming health care in Africa. However, India and many African countries spend less than 1% of their total gross domestic product on science and technology, and have abysmally few researchers — even though Africa and India together contain almost one-third of the world's population and share half of its disease burden.
This month's India–Africa Health Sciences meeting discussed how best to utilize the US$100-million Development Fund and $10-million Health Fund that the Indian government pledged to Africa last year. Common goals, knowledge generation and innovation are to be the pillars of this partnership.
We invite other international funders and governments to join in to scale up local and inter-regional partnerships. Many African governments are now prepared to complement international and bilateral investments in science in Africa.