The population of Africa is growing faster than on any other continent but the nations of the sub-Saharan region face some of the biggest challenges in terms of poverty, disease, and conflict. Nature takes an in-depth look at how African nations are trying to build up their capacity in scientific research and development, which can help them tackle some of their most intractable problems.

Image credit: Hugh Sitton/Corbis


  • A helping hand

    What can individual researchers do for colleagues in Africa?

    Nature 474, 542 ( )


  • Give the new generation a chance

    Romain Murenzi wants more young scientists in the developing world to be given the same opportunity to build careers that he was.

    Nature 474, 543 ( )


  • The view from the front line

    Africa's nations are achieving some success in building their science capacity, but the foundations remain unsteady.

    Nature 474, 556-559 ( )

  • Enter the dragon

    China is pumping money into African science. But what do both sides stand to gain - and lose?

    Nature 474, 560-562 ( )

  • The wheat stalker

    Scientists are fighting damaging wheat fungi from East Africa, but breeding new crops won't help unless farmers plant them.

    Nature 474, 563-565 ( )


  • Africa AIMS high

    Eight years ago, physicist Neil Turok set up the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences in South Africa. The initiative is now set to expand across the continent.

    Nature 474, 567-569 ( )

  • Research in a war zone

    Bassirou Bonfoh and others offer lessons from a West African institute that has survived ten years of conflict.

    Nature 474, 569-571 ( )

  • Crowd control in Rwanda

    Sub-Saharan Africa's most densely peopled mainland nation is determined to head off a population crisis. Others should take note, say Josh Ruxin and Antoinette Habinshuti.

    Nature 474, 572-573 ( )

Elsewhere in Nature

  • Sudan splits and science community divides

    As South Sudan prepares to become Africa's newest nation, government plans to build an independent higher education system are in disarray and universities remain closed.

    ( 08 July 2011 )

  • Nature Podcast

    This week, the Nature Podcast talks about higher education as part of our Africa special.

    ( 30 June 2011 )