Quality research in Africa matters more than ever — for the whole world

We are at a unique moment in history. Two particular, ongoing events stand out. COVID-19 is one. The other is a long-overdue recognition of inequities among people in the US and worldwide, as exemplified by the Black Lives Matter movement. These issues provide a useful, timely lens through which to consider the role and value of African research.

There are many levels on which the future of the world, not just Africa’s, rests on African research. First, Africa represents the youngest and fastest growing population in the world. This makes intellectual investment an imperative, to harness talent that is a significant and growing share of the global population.

Second, Africans represent the oldest and most diverse genome in the world. Human genetics research has the potential to reveal some of the small differences in our genes that are influential in determining what makes Africa more susceptible or resistant to certain

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Biodiversity: Why the nature crisis matters, in five graphics

Butterfly exhibition, LondonImage copyright
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Human activities are destroying the natural world, leading to the extinction of animal and plant species at an alarming rate. Now, world leaders are promising action to tackle the problem. But will it be enough?

What is biodiversity and why does it matter?

Biodiversity is the variety of all living things on Earth, and how they fit together in the web of life, bringing oxygen, water, food and countless other benefits.

Recent reports and studies have produced alarming news about the state of nature.

Last year, an intergovernmental panel of scientists said one million animal and plant species were now threatened with extinction.

And this month, a report found global populations of mammals, birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles plunged by 68%, on average, between 1970 and 2016.

Are we living in an age of extinction?

Scientists have warned that we are entering the sixth mass extinction,

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