An initiative to propel Africa beyond her current status, dubbed the Africa – US Presidential Forum on STEM/AI, will come off from September 20 to September 22, 2023 on the side-lines of the General Assembly in New York.

African Heads of State will engage at the Forum which is part of a campaign to give African youth the opportunity to study STEM and AI in the United States, Canada and other developed countries.

 Due to be rolled out in September 2023, the campaign is driven by SOS Global Investments and Nekotech Center’s African STEM & Sports Institute of Excellence (ASSIE) Prep School and Readiness College.

Dates for the Forum were disclosed at a  virtual event on August 3.

President Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera of Malawi confirmed during the launch that he would join other African leaders in New York and at Rutgers University in New Jersey for deliberations that would help “equip Africans with the  knowhow and wherewithal to do what we can do for ourselves instead of relying on others.”

The Executive Chairperson of the SOS Global Investments and the Nekotech Centre,   Princess A. K. Ocansey in an address, indicated that the Centre and its partners are providing $25 million in prep school scholarships and access to $1billion in educational loans to support  students who qualify to participate in the programme.

The requirements are a Bachelor’s degree with GPA 3.0/4.0, age 21-40 and ability to cover other expenses such as readiness and English proficiency, tickets, medicals, US Visa and settlement services.

“The scholarships for the Prep school range from 20% to 100%, and each student can get up to $100,000 in the loan programme for the payment of their tuition, books and living expenses, “said Nekotech’s Executive Director, Ms. Ida Abbeyquaye.

The candidates will do a two-year Master’s degree in STEM/AI after which they will work for three years earning $60,000-$200,000/year and return to Africa. 
The candidates will pay back the loan starting with interest only while in school.

 Payment of the principal will start six months after they start working full time.

Candidates have up to 10 years to pay back the loan.

The Provost and Executive Vice Chairman of Rutgers University, Newark-NJ, Dr Jeffrey Robinson,  spoke about his institution’s collaboration with SOS Global Investments and Nekotech Center  and touched on some of the courses available at Rutgers University to be offered to the incoming African students.

A partner of SOS/Nekotech, Dr. Justina Mutale, a renowned gender activist and academic, described the programme as “a great opportunity to give Africans global level education to make them competitive.

It will also provide education that fits the future needs of Africa and the future of work and the future of the world which is AI and the digital age.”
As part of the programme, students start with a Virtual Readiness and English Proficiency College.  

Upon certification, candidates become certified to enter the ASSIE Prep School at a 100% scholarship for certain partner schools and 20% scholarships for other schools.

The scholarships are valued at $2500 through the African STEM and Sports Institute of Excellence (ASSIE) and up to USD100,000 loan on admission to the STEM-Affiliated Schools.

The programme started on a pilot basis five years ago and already has African students in top schools like the Colorado School of Mines, Duquesne University, University of Maryland Baltimore County, Stevens Institute of Technology, Pacific University- Oregon and more.
It has students from Ghana, Sierra Leone and Malawi already in the USA studying and working and Zambian candidates with visas will leave for the USA before the end of August.

President Chakwera was installed as the Chairperson of the Africa-US Presidential Forum on STEM/AI and was presented with a $2.5 million prep school scholarship pledge and access to $100 million educational loan for up to 1000 Malawians for 2024 to undertake STEM/AI programmes in the USA and Canada.

The actual cheques will be presented to President Chakwera in New York on September 22, together with other selected African Presidents to be nominated by President Chakwera and the Board.

SOURCE: graphic online

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