February 22, 2022

Mathematical Skills for Solving Key Developmental Challenges in Africa

The first Après-Lunch with the Mathematical Scientist for the academic year 2022 took place on the 22 February 2022 at the AIMS main Lecture Hall in a hybrid format. The topic for the event was ‘Mathematical skills for solving key developmental challenges in Africa’. The event featured Mr Lusani Mulaudzi, a Healthcare Actuary, Independent Non-Executive Director, Consultant and Lecturer at the University of Cape Town as a guest speaker. Mr Mulaudzi is also a former President of Public Interest Actuary for the Actuarial Society of South Africa (ASSA).  ASSA’s focus is on influencing policy making through research.

Mr Mulaudzi gave participants insight into the role of quantitative analysts/research in public policy analysis. He highlighted how mathematicians and actuarial scientists could contribute to solving wicked problems (i.e., “a social or cultural problem that is difficult or impossible to solve, normally because of its complex and interconnected nature”) for sustainable development.  He further gave examples of research he has conducted in South Africa for public policy and the others that participants can still solve. The other examples include education and unemployment, population growth and urbanisation and climate, food supply and demand. He pointed out that a collaborative and multidisciplinary effort/approach is needed to address and manage these problems and encourage students to use their skills to be part of the solution.

Mr Mulaudzi also gave students insight into the Actuarial Science discipline, its applications in public policies, training stages, challenges and how interested AIMS graduate students can transition into Actuarial Science. The students appreciated the event. Some of them indicated that they have gained more knowledge and the talk has transformed their thinking and revived their ambitions in actual sciences. 

It was news that Actuarial Scientists exist, having the privilege to interact with one made my day. I gained more knowledge and  got an idea of how I can be able to bridge into actuarial science. I know how to involve myself in helping my community.

We need more people like Mr Mulaudzi to give us an idea of how important Mathematics is because most people do not see our influence on development.

During the ice-breaker exercise, students were asked to identify five key developmental challenges in their respective counties. They were then encouraged to think about how they can solve them with Mathematical knowledge and skills.

Special thanks to House of Science volunteers and Mr Enock Mwenitete (structured master’s student) for chairing the event.

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