Sunday, April 19, 2009

African aid "needs science focus"


African aid 'needs science focus' Julian Siddle Science in Action, BBC World Service

Neil Turok, chair of mathematical physics at Cambridge University, says governments are following the wrong policy when it comes to African aid.

Focusing on basic healthcare and primary education is stopping Africa developing, Professor Turok suggests.

The founder of the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) says investment in higher education is key.

He says Africa needs its own science and technology skills base to become an equal partner in the global economy.

In a wide ranging interview with the BBC World Service's Science in Action programme, Professor Turok describes his love of theoretical physics, but also talks of his dismay at what he sees as the lack of access to quality higher education in Africa.

He says this is holding back development across the continent.

"If Africa doesn't have its own scientific and technological community, there is no way in which it can ever be an equal partner in the economy of the world," he observed.

"It will just be subject to the whims of western countries, who will continue to take advantage of Africa as long as Africa remains ignorant of the driving forces of the modern economy, which are all about technology and science."

Professor Turok, chair of mathematical physics at the University of Cambridge and director of Canada's Perimeter Institute, was instrumental in setting up the African Institute for mathematical Sciences (AIMS).

Based in Cape Town, South Africa, the institute accepts students from all over Africa.

"I helped start the AIMS project out if a deep commitment to Africa," the leading academic told the programme.

"We saw these students come in, from the Congo and Sudan and Liberia, many countries we tend to think of as disaster areas.

"But we recruited students from these countries and what we saw was they absolutely thrived in an environment that was focused on high-level science."


Born in South Africa, Professor Turok left the country in the 1960s with his parents, who had been in prison for their opposition to the apartheid regime.

He added that he has always felt a strong attachment to Africa, but takes issue with current international aid strategies.

"One trillion dollars has been given in aid to Africa over the last 40 years, but that money has not reduced the need for aid in Africa, you have to ask yourself was it invested wisely?

"I would say it has done more harm than good.

"It has been used to created dependency, I think it's time for a rethink and at a very minimum I think a fraction of a percent of all the aid going to Africa must be dedicated to creating skilled people in Africa."

Professor Turok says a tiny proportion of the continent's aid would be enough to set up of a series of AIMS-style high level institutes across Africa.

"To fully endow one AIMS centre forever costs ten million dollars; to create three of these centres every year would 30 million dollars - that's 0.1% of the aid budget currently being given to Africa, a tiny fraction."

He is currently in negotiations with the Senegalese government about starting an AIMS-style institute there.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2009/04/18 09:53:56 GMT



Friday, April 10, 2009


Fri. April 10, 2009; Posted: 08:38 AM

AGENCY: Agency for International Development
OFFICE ADDRESS: USAID/MonroviaDepartment of State Washington DC 20521
SUBJECT: Agriculture & Private Enterprise Advisor
CLASSIFICATION CODE: R - Professional, administrative, and management support services
CONTACT: Sylvester s. Browne, Human Resource Management Specialist, Phone 23177766402, Email
PLACE OF PERFORMANCE ADDRESS: USAID LiberiaC/o U.S. Embassy Compound Mamba Point Monrovia

NOTICE TEXT: Agency for International Development Overseas Missions Liberia USAID-Monrovia
CLOSING TIME: 4:00 PM in Monrovia, Liberia

SUBJECT: Solicitation for U.S. Personal Service Contractor/TCN for Agriculture & Private Enterprise Development Advisor in Monrovia, Liberia. Ladies/Gentlemen: The United States Government, represented by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), is seeking applications (Standard Form 171 or Optional Form 612 only) from qualified U.S. citizens/U.S Resident Alien to provide personal services as AGRICULTURE AND PRIVATE ENTERPRISE DEVELOPMENT ADVISOR under a personal services contract, as described in the attached solicitation. Submittals shall be in accordance with the attached information at the place and time specified. Send one set of U.S. Government SF 171 or OF 612, a resume or CV, three references, a written statement certifying date / length of time you are available for the position, and a two page document highlighting key qualifications by the evaluation factors. For references please include name, phone number, and email. An incomplete or unsigned SF 171 or OF 612 shall not be considered. These signed forms must be delivered or emailed (email applications must be signed) to: USAID / Liberia Human Resources Management Office American Embassy 111 U.N. Drive, Mamba Point Monrovia, Liberia All offers are contingent on receipt of (a) medical clearance, (b) security clearance and (c) offer must be made in writing by the (Contracting) Executive Officer. Please note that this does not constitute any guarantee that a PSC will be awarded as a result of this solicitation nor does it constitute any authorization by USAID to reimburse costs incurred in the preparation of an application. Applicants should retain for their records copies of all enclosures which accompany their applications. Any questions regarding this solicitation may be directed to Sylvester S. Browne by phone at 231-77-766-402 or email at Sincerely, Don Brady Don Brady Contracting Officer ATTACHMENT TO POSITION ANNOUNCEMENT USPSC/TCN/ Agriculture & Private Enterprise Development Advisor USAID/LIBERIA 1. SOLICITATION No: USAID/LIBERIA 669-09-016 2. ISSUANCE DATE: April 2, 2009 3. CLOSING DATE/TIME SPECIFIED: May 1, 2009 4. POSITION TITLE: Agriculture & Private Enterprise Development Advisor 5. MARKET VALUE: GS-14 ($83,445 - $108,483) 6. PERIOD OF PERFORMANCE: One (1) year, with possibility of extension 7. PLACE OF PERFORMANCE: Monrovia, Liberia 8. AREA OF CONSIDERATION: U.S. Citizens & Third Country Nationals 9. SUPERVISOR: Economic Growth Team Leader 10. STATEMENT OF WORK: Below Basic function of position: The incumbent is a senior USPSC or TCN who serves as the Mission's technical advisor responsible for the management of USAID Liberia's agriculture and private enterprise value chain programs. This involves oversight of implementing agencies, coordination with other development partners, commercial and public institutions involved with enhancing national food security and increasing employment in the private sector. Major duties and responsibilities: Technical Leadership 45% - Serves as the principal advisor to USAID Liberia on agriculture and private enterprise development matters in Liberia. - Leads in the conceptualization, design and drafting of new agricultural and private enterprise activities. - Contribute in the preparation of Portfolio Reviews, Operational Plans, Mission Strategic Plan, updating Performance Management Plans (PMPs) and other reporting requirements. Managerial Leadership 45% - Serves as project manager (Cognizant Technical Officer) for: $24 million Agriculture/Private Enterprise value chain program, $1.5 million Technical Assistance to the Ministry of Agriculture project, and Activity Manager for the $8 million Sustainable Tree Crop program. This requires active participation in project monitoring and evaluation, preparing procurement documents, and accounts for effective completion of Mission-funded agriculture/enterprise programs. - Represents the Mission at agriculture and private enterprise development meeting (e.g. Agricultural Coordination Committee), and other functions delegated by the Economic Growth Team Leader - Reports to USAID Washington on the Mission's: public-private alliances, microenterprise activities, and food security program - Maintains contacts with the GOL, NGOs and other relevant stakeholders to follow trends in the agriculture and private enterprise development sectors. Communication & Other responsibilities 10% - Contribute to public outreach and the Mission's communication strategy - Assume other duties as directed by the Economic Growth Team Leader Desired qualifications: Education: At least a Bachelor's degree in agriculture, economics, business or related field. A Masters Degree or PhD in any of the aforementioned fields is preferred. Prior work experience: At least 10 years of progressively responsible position in the management of development assistance programs, including two years of supervisory/managerial responsibilities. Language proficiency: Level IV English (fluency) is required for oral and written expression. Knowledge: Incumbent must be knowledgeable in the areas of agribusiness, private enterprise development, value chain analysis and development. He/she must be familiar with program management, including monitoring and evaluation. Fluency in Microsoft Office applications is essential. Additional IT skills, such as the ability to use SPSS or AutoCAD software, are desirable but not essential. Skills and Abilities: The incumbent is expected to have and be able to apply strong management skills and technical knowledge of several related disciplines. The incumbent should be able to work at the highest professional standard, with minimal supervision. He/she should monitor and analyze activities, and identify possible solutions to overcome obstacles. He/she must be able to analyze development projects, work plans, project budgets in order to determine their appropriateness. The incumbent must be able to communicate effectively both orally and in writing. He/she should have strong interpersonal skills and be able to establish and maintain productive and collaborative relations with implementing organizations, other donors, Government of Liberia officials and commercial sector executives. Supervision received: The incumbent is supervised by the Economic Growth Team Leader. Exercise of Judgment: The incumbent is required to use independent judgment and apply appropriate US government regulations in dealing with implementing organizations, GOL officials, and all other key stakeholders. He/she must be able to work with confidence at the highest levels of the GOL. Authority to make commitment: The incumbent does not commit U.S. Government financial resources but does participate in formulating, monitoring and managing budgets for programs he/she serves as Activity Manager. Nature, Level and Purpose of contacts: The incumbent has frequent contact with GOL officials; heads of United Nations missions to Liberia (e.g. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Representative); heads of non-governmental and civil society organizations; commercial sector representatives, and other stakeholders for the purpose to enhance USAID activities and develop innovative and useful synergies. Time required to Perform a Full Range of Duties: Immediately. The incumbent is expected to be skilled in program/project management and coordination so that s/he can be able to carry out the duties and responsibilities from day one. Period of Performance: The personal service contract will be for 1 year, with possibility of extension. Extensions will be contingent on the need for continued services, satisfactory performance, and availability of funds. Reports: Upon request or as scheduled, the Contractor will submit periodic status and/or other reports related to major activities or projects that fall under the incumbent's responsibility. QUALIFICATIONS / SELECTION CRITERIA Applicants are encouraged to provide a cover letter addressing how they meet the requirements of each of the criteria below. Applicants should provide this information in the same sequence as indicated below. Candidates will be evaluated and ranked based on the following selection criteria: SELECTION FACTORS (Determines basic eligibility for the position: Applicants who do not meet all of the selection factors are considered NOT qualified for the position.) - Complete and hand-signed federal form OF-612 submitted; - Supplemental document specifically addressing the Quality Ranking Factors (QRFs) submitted; - Satisfactory verification of academic credentials. Education - Bachelor's degree plus at least four (4) years of progressively responsible experience in international development or relief (one of which must be related to Agriculture); OR - Master's degree with significant study in a pertinent field (including, but not limited to, agriculture, economics, business,) plus at least three (3) years of progressively responsible experience in international development or relief (one of which must be related to agriculture). 12. ADMINISTRATIVE REQUIREMENTS AND LOGISTICAL SUPPORT: As a matter of policy, and as appropriate, a PSC recruited off-shore is normally authorized the following benefits and allowances: BENEFITS Employer's FICA and Medicare Contribution* Contribution toward Health & Life Insurance Pay Comparability Adjustment Annual Salary increase Eligibility for Worker's Compensation Annual & Sick Leave Shipment and storage of household effects [limited shipment authorized at present] Access to Embassy medical facilities, and pouch mail service ALLOWANCES [if applicable, as found in the Standardized Regulations (Government Civilian Foreign Areas) Sections cited below] (1) Temporary Lodging Allowance (Section 120) (2) Living Quarters Allowance (Section 130) (3) Post Allowance (Section 220) (4) Supplemental Post Allowance (Section 230) (5) Separate Maintenance Allowance (Section 260) (6) Educational Allowance (Section 270) (7) Educational Travel (Section 280) (8) Post Differential (Chapter 500) (9) Payments during Evacuation/Authorized Departure (Section 600) (10) Danger Pay (Section 650) SECURITY AND MEDICAL CLEARANCE The Contractor will be required to obtain a medical clearance from State M/MED prior to extended temporary duty service overseas. Also, a temporary security clearance must be initiated prior to travel to post of duty. Until a final adjudication of a secret clearance is received, the contractor shall: - have no access to classified or administratively controlled materials, - travel to post by himself/herself only, and - be authorized no entitlements other than those normally authorized for short-term (less than a year) employees at post. If the contractor fails to receive a secret clearance, the contract will be immediately terminated. FEDERAL TAXES USPSCs are required to pay Federal Income taxes under the foreign earned income exclusion, FICA, and Medicare. LIST OF REQUIRED FORMS FOR USPSCs Forms outlined below can be found at: or at 1. Optional Form 612 2. Contractor Physical Examination (DS-1843 and DS-1622)* 3. Questionnaire for Sensitive Positions (for National Security) (SF-86) or Questionnaire for Non-Sensitive Positions (SF-85)* 4. Finger Print Card (FD-258) (available from the requirement office)* *These forms will only be completed by the apparently successful applicant. INSTRUCTIONS TO APPLICANTS: Qualified applicants are requested to submit an Application for Federal Employment (SF-171) or Optional Application for Federal Employment (OF612) and a Resume containing the following information: 1) Personal Information: Full name, mailing address (with zip code), email address, day and evening phone numbers, social security number, country of citizenship, highest federal civilian grade held (also give job series and dates held); 2) Education: high school, name, city and state, date of diploma or GED; colleges and universities, name, city and state, majors, type and year of any degrees received (if no degree, show total credits earned and indicate whether semester or quarter hours); 3) Work Experience: provide the following information for your paid and non paid work experience related to the job for which you are applying (do not send job descriptions); job title (include series and grade if federal job), duties, and accomplishments, employer's name and address, supervisor's name and phone number, starting and ending dates (month and year), hours per week, salary. Indicate if we may contact your current supervisor; 4) Other Qualifications: Other pertinent information related to the qualifications required for the position, as noted above including job-related training courses (title & year), job-related skills; for example, other languages, computer software/hardware, tools, machinery, typing speed, job-related certificates and licenses (current only), job-related honors, awards, and special accomplishments, for example, publications, memberships in professional or honor societies, leadership, activities, public speaking and performance awards (give dates but do not send documents unless requested). 5) Applicants are required to provide three references with complete contact information including email address and telephone numbers. Interested candidates should send above via the internet to the attention of Sylvester Browne, at the address indicated below. To ensure that the application is considered for the intended position, please reference the solicitation number and title of position on your application and add the subject line in any cover letter. Applications must be received by the closing date and time specified in the cover letter.

Any questions regarding this solicitation should be submitted no later than April 16, 2009 via e-mail to Human Resources Management Specialist, Sylvester Browne, via email:

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