Physicists in Africa have officially launched a cross-continent society to support and represent physicists all across on continent. At a ceremony held in Dakar, Senegal, on January 12, 2010, researchers from across Africa came together to celebrate the launch of the African Physical Society (AfPS) which is expected to have around 1000 individual members.
Formerly known as the Society of African Physicists and Mathematicians (SAPAM), the African Physical Society is a non-governmental professional association legally incorporated under the laws of the Republic of Ghana. The AfPS will support the work of existing physical societies in Africa, such as the South African Institute of Physics, as well as helping physicists who are working or studying in an African country that does not have its own society.
African Physical Society Interim President Francis K. A. Allotey said that one of the main reasons for establishing the society was the lack of African countries ranked in the top 20 in physics publications or citations.
"It is unfortunate that most African physics activity is invisible to the rest of the world, yet we know that there are pockets of excellence in physics happening all across the continent. We intend for the African Physical Society to be a strong and unified voice for physics in Africa. We will better organize the African physics community, build better networks on the continent and beyond, be a strong advocate for more resources for physics research and education, and be mentors for students studying physics," said Allotey.
The AfPS will also provide a forum for networking, collaboration, and advocacy for all the existing national physical societies, e.g., the Ghana Institute of Physics, Cameroon Physical Society, South African Institute of Physics, Kenya Physical Society. The African Physical Society also endeavors to support and represent physicists and physics students working and studying in countries that do not have a national physical society. As an advocate for physics across the continent, the African Physical Society's goal is to increase the resources for physics training and research in Africa, and the economic and social development that follows.
The AfPS includes the African Association of Physics Students as a subsidiary organization. The African Association of Physics Students was founded to encourage physics students in their scientific and professional work in an African and an international context as well as to promote relations between physics students from all over the world.