History and Background

The African continent is poverty stricken partly because of droughts, poor management of resources by governments and also lack of technical expertise to prepare nations for unforeseen disasters. If the capacity is enhanced in the basic sciences, particularly Analytical Chemistry, the quality of life can be improved significantly.

For example a good knowledge of the quality of water can help reduce unnecessary expenditure that could be incurred by the medical care sector as a result of high levels of toxic elements in the water.

Since most of the nations in Africa rely on unprocessed river water or portable water, the availability of expertise to examine and define the characteristics of such water is important for the inhabitants and their livestock. The many rivers and lakes in the African continent provide a good source of nutrition in fish, hence monitoring pollution can reduce the metal uptake by fish.

Therefore there is a need for a pool of expertise in Analytical Chemistry not only to service the industry but also to add value to the quality of people's lives. During a Sida funded workshop in February 2002, held in Gaborone, Botswana that led to the formation of the Southern and Eastern African Network for Analytical Chemists (SEANAC) it was agreed that such a pool of expertise should be familiar with issues relating to the continent.