Africa has lost one of its most illustrious sons in Prof Calestous Juma, a Professor of the Practice of International Development at Harvard University.
Juma, who was born on June 9, 1953, died on December 15, 2017.
The Kenya-born erudite scholar was one of the world’s most sought after authority in the field of application of science, technology and innovation to sustainable development in developing and developed countries.
He was in the inaugual list of “2017 Most Reputable People on Earth”, which was released in June by South African consulting firm Reputation Polls for 100 people who have “amassed high reputation for themselves through the works they have been engaged in”.
For three consecutive years, between 2012 and 2014, he was also among New African magazine’s most influential Africans.
He was reported to have been ill for a while prior to his death, which came two weeks after the burial of his mother. He died while undergoing treatment in Boston, Massachusetts in the United States.
“Prof has been unwell for the past two years and today we received the sad news of his passing. Any more details will come from his family,” Daily Nation of Kenya quoted his lawyer, Peter Santana, as saying on Friday.
His profile on the Harvard University website reads: “Calestous Juma is Professor of the Practice of International Development and Director of the Science, Technology, and Globalization Project at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and Faculty Chair of the Mason Fellows Program . He also directs the Center’s Agricultural Innovation Policy in Africa Project and Health Innovation Policy in Africa projects funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He serves as Faculty Chair of the Edward S. Mason Fellows Program as well as Faculty Chair of the “Innovation for Economic Development” and “Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Africa” executive programs. Juma is a former Executive Secretary of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity and Founding Director of the African Centre for Technology Studies in Nairobi.
He co-chaired the African Union’s High-Level Panel on Science, Technology and Innovation. He is on the jury of the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering, the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation, and the Africa Food Prize . Dr. Juma has been elected to several scientific academies including the Royal Society of London, the US National Academy of Sciences, the World Academy of Sciences, the UK Royal Academy of Engineering and the African Academy of Sciences. He has won several international awards for his work on sustainable development. He holds a doctorate in science and technology policy studies and has written widely on science, technology, and environment.
Juma serves on the boards of several international bodies including the Aga Khan University and the Pan-African University. He is editor of the International Journal of Technology and Globalisation and the Internationsl Journal of Biotechnology. His new book,
Innovation and Its Enemies: Why People Resist New Technologies, was published by Oxford University Press in 2016. His current book projects cover regional integration in Africa and innovation for economic development.”