AAS announces appointment of new Executive Director

News Date: 15 Aug 2017

Prof Nelson Torto, who was appointed after a continental search process, replaces Prof Berhanu Abegaz whose two-term contract ended in March. Dr Tom Kariuki, Director of the Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa (AESA) has been Interim Executive Director since the departure of Prof Abegaz.

“This is a befitting appointment,” says AAS President Prof Felix Dapare Dakora. “As an AAS Fellow, Prof Torto has been actively involved in the activities of the Academy, demonstrating his commitment to the organisation and has served in fundraising and various programmes at executive and leadership levels that will be useful to propel the Academy to greater heights.”

Until his appointment at the AAS, Prof Torto was the founding Chief Executive Officer of the Botswana Institute for Technology Research and Innovation. He holds a PhD in analytical chemistry from Lund University in Sweden. He started his career as a method development chemist at the BCL Mine in Selebi Phikwe and joined the University of Botswana’s Chemistry Department as a staff development fellow in 1993 where he rose to the rank of Associate Professor. In 2008, Prof Torto joined Rhodes University as a Professor in analytical chemistry and subsequently led the Chemistry Department for 3 years.

Prof Torto is a renowned researcher who has received various awards, given invited plenary lectures at international conferences as well as published more than 130 papers, graduated 19 PhDs and has several registered patents.

“The Academy is playing a significant role in promoting the development of science, technology and innovation on the continent. I am dedicated to pushing this agenda forward to ensure science adequately plays its role to improve the lives of African people,” Prof Torto said.