I agree with Hans Herren (see Africa 'must invest in a culture of science') that African countries need to invest more in education, science and technology. They need to build 'a scientific culture'. But I am not sure that to do this their national policymakers must be scientists with research experience.

Several African countries are already taking action to strengthen their science and technology base.

Rwanda is making major institutional and policy reforms. It has a growing budget for science and technology (see Rwanda says R&D is critical to national development). Botswana and Tanzania have increased their public expenditure on research and development.

These are just a few examples of progress.

Listing a catalogue of limitations will not assist Africa and its poor people.

It would be more useful to learn and understand how nations are developing their scientific capacity, and to encourage more African leaders to pursue science and technology.