Pierre Bérard, Secretary and Treasurer

During the period 1994--1997, the Commission on Development and Exchanges has proposed two programs to support Mathematics and mathematicians in the developing countries.

The program « Support to Individual Mathematicians » offered partial travel support to mathematicians who made an extended research visit in an advanced mathematical center which committed itself to supporting the local expenses. This program applied both to mathematicians from developing countries and to mathematicians from advanced countries who visited a mathematical center in a developing country (see lines IL in the following tables).

The program « Support to Conferences » offered partial support for the academic activities of conferences organized in developing countries (see lines CS in the following table).

The CDE has also supported research teams (see lines TM in the tables 1994 and 1995). In 1997, it has initiated a new action aiming at supporting Mathematics in Southern Africa-MUSA project (see below) . Finally, the CDE has set up cooperation schemes with CIMPA/ICPAM (Nice, France) and ICTP (Trieste, Italy) to support workshops (CIMPA) or research visits (ICTP).

As in the past years, the CDE received many applications and had to make a strict selection before awarding funding. As a general rule, the secretary received the applications, summarized them and circulated the summaries to the members of the CDE for evaluation and discussion before decision making.

The programs offered by the CDE were supported by funds coming from IMU, ICSU, UNESCO-ROSTA, UNESCO-ROSTE and by donations from the Société Mathématique de France and from the Mathematical Society of Japan. The CDE also received indirect support from the Institut Fourier UMR 5582, Université Joseph Fourier -- CNRS (Grenoble, France).

The CDE has been deeply involved in the MUSA project in the Southern Africa Region (a description of the project has been published in the Notices of the American Mathematical Society in May 1997, and is described below). This project, introduced by the secretary of CDE some time ago, has been set up thanks to an extensive work by Professor Clemens on behalf of the CDE. A planning meeting was held in Botswana (late December 1997) and it is expected that the MUSA project will evolve very positively in a near future.

The following article was submitted to the Notices by Herbert Clemens of the University of Utah. Clemens is a member of the Commission on Development and Exchange of the International Mathematical

Union and is working with the authors of this article and their European research partners to increase interest in and support for the project MUSA, described below.

Realities and Aspirations

Precious Sibanda (University of Zimbabwe)

**May 1997**

Currently there is a dearth of qualified mathematics teachers both at high school and university levels in the entire southern African region. In a continuing effort to remedy this basic structural problem in our countries, each university in the region aims to train its staff through staff development programs. These are programs where the best students are encouraged to go for M.Sc. degrees in the hope that upon completion they will become members of the university staff. Even these programs are currently hampered by the lack of financial resources. As an example, the University of Zimbabwe used to send its graduates overseas for M.Sc./Ph.D. studies, but cannot afford to do so now because there is no longer any money to fund these students. Locally the facilities for their advanced training are either inadequate

or simply nonexistent.

Funding for mathematics education and mathematics programs by the various governments of the region is simply inadequate. Most universities have neither the resources nor the expertise to offer mathematics courses with sufficient specialization at bachelor's-degree level or above. For example, in the region the University of Zimbabwe and the National University of Science and Technology (also in Zimbabwe) are the only two which offer honours degrees in mathematics. As a result, the application of mathematics in modeling industrial, environmental, or other real-life problems is fairly unknown in this part of the world, since there is a dire shortage of qualified personnel.

The governments of our various countries tried hard to train manpower when our economies were ´´strong''. As the economies have declined, less money is being spent on manpower training. For this reason, the universities in the region are pooling their resources by establishing regional programs. Recently, for example, through partnerships with the University of Oslo and with the Austrian government small combined regional masters programs in mathematical modeling and in graph theory have been established at the University of Zimbabwe. To widen the pool of graduates entering these local programs as well as programs abroad, the region requires a ´´pre-M.Sc.'' program, through which many people will be raised to the required level.

A 12-month intensive ´´B.Sc. Honours'' program at the University of Botswana is currently being contemplated to bridge the gap between the university preparation in mathematics available in many surrounding countries and advanced programs such as those in Zimbabwe. It can also be used as preparation for various staff development fellows from Southern Africa Development Corporation countries.

There are also good students who pursue combined majors in mathematics with another science subject. Upon completion of their studies, these students will not have done enough advanced courses in mathematics. The 12-month program can be used to raise the standard of these students to ´´pre-M.Sc.'' level. This program at the University of Botswana can and will go a long way towards addressing the problems of advanced undergraduate mathematics education in the region.

With colleagues from Europe who have worked in the region, we are currently attempting to formalize these efforts, incorporate them into a several-year cooperative plan, and, with the help of the international mathematical community, find the financial and human resources that will help us to a full and fruitful implementation. We are calling the project MUSA (Mathematics and its Uses in Southern Africa).

The goal of MUSA is to foster dialogue and cooperative activities involving mathematicians and students of mathematics from a geographically connected region of sub-Saharan Africa, hopefully including Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, as well as Lesotho and Swaziland. Ties with the South African mathematical community would also be sought. MUSA will focus on regional development of a vigorous community of mathematicians, students of mathematics, and users of mathematics in government and business. MUSA contemplates three components:

1) A 12-month full-time program called a ´´B.Sc. with Honours in Mathematics'' at the University of Botswana in Gaborone consisting of four year-long courses:

* Abstract Algebra/Linear Algebra

* Real/Complex Analysis

* Topology/Geometry

* Functional Analysis/Applied Mathematics

With the help of the international mathematical community, MUSA hopes to generate a scholarship fund to enable qualified students from participating countries to complete this program.

2) The 18-month M.Sc. in Mathematical Modeling program at the University of Zimbabwe, which has been established in recent years under a cooperative agreement with the Norwegian Universities' Committee for Development, Research and Education (NUFU). Again with the help of the international mathematical community, MUSA hopes to generate a scholarship fund for this program. The support of countries in the region will also be sought in the form of continuing the salaries of mathematics teachers and others employed as mathematicians during a leave of absence to complete this program. In addition, visiting students from government, industry, and other countries would be encouraged.

3) The gradual formation and strengthening of a community of researchers/teachers connected with a small number of mathematical research centers in Europe, the Americas, and Asia. We envision the establishment of an annual teaching/research meeting in consultation and cooperation with existing activities of the Southern African Mathematical Sciences Association. The site of this meeting would rotate among the countries having students/teachers/researchers participating in the program at any level. In addition, the content of this meeting would include minicourses, mini-research projects, and research talks, as well as a pedagogical component. The emphasis of each component would change from year to year depending on the mathematical situation of the country in which it is held.

In addition, and again with the help of the international mathematical community, MUSA hopes to establish a series of small pilot programs:

I. A visiting program for research mathematicians from established centers outside the region to participating southern African centers. These visiting mathematicians would teach undergraduate and postgraduate courses and participate in research activities. (Preference would be given to those involved in longer-term joint research or learning projects.)

II. A program of visits to established centers for the African mathematicians, again with preference for those involved in longer-term joint research or learning projects.

III. A program of 1-2 year ´´visiting lectureships'' for young mathematicians with degrees from established centers outside the region to work on-site, teaching and collaborating in the above activities. We would design such positions so as to allow the young mathematicians ample time to continue their own research programs during their lectureships.

IV. A program of research and teaching visits for mathematicians from one participating southern African country to teach advanced undergraduate and postgraduate courses and to do research in other participating countries.

These annual teaching/research meetings and the visiting programs, although long-term projects, would greatly benefit a lot of young mathematicians in the region who after their Ph.D. find themselves overburdened by teaching demands and with no prospects of promotion by authorities requiring ´´a good research record''.

Alone our countries do not yet have the human and financial resources to realize these aspirations for our mathematical community. Indeed, a good part of the program outlined above will require funding from abroad, either in the form of foundation grants or cooperative agreements. In the hope that we can gradually find friends for our efforts in America and other countries, we wish to draw the attention of the American mathematical community to our current work and future aspirations here in southern Africa.