Saturday, October 1 2022

By Zephania Ubwani

Arusha. A Tanzanian medical scientist has been appointed CEO of the Africa Research Excellence Fund (Aref).

Professor Gibson Kibiki will now lead the continental facility to implement world-class medical research.

Aref was created by the UK Medical Research Foundation to invest in talented and emerging researchers in Africa.

A statement released by the Fund this week says the board has named the Tanzanian don as its new CEO. “He has a proven track record of strong leadership and strategic program development,” he said.

His mission will, among other things, be to ensure that emerging African researchers become the research leaders of tomorrow.

“I am delighted that Professor Kibiki is taking on this role,” said Aref Founder and Co-Chairman of Aref Sir Tumaini Corrah. “His knowledge, understanding and experience of what Africa needs to achieve scientific excellence is remarkable,” he said.


Professor Kibiki is one of Tanzania’s most outstanding medical researchers and the founder of key health institutions in the country and beyond.

The soft-spoken don is also a professor of medicine and a consulting physician and endoscopist.

He founded the Kilimanjaro Clinical Research Institute (KCRI) in Moshi as a director around 2000.

He was also the founding CEO of the East African Health Research Commission (EAHRC), an institution of the East African Community.

He served as executive director of the Bujumbura-based Commission between 2015 and 2020, the end of his five-year term.

Professor Kibiki is an astute researcher in medicine and related sciences; eager to develop skills, networks and capacities.

During his tenure as CEO of EAHRC, he initiated a digital health awareness program in disease surveillance in the region.

The program, dubbed the Digital Regional East African Community Health Initiative or simply REACH, was the first of its kind to advance digital health technology.

The initiative, launched at the end of 2017, introduces a unifying framework as its objective and lines of work.

It was implemented thanks to “a favorable environment”; leadership and governance, strategy and investment, skilled health workforce, harmonized standards and compliant policies.


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