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February 21st, 2010
"Nanotechnology could aid the future of development of the Arab region," says Mohamed H.A. Hassan, executive director of TWAS, the academy of sciences for the developing world, and president of the African Academy of Sciences. Hassan made his remarks at a panel session, "Re-emergence of Science, Technology and Education as Priorities in the Arab World," taking place at the AAAS's annual meeting in San Diego.
"The Arab region, home to some 300 million people, faces a host of daunting development challenges," Hassan notes. "Three of the most fundamental involve ensuring adequate supplies of water, energy and food." Advances in nanotechnology, he says, "could help achieve progress by helping to address each of these challenges."
For example, he notes that nano-filters could enhance the efficiency of desalinization plants, helping to ensure adequate supplies of water in the region. Similarly, nanotechnology could improve the capacity of solar panels. More abundant supplies of water and energy, Hassan adds, "would boost irrigation and help increase agricultural output."
"Nanotechnology may not be the first thing that comes to mind in discussions dealing with strategies to address the Arab region's most pressing challenges," Hassan concludes. But such investments in science and technology could be a key to the region's future."
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