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This month's column, an overview of the Africa Region, was prepared by Deborah Ajakaive, Region president.
The Africa Region has come a long way over the years and has much to show for it. Some of the recent accomplishments include:
- Winner of the 2003-04 AAPG Membership Enhancement contest.
- Increase in the number of House of Delegates members from one to six.
- Planning and organizing the first ever West African Deepwater Conference in Lagos, Nigeria (November 2005).
- Completing a continental survey on the number of university and polytechnic schools offering geosciences in the Africa Region.
- Substantial increase in AAPG Student membership. (There currently are 30 AAPG Student Chapters in the Africa Region.)
- Presentation of three AAPG Grants-in-Aid to outstanding students in Nigeria.
Despite these achievements, the Region continues to face several challenges.
For one, the Region, which experienced a healthy net growth of 8 percent from 2003-05 and currently makes up 17 percent (1,053 members) of AAPG's international membership, experienced a significant decline this year.
Limited resources and inadequate means of communication (including language barriers) were other challenges facing the Africa Region, making it difficult to carry out many of the planned activities.
Effective measures are being considered to increase new members, retain current members and attract former Active members to return to AAPG.
Some of our planned strategies for this year are:
We hope to recruit and retain more members through increasing awareness of AAPG benefits to members by:
- Focusing on improving numbers in areas with low membership.
- Tracking former Active members to find out why they left AAPG.
- Encouraging intersociety collaboration (with local geoscience societies and local chapters of SEG, etc.) for networking purposes and to increase membership.
- Encouraging key personnel in the oil and gas industry to speak to prospective members working in the industry.
- Organizing paid professional workshops to give hands-on experience and certification upon completion.
- Actively pursuing ways of improving communication among members.
- Investigating the logistics of operating an AAPG regional office through local geosciences societies.
- Encouraging participation of members at crucial international conferences and meetings.
- Continuing to promote a high professional and ethical standard and respect for all Active members.
For Student members, strategies are:
- Initiating workshops for younger students to encourage them to study geoscience subjects.
- Organizing student expos and linking these where feasible to other workshops or conferences held in Africa.
- Leaping toward the Virtual Student Expo by creating an active database of student's curriculum vitae/resumes and keeping close contact with local and international recruiters.
- Promoting and creating more viable AAPG Student Chapters in African schools where geoscience courses are taught.
- Creating a yearly competition among African geoscience students and providing scholarships to the winners.
- Encouraging the Grants-in-Aid Program to students for field research work.
- Continuing to promote a high professional and ethical standard and respect for all Student members.
We hope to create more effective ways for the collection of membership dues and funding by:
- Investigating more convenient ways to receive payment of membership dues.
- Embracing and generating incentives for funding from governments and large corporations in the oil and gas industry or related fields, and private individuals, e.g., endorsements for company.
- Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists (NAPE) annual conference, Nov. 13-17, Abuja, Nigeria.
I welcome all to join us in actively participating and utilizing the endless possibilities and contributions that AAPG has to offer toward the development of Africa and the AAPG international Region as a whole. I look forward to a very successful year and would gladly receive any questions, comments and suggestions toward maintaining the lofty momentum set forth by AAPG.