The African Union (AU) Kwame Nkrumah Scientific Awards programme is one of the several bold steps taken by the AU Commission to boost and popularise Science and Technology in Africa through empowering African scientists, celebrating their achievements and promoting all efforts to transform scientific research into economic growth.
In his acceptance speech, Prof Wingfield spoke on behalf of himself and Prof Nabil Ibrahim of Egypt, a Professor in Textile Chemistry and Technology, who won the Award in the Basic Sciences, Technology and Innovation category. Prof Wingfield said that “this award is deeply an illustration of the tremendous support for science and technology of our two home countries, Egypt and South Africa.” Speaking to an audience that included numerous heads of state and national leaders, he urged the leaders of Africa “to join forces and to seriously commit to building capacity in science and technology”. He made the further point that “what is needed is not only support, but sustained support over a long period of time.”
In 2012, Prof Wingfield was awarded the prestigious Johanna Westerdijk Award by the Centraalbureau voor Schimmelcultures (CBS) (Fungal Biodiversity Centre, the Netherlands), and also recently received an honorary DSc degree from the University of British Columbia and North Carolina State University.
He has published widely on the topic of tree health in more than 600 research papers and five books. He is an invited speaker and has made numerous prestigious presentations globally. Prof Wingfield has been elected as a fellow of scientific societies, including the Royal Society of South Africa, the Academy of Sciences of South Africa, the Southern African Society for Plant Pathology and the American Phytopathological Society. He is one of the few honorary members of the Mycological Society of America.