Hulda Swai, a Tanzanian professor of life sciences and bio-engineering, has been declared the 2020 winner of the African Union Kwame Nkrumah Continental Awards for Scientific Excellence.
Her work with nanotechnology has helped to study more effective anti-malarial medicines, and through the World Bank, she has helped to secure millions of dollars to fund African researchers.
“I’m using nanotechnology, which is my training and expertise, to improve the availability of existing herbal extracts which are very potent but are lacking for example solubility,” she told the BBC’s Focus on Africa radio programme.
Prof Swai earned the prestigious award together with a cash prize of $20,000 (£14,000).
She told BBC Focus on Africa’s Esau Williams about what motivated her to take up a career in science and how she hopes to inspire other women in the field.
“Science is not that difficult, it’s just a myth. Women are as good as men,” she says.