Africa is often described as a unique and diverse continent. This is reflected in its biodiversity, economic and social circumstances, and diversity in culture and environment. The Young African Scientists (YAS) session at the International Geosphere- Biosphere Programme Congress was one of the congress's highlights. Global environmental change research in Africa was presented to an audience that included visiting international and national scientists, policy makers, and a group of schoolchildren. From the uniqueness of Africa's paleoclimate to the diversity and complexity of current and future impacts of environmental change on Africa, the session not only provided an overview of current projects but also highlighted the problems that are intertwined with poverty. This session was sponsored by the Global Change System for Analysis, Research, and Training (START).