Africa needs a clear and coherent policy framework to nurture an enabling environment for research, Ghana’s Minister of Environment, Science and Technology, Ms Sherry Ayittey has advocated.
She said it was necessary to also ensure that development-related research was promoted and backed by both adequate personnel with appropriate knowledge, skills and infrastructure.
Opening the 3rd Network for the Coordination and Advancement of Sub-Saharan Africa-EU Science and Technology Cooperation (CAAST-Net) stakeholders’ conference on Africa-Europe Science and Technology (S&T) cooperation in Accra, she noted that science, technology and innovation were essential ingredients in the industrialization and sustainable development of a nation.
The conference organised in collaboration with Promoting African – European Research Infrastructure Partnerships (PAERIP) project, is being attended by about 100 experts and stakeholders from Europe and Africa to exchange opinions and offer the opportunity for mutual learning on the role of research infrastructures (RI) in S&T cooperation partnerships.
The conference is to support S&T policy engagements between Europe and Africa by facilitating a stakeholder dialogue around policy topics of mutual interest that would be considered important for the enhancement of S&T collaboration between Africa and Europe.
Hosted by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research Ghana/Science and Technology Policy Research Institute (CSIR/STEPRI), participants would be discussing health, food security, the environment and basic sciences.
CAAST-Net is a five-year joint Africa-Europe platform dedicated to advancing bi-regional cooperation in science and technology. The project is funded by the European Union under the Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP7) grant agreement 212625.
Ms Ayittey explained that developing the talent pool, long-term research and activities that underpinned the economic and social foundations were all important part of the mix and called for the need to focus on building and sustaining excellence in science and technology.
“It is time to make S&T a priority in our national agenda and it is time for governments to show their political commitments by investing in research”, she added.
Dr George Essegbey, Director of STEPRI, said science thrived best in a democratic dispensation and urged participants to see the conference as the opportunity to enrich and strengthen the Africa-Europe STI cooperation through the provision of a forum that would enhance research and development as a solution to global challenges.
Dr Ahmed Hamdy, Executive Secretary of the Scientific, Technical and Research Commission of the AU, lauded the organization of the conference and said research communities had unique and rich contributions to offer, whilst global research infrastructures would always add a significant value to such projects.