21 April 2008

Africa: 'Africa Needs Technology Development Fund'

Kampala — AFRICA will not develop unless the political leaders give priority to the development of science and technology, the chairman of the Ghana Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, has said.

During a recent scientific conference at the UN Economic Hall for Africa in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Prof. Edward Ayensu said: "It is important that African leaders establish a technology development fund for research and development institutions.

In attendance were ministers and other government officials from Guinea, Algeria, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.

"We can design all types of research projects but if there are no funds to execute them, they end up on paper," he said, adding that the fund could also be used to give seed capital to young scientists to start new projects.

He said the establishment of the fund would show political commitment to science and technology innovations as a major instrument in Africa's development process.

"We also have big numbers of scientists in the diaspora who we need to entice with good salaries, so that they can come back to Africa and contribute to development," Ayensu said.

Prof. Lidia Brito of the University of Eduardo Mondlane, said the science and technology applied must be people-centred and based on the needs of particular countries.

"We need social energy to solve local and global problems. We need to improve conditions of living and actions towards socio-cultural and economic growth," Brito said.

The ministers called for strong partnerships in the development and implementation of science and technology projects.

"We need to train our people, provide basic infrastructure and modern equipment that would be used on the implementation of the projects," said the Rwandese speaker of parliament, Alfred Mukezamfura.

The Algerian minister for education and scientific research, Sovad Bendjaballa, said: "It's important to form a south-to-south and north-to-south cooperation and identify areas for development. We need to set up linkages and programmes that will unite us."

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