The New Times (Kigali)

6 August 2012

Rwanda: New Panel Formed to Drive Innovation

Photo: SKA Africa
South Africa's Karoo Array Telescope, a mid-frequency 'pathfinder', alongside the proposed SKA core site.

The African Union (AU) last week formed a high level advisory committee to advise on issues concerning science, technology and innovation.

The eight-person panel will be co-chaired by Prof. Calestous Juma of Harvard University and Prof. Ismail Serageldin of the Library of Alexandria, Egypt, according to a statement from the African Union Commission received by The New Times.

The penal is expected to move the continent from resource-based economies into the age of innovation-led growth.

It will also guide the AU on the review process of the Africa's Science and Technology Consolidated Plan of Action (CPA) which was adopted by African ministers of Science and technology in 2005 and endorsed by AU heads of state and government in 2006, the statement said.

The first meeting of the panel will be held on 8 and 9 August 2012 at the Library of Alexandria in Egypt.

Its report will be presented at the next conference of African Ministerial Conference on Science and Technology (AMCOST) to be held in November 2012 in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo, according to the statement.

The adopted plan will be presented to the AU heads of state and government summit of July 2013 for approval.

The overall review of the CPA is jointly coordinated by Prof. Aggrey Ambali, Head of the NEPAD Agency's Science, Technology and Innovation Hub based in South Africa, and the Science &Technology Division of the AUC.

The CPA is Africa's common framework for advancing science, technology and innovation through the creation, improvement and mobilization of human resources, infrastructure and promotion of cluster research and development programmes.

The current CPA was planned to be implemented within five years after which it would be reviewed in order to examine achievements, make adjustments in the plan based on successes and challenges and prepare a road map for implementation.

The review will address such areas as how the CPA has effectively responded to the continental priorities, regional integration, intra-Africa cooperation, and spurred socio-economic transformation.

It is expected that the review will flag out the lessons learnt and those that could be used to enhance strong participation of the youth, promote policy reviews, and human, institutional and infrastructural capacity development.

At its meeting of May2012, the Bureau of the African Ministerial Conference on Science and Technology (AMCOST IV) resolved that the CPA review process should be overseen by a High Level Panel on Science, Technology and Innovation.

It comprises eminent scientists, an eminent African scientist from the Diaspora and two non-African scientists.

The composition of the panel has been guided by the need for gender and regional representation.

The work of the panel is supported by a Working group comprising representatives from the African Union Commission, the NEPAD Agency, African Development Bank, UNESCO, UNECA, ICSU and the African Academy of Sciences.

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