The Honorary Fellowship of the Mauritius Academy of Science and Technology (MAST) was conferred to the Prime Minister, Minister of Home Affairs, External Communications and National Development Unit and Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Mr Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, during the celebration of the 10th Anniversary of the MAST last week in Réduit, in presence of eminent personalities.
On this occasion, the Prime Minister highlighted that the MAST has a crucial role to play in encouraging young Mauritians to actively engage in the fields of science, technology and innovation. Scientists and technologists are called upon to play a key role in the development strategy to allow the country's economy to transform itself alongside the most advanced economies in the world, he pointed out.
He urged scientists and technologists to take a driving role in the development of Mauritius as the country's progress is gauged through its ability to address the concerns and needs of the different strata of society and by its capacity to adapt to changes in the international environment. As the world is evolving at an impressive pace, investment in artificial intelligence, big data, internet of things and robotics now determine a country's aptitude to overcome its challenges and remain competitive in the world market, he added.
The Prime Minister underscored Government's vision to transform Mauritius into a high income economy by 2023 and for it to happen, knowledge must be transferred to youth, who also need to be empowered. He pointed out that there is nothing like science and technology to give them the means to unleash their potential to deliver.
Mr Jugnauth stated that as proposed in Budget speech 2017-2018, research and development are the bedrock of innovation and Government's plan is to put an unprecedented focus on encouraging research. With a view to promoting academic research, he recalled, Government has injected Rs 50 million in a research fund and has given the private sector the necessary fiscal incentives to invest in research, development and innovation.
The MAST and the community of academics and scientists at large can play a major role in guiding policy makers on the areas of development in the fields of agriculture, manufacturing, biotechnology and food security, harnessing marine resources, improving the population's health, ensuring better water management, producing new and renewable sources of energy, added the Prime Minister.
He also encouraged the MAST to work with counterparts around the world to conduct joint research projects that will definitely provide wider views of the issues affecting the global society and local scientists and technologists to find appropriate solutions.