By Semiu Babalola*
Addis-Ababa, Ethiopia, 23/05/11- ‘’The African Union Commission is set to launch five new Science Technology and Innovations (STI) hubs across universities in Africa. They will focus on specialist areas to drive the socio-economic sector and development on the continent’’’, said Mrs Vera Ngosi, Director of the African Union, Human Resource Science and Technology Division. This was during the opening ceremony of the African Science and Innovation Indicators (ASTII) Initiative Workshop (23-25 May) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
The new centres will be at the Jomo Kenyatta University in Nairobi which will focus on STI and the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, to cater for life and Earth Science. The others will be the University of Yaoundé, Cameroon, another one in the Southern African region and University of Algiers in Algeria for the North African region.
The workshop has the aim of launching ASTII Phase 2 and presentation of the Africa’s first ever Innovation Outlook Series. It captured comprehensive information on Science Technology and Innovations (STI) on the continent
According to Estherine Lisinge-Fotabong, Director of the Programme Implementation and Coordination Directorate of the NEPAD Agency, “One reality we all know is that when it comes to information, when it comes to data and statistics not only for science and technology, we often look outside Africa. Today it gives me pleasure that we have developed an African Innovation Outlook Series”.
On his part, ASTII faculty member, Prof. Claes Brundenius, said the success recorded in the first phase was due to the enthusiasm, commitment and support from the NEPAD Agency.
The Ethiopian Minister of Science and Technology, represented by Mr. Shunu Tefera said the key driver of growth lies investing in knowledge, technology, research and science.
Participants from some of the countries namely Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and Malawi made presentations on the lessons learnt, challenges and suggestions for the way forward during the ASTII phase 1.
They stressed the need to institutionalise the generation of STI statistics, more funding for research, manpower training, advocacy and sensitisation programme.