African Union establishes High Level Panel on Science, Technology and Innovation

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, August, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Given rapid advances in science and technology and growing emphasis on innovation in Africa, the African Union (AU) has established a high level advisory panel on 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 and will 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, with the view to moving the continent from resource-based economies into the age of innovation-led growth.

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

Background information

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 roadmap 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, and human and institutional development. It is expected that the review will flag out the lessons learnt and those that could be used to improve future flagship projects, consolidate gender-related impacts, 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 comprising eminent scientists and persons nominated by five African countries, 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.

In line with are solution passed by the Bureau of the African Ministerial Conference on Science and Technology, the Chairperson of the African Union, Dr. Jean Ping, has appointed the co-Chairs and members of the Panel. The members are Dr. Botlhale Tema of South Africa, Dr. Rispah Oduwo of Kenya, Prof. Jean-de Dieu Nzila of Republic of Congo, Prof. François Lompo of Burkina Faso. Two additional members represent the international community, namely Prof. Karim M. Maredia of Michigan State University and Prof. Pascal Kossivi Adjamagbo of University Paris 6.

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.

African Union Commission (AUC)

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