AU to dedicate 2007 to Africa's science geniuses

Addis Ababa- Ethiopia (PANA) -- The African Union (AU)'s Executive Council holding its 10th Ordinary Session here was expected Saturday to adopt a recommendation on declaring 2007 as the launching year of building constituencies and champions for science, technology and innovation in Africa.
Popularisation of science and technology is crucial for the development of Africa, the AU contends.
But, as already pointed out by previous experts' meetings in the run-up to the AU Summit opening here Monday, policies on technology transfer and acquisition of technological capabilities in Africa should emphasise the convergence of science and technology policies with economic and industrial policies.
'Science, Technology and Research for Africa's Development' is the assigned theme for the 29-30 January 2007 gathering of African heads of state and government.
Sources close to the Executive Council said the recommendation to be put forward to African leaders for approval emanated from the extraordinary conference of African science and technology ministers, held 20-24 November 2006 in Cairo, Egypt.
The ministers in a declaration, committed themselves to collaborate in developing a 20-year African Biotechnology Strategy, with specific regional technology goals to be carried out through regional economic communities.
Under the same strategy African countries would develop and harmonise national and regional regulations that promote the application and safe use of modern biotechnology.
The Executive Council has gone through the Declaration that also calls for the effective use of locally-based scientists, African science academies and African scientists in the Diaspora.
A report presented to the Council hails the biotechnology strategy as an African initiative to embark on biotechnology research and development and, consequently developing African regional innovation communities.
African experts have suggested that biosafety and biotechnology should be dealt with concurrently due to their complimentary nature.
On the sidelines of the Summit, the AU Commission and the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) have organised an exhibition by African scientists, companies and organisations to showcase products and innovations that are making a difference in peoples' lives.

27 january 2007 18:53:00

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