Rabat to host the Second African Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation

Africa STI Forum

The second Ministerial Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) in Africa will take place from 14 to 17 October 2014 in Rabat and will consist of a pre-forum (14 October 2014), a series of experts meetings (15-16 October 2014), and conclude with a series of Ministerial Roundtable meetings (17 October 2014).

Hosted by the Government of the Kingdom of Morocco, the forum is co-organized by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Government of Finland along with its key partners including the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA), African Union Commission (AUC), the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and UNESCO.

Participants will include decision makers and government officials in charge of STI, academia and STI experts, scientists, African diaspora, young entrepreneurs, researchers and innovators, development partners, and representatives from the private sector and civil society.

The theme of the second Forum will focus on innovation and best practices in key STI sectors including water, energy, natural resources and agriculture. Discussions on STI policy, building capacities in STI, education and health will also be held. During these discussions special attention will be paid to critical issues such as youth, entrepreneurship and gender equality. Other key objectives of the Forum include: strengthening aid coordination in STI and mobilizing development partners to set up a multi-donor trust fund; making informed choices about the applications of ICT to improve development effectiveness; developing skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM); and building strategic partnerships to move the STI agenda forward.

The forum will conclude with a series of Ministerial Roundtables that will bring together a number of African Ministers of Higher Education, Science and Technology and other experts to examine pertinent STI issues in Africa. The Roundtable will include discussions on harnessing STI to address developmental challenges, Africa’s green development model, and the need to engage in a collective vision, including young entrepreneurs and academics, to optimize STI for inclusive and sustainable development in Africa. The Roundtables will underline the need for policy makers to engage in a dialogue with academia, scientific communities, civil society, African diaspora and the private sector.

This year’s Forum is in follow up to the first Africa Forum on STI that took place two years ago in Nairobi. The focus of the Forum in 2012 was to raise political awareness of STI in Africa and to promote youth employment, human capital growth and development. Forty higher education, science and innovation ministers from across Africa attended, among other experts and civil society, and the Forum was concluded with the signing of the Nairobi Ministerial Declaration on Science, Technology and Innovation which covers a range of measures to place STI policy dialogue at the forefront of sustainable development in Africa. More significantly, a political commitment was made for the integration of STI in National Development Agendas.

Forum Side Event:

During the Forum, UNESCO will be coordinating a side event in line with the forum’s core agenda on the development of STI capacities in Africa. The side event will aim to stimulate discussions on the establishment of STI policy training and research programmes in African universities, and on how to establish networks of universities and academic centres in Africa and outside the region.

16 October – “Setting-up University Networks for Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Policy Capacity-Building in Africa”

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