EAST AFRICAN COMMUNITY
EAST AFRICAN SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY COMMISSION (EASTECO)
1st East African Stakeholder Workshop on Science, Technology and Innovation
Kigali, Rwanda, 22nd & 23rd 2016
The East African Science & Technology Commission (EASTECO) held its First Regional Stakeholder Meeting in Kigali from 22nd – 23rd August, 2016, at Lemigo Hotel.
The EASTECO Workshop was followed by the 1st Annual Regional Meeting of Science Granting Councils Initiative (SGCI) in Sub-Saharan Africa (24th to 26th August 2016).
The objective of this workshop was to build consensus among “national level stakeholders on regional STI policy priorities and a guiding framework for the judicious application of STI to accelerate the Socio – economic development of the EA region.” The participation was composed of Science and Technology experts, professionals, and researchers, from diverse fields and institutions, representing EAC Partners States; the EAC organs and institutions; National Commissions/Councils for Science, Technology and Innovation; national Academies of Science; National Research and Development organizations; Non-Governmental Organizations; African Regional Economic Communities (SADC, COMESA) among others.
The opening ceremony was honored by the presence of Hon. Minister of Education of the Republic of Rwanda, Dr. Papias Musafiri Malimba (the Guest of Honour), the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of EAC, Mr Innocent Safari, the Deputy Secretary General of the EAC, for Productive and Social Sectors, Hon. Jesca Eriyo, and representatives of development partners including the Head of DFID in Rwanda, delegates from IDRC and NRF.
In his speech, Dr. Papias M. Malimba asserted that “As identified through the World Economic Forum the world is currently experiencing a Fourth Industrial revolution which is characterised by: velocity, scope, and systems impact. This Fourth Industrial Revolution is evolving at an ever increasing pace disrupting all aspects of Industry and life in every country”.
He added that “developing capacity in Science, Technology and Research will help us strengthen key development sectors, including health, agriculture, trade and industry, infrastructure, environment, and ICT, and ensure that Rwanda and the region are able to stay in touch with all these global developments in support of the continent’s need for innovation, creativity and youth employment”.
The Hon. Minister further emphasized on the need to develop programs “to increase the ratio of students who are trained in the domains of science, technology, engineering and mathematics”, and to “support and provide incentives to talented youth and for the promotion of girls and women to be involved in Science and Technology to work towards solutions for our social needs and an increased and sustained economic growth”.
The Hon. Minister applauded the diverse Partner states initiatives on creating technology and innovation parks, such as the Kigali Innovation City in Rwanda, the Bagamoyo ICT Park growing in Tanzania, the Konza Technology City in Kenya, and Outbox & Hivacolab ICT Labs in Kampala, Uganda, among others.
He ended by asserting that ‘Rwanda pledges maximum support to the EASTECO to ensure the commission fulfils its mandate to promote and coordinate science and technology in support of the socio-economic development of our region’.
During the opening session, Hon. Jesca Eriyo, the Deputy Secretary General, for Productive and Social Sectors at the EAC, recalled the opportunity of collaboration between EASTECO and other EAC institutions namely the IUCEA, the LVBC, as well as Regional Centers of Excellence such as the East African Centre of Excellence on Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (established at Makerere University, in Uganda) and the Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR) Hub for Eastern and Southern Africa (in Kigali, Rwanda), for the advancement of sectors and areas with comparative advantages including agriculture, minerals and natural resources.
She also called upon the EAC Partner States to increase support to EASTECO, for the development and application of Science, Technology and Innovation.
The meeting was also an opportunity for sharing experience from other regional economic communities (SADC and COMESA) and other EAC institutions (IUCEA).
During the meeting work sessions, options for the East African Science, Technology and Innovation regional priority areas and targets were discussed by the participants, based on the EAC vision 2050, the EASTECO mandate and the STI situational analysis for the EAC region.