African Union marks Science and Technology week

As part of the year-long celebration of the commemoration of the OAU/AU 50th year anniversary, the African Union Commission (AUC), through its Department of Human Resources, Science and Technology, (HRST) opened the Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) week. It also witnessed the three winners of Kwame Nkrumah Scientific Regional Award, this week, at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

During the opening ceremony H.E Demitu Hambisa, Minister of Science and Technology, Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, considered Science and Technology as the most effective means to enhance growth and socio-economic development of nations. “Technological development has a profound and long-term impact on income distribution, economic growth, employment, trade, environment and industrial structure,” she added.

“The AU's approach to the post 2015 development agenda and the forthcoming Agenda 2063 highlight the promotion of STI as a key driver of change and recognizes that "Africa's sustained growth, competitiveness and economic transformation will require investments in new technologies and innovations." At the same time, the AU Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa 2024 (STISA-2024) places science, technology and innovation at the centre of Africa’s social and economic development”, said Ambassador Gary Quince, Head of Delegation of the European Union to the African Union.

Officially opening the STI week, H.E Mr. Erastus Mwencha, Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission, stressed the need for strategic coordination, knowledge sharing and commitment in advancing science and technology for the overall socio-economic development of the continent.

The Director of Human Resources, Science and Technology, at the AUC, Dr. Abdul-Hakim Rajab Elwaer argues that science, technology and innovation has to occupy a pivotal and central position in Africa’s social and economic development dynamics. “We have a strong conviction that science, technology and innovation is a tool for economic growth, wealth creation, food security, as well as political stability”, he added.

Following the end of the opening session, the STI week, under the theme Science and Technology’s contributions towards AU Agenda 2063, announced the three winners of Kwame Nkrumah Scientific Regional Awards:

Professor Isabelle Adolé GLITHO-AKUESON- currently Professor of animal Biology, specialty in Entomology, Director of the Laboratory of Entomology and Dean of the Faculty of Science at the University of Lomé (Togo). She is holder of the UNESCO Chair "Women, Science and Sustainable Water Management in West Africa”, President of the Regional Experts Commission of West Africa AUF Office (BAO/AUF), President of the association "Togolese Women for Science & Technology Advancement", and Board Member of Research Management and Applications n° 2 IRD (CGRA2/IRD).

Dr. Yvonne Bonzi-Coulibaly- the first professor in Chemistry at Ouagadougou University. She taught chemistry at Chemistry Institute of Ouagadougou University from1987-1988), and at the Science Faculty and Pharmacy department of Abidjan University from 1989-1992. Her areas of expertise are in Organic Chemistry, Mass Spectrometry and Pollution.

Dr. Quarraisha Abdool Karim- Professor Abdool Karim is an Honorary Professor in Public Health at the Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine at University of KwaZulu-Natal, Associate Professor of Epidemiology at Columbia University in New York and Associate Scientific Director of CAPRISA – Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa. Her research has changed the face of HIV prevention by providing the first effective technology, tenofovir gel, that women can use and control in order to protect themselves from acquiring HIV.

The African Union (AU) Kwame Nkrumah Scientific Awards program is one of the several bold steps taken by the AU Commission to boost and popularise Science and Technology in Africa through empowering African scientists, celebrating their achievements and promoting all efforts to transform scientific research into economic growth.

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