Bujumbura, October 27, 2021 – The 2nd East African Community Science, Technology and Innovation Conference has started today at the Hotel Club Du Lac Taganyika in Bujumbura, Burundi. The three-day conference is organized by the East African Science and Technology Commission (EASTECO) and the Inter-University Council for East Africa (IUCEA). The theme of the conference is The Role of Science, Technology, and Innovation in EAC Regional Integration and Socio-Economic Development in the context of COVID-19 Pandemic.
Speaking at the opening, the Executive Secretary, IUCEA, Prof. Gaspard Banyankimbona, said the conference is one of the avenues to develop STI in this region because it brings various players in STI to exchange ideas and collaborate.
“The conference will provide an opportunity to learn about the readiness of the East African region in using advances in STI and existing systems in the higher education and research sector as well as taking advantage in the academia, public and private sector linkages in advancing the knowledge economy and addressing emerging challenges such as Corona Pandemic.”
Prof. Banyankimbona added, “The thematic parallel sessions and ministerial sessions have been designed into a sequence that is expected to play an important role in addressing the perennial challenge of information not finding its way into policy.” He invited policy makers, scientists and innovators, industrials in technology and academia to actively contribute to areas of discussion during this conference. The outputs, he said, would contribute to the goals of the EAC integration in the context of STI.
The chief guest, H.E. Evariste Ndayishimiye, the President of the Republic of Burundi, was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of National Education and Scientific Research, Prof. Frédéric Bangirinama. He called the conference a golden opportunity to share experiences in research, science, technology, and innovation.
“At the end of this conference, results are expected such as developed linkages between policy makers, individuals and organisations and promotion of uptake of research findings by government and industry for the development of policy, products and services,” he said.
He further observed that the STI conference should result into “enhanced linkage and partnership between academia, industry and public sector and finally enhanced capacity for exchange of scientific ideas among researchers, faculty and innovators in our region.”
Hon. Christophe Bazivamo, Deputy Secretary General at the EAC in charge of Productive and Social Sectors, noted that the EAC Common Market Protocol accords science, technology, and innovation significant prominence as a driver for economic growth. “Article 42 of the Protocol directs Partner States to undertake joint research and development to facilitate cooperation for the development of STI,” he said. Adding, “Convening of the STI conference goes a long way in promoting the achievement of the objectives of the Treaty and the Common Market Protocol.”
The Ag. Executive Secretary, EASTECO Mr. Fortunate Muyambi said that the convening of the STI conference is one of the avenues to realise the development of STI in the region.
“The main objective of the conference is to stimulate and strengthen strategic alliance among stakeholders to promote the generation, dissemination and translation of research findings, build collaboration, networks and partnerships in the region,” he said.
He noted that the conference offers an opportunity for players in the field of STI to exchange ideas and create an effective network for collaboration for the benefit of the region.
“A number of collaborations exist in the STI space in the Community, these include government ministries of science and technology, national councils of science and technology innovation, research institutions, academia and NGOs. These largely work in isolation and their collaboration is limited resulting in uncoordinated research, duplication, and lack of implementation. Most of the research remains on shelves,” he noted.
The first STI conference, organised by IUCEA in partnership with EASTECO and the Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology (NM-AIST), was held in October 2019 under the theme Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) as a Catalyst Towards Achievement of East Africa Community Vision 2050. The East African Journal of science, technology, and innovation (EAJST) was launched at that event.
Articles 79 and 80 of the EAC Treaty, the Protocol for the establishment of the EAC Common Market, and the EAC Development Strategy, clearly articulate the region’s commitment to transforming the EAC economies through promotion of human resource development, research and innovation, and industrialization.
Conference sub-themes at this year’s STI conference include Agriculture, Food Security and Rural Development; Health and wellbeing; Natural Resources and Environment; Infrastructure; Energy and Industrial Development; Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and STEM. The conference ends on Friday October 29th, 2021. To participate register at https://2ndsticonference.easteco.org/
Inter-University Council for East Africa (IUCEA) is an EAC Institution whose mission is to promote strategic and sustainable development of quality higher education and research to support East Africa’s socio-economic development and regional integration. www.iucea.org
East African Science and Technology Commission (EASTECO) is an institution of EAC which is mandated to promote and coordinate the development, management and application of science and technology to support regional integration and socio-economic development. www.easteco.org
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