Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu has underscored the critical role played by Research, Science, Technology, and Innovation in national development.
In a speech read on his behalf the Ministry’s Secretary Administration Fredrick Ndambuki, during the ongoing 2023 Science Granting Council Initiative (SGCI) Annual Forum and Global Research Council Sub-Sahara Africa Regional meeting in Mombasa, Machogu said besides their importance in social and economic development, research and technology are central to competitiveness in an increasingly globalized and knowledge-based world.
“Most European and North America countries owe their development to intensive application of recent advances in science and technology, especially in areas such as ICT, health and medicine, industry, infrastructure and agriculture,” said Machogu.
He noted there is strong political support from Kenya on the importance of cooperation, investment and the utilization of research, science and technology that will address societal challenges facing the country.
Machogu thanked various partners that include United Kingdom’s Commonwealth Development Office (FCDO), Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and the National Research Foundation South Africa (NRF-SA) for the invaluable support towards the initiative.
According to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Research Fund Professor Dickson Andala, the conference which is being attended by participants from 17 African Countries provides a platform to engage in high level discussions on various science, technology and innovation (STI).
The meeting also involves other participants from United States , United Kingdom, Japan , Saudi Arabia and Brazil offers opportunity for global network of partners in academia, industry, civil society, government as well as intergovernmental organizations.
Prof Andala said “among the highlights are an SGCI Masterclass on the impact trends in research funding flows in Africa, a learning session sharing SGCI achievements, lessons learnt and good practices.”
Other areas which he said will be discussed during the five-day meeting are SGCI governance meetings, and the SGCI academic symposium, which will profile, showcase and provide training, targeted at SGCI support research projects.
Prof Andala added that the Global Research Regional meeting and the Academic Symposium that forms part of the one week forum will lead to coordinated and well aligned Research and Development (R&D) plans and priorities to the national agenda and organizational strategies as well as sustainable science for society.
The Director of Education & Science at Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) Naser Faruqui emphasised the importance of continued capacity strengthening and increased funding for larger research calls.
“A key priority for my program is scaling Science, Technology, and Innovation alliances with local and international funders, addressing national and regional development priorities in the Global South,” said Faruqui.
Others who addressed the opening session included Chairman of the National Research Fund Board of Trustees Prof Ratemo Michieka, Gift Kadzamira of Malawi’s National Commission for Science and Technology (NCST) and Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) Executive Committee Member Fran Davies.