AU Forms Alliance To Push Development Of Science And Technology

The African Union (AU) Heads of State and Government Summit has endorsed the establishment of the Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa (AESA).

AESA is a platform created by the African Academy of Sciences (AAS) and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Agency in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to offer an opportunity for the long-term development of research leadership, scientific excellence and innovation that impact on Africa’s developmental challenges.

According to a release, issued to the Ghana News Agency, the Alliance was expected to identify challenges that hinder rapid scientific advancement in Africa, run open calls for proposals with transparent review processes, actively manage grants, and evaluate and measure the impact of such investments.

AESA would promote the collaborative and coordinated implementation of the Africa Union’s (AU) Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa (STISA 2024), it said.

Dr. Martial De-Paul Ikounga, the Commissioner of Human Resources, Science and Technology (HRST) at the AU, according to the release said, “We developed STISA as a multi-purpose policy advocacy strategy for mainstreaming innovation in the priority areas of the African Union, of which health and wellbeing are part.

“Mobilization of domestic excellence and financial resources and leveraging external support are vital for the successful implementation of STISA 2024”.

Dr. Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, the CEO of NEPAD Agency, said the NEPAD Agency was committed to working with African institutions in applying Science, Technology and Innovation in addressing Africa’s challenges in health.

It was, therefore, pleased to draw upon the capacity that resided at the African Academy of Sciences to establish AESA, said the release.

African leaders recently called upon Member States, regional and global partners, as well as private foundations to support the Alliance in order to strengthen health research and innovation in Africa, it said.

It said three developmental partners, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Wellcome Trust and UK’s Department for International Development (DfID),had already recognised and pledged financial support to AESA.

The partners jointly share the vision of supporting the next generation of outstanding African researchers, who would help solve some of the continent’s greatest health and development challenges, the release said.

Prof Aderemi Kuku, the President of AAS, said: “This marks a new dawn for Science development on the continent”, according to the release 

A formal launch of AESA is planned on the side-lines of the next AU summit in June 2015, in South Africa.