The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), on Tuesday, launched a forum that is aimed at boosting the visibility of scientific research and innovation by member countries.
Omar Touray, president of the ECOWAS Commission, speaking at the launch of the first edition of Forum for African Research and Innovation (FARI) in Abuja, said the forum is in response to initiatives on science and technology at the global and continental level.
He stressed that from past centuries to the present, sciences have contributed enormously to the change of humanity, adding that it continues to shape the world through technological innovations and constantly evolving derivative applications that impact all business sectors around the world.
He said: “FARI is therefore a regional platform for exchanges and discussions between scientists, technologists, innovators, decision-makers, the private sector, technical and financial partners, pupils/students and the populations. It aims to be unifying, innovative but also and above all to carry a mission to promote the products of researchers in the region.
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“In addition to bringing added value to scientific and technological integration efforts, the FARI also offers real opportunities for economic and social benefits. It promotes scientific tourism and helps create temporary jobs in the host country and fight against poverty.”
Touray said the FARI-2022 will take place from 17 to 21 October 2022 in Abuja, and will have in attendance over 60 experts from15 ECOWAS member states, African and global organisations and institutions.
He said the forum would also have in attendance start-ups from the region who will exhibit their products; 12 ministers in charge of Science and Technology, Representatives of African and global organizations and institutions; among several others.
In his remarks, Nigeria’s minister of science and technology, Adeleke Mamora, said Nigeria, with her huge population, can no longer afford to be a consuming nation, but a productive one.
The minister expressed optimism that the forum will present an avenue for exchange of ideas and discussions among scientists, innovators, policy makers, the private sector, technical and financial partners
Mamora said the globalisation of research and development has increased policy debate and made Africa to be ambitious in providing more critical mass for excellent research, adding that the forum will therefore equally provide an opportunity for international science, technology and innovation cooperation and networking within the ECOWAS member states.
“Our dear country is poised to continuously achieve research excellence, attract and retain adequate human resources for science, technology and innovation, foster competitiveness and innovation, and build science and technology capacities in the country. We are calling on all private concerns to join us in this endeavour,” he said.