Extraordinary Conference of the African Ministerial Council on Science and Technology

20-24 November 2006 | Cairo, Egypt

AMCOST Bulletin

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Institutional History
Inter-Ministerial Dialogue
Summary Report

African Union

The African Ministerial Council on Science and Technology (AMCOST) held its Extraordinary Conference in Cairo, Egypt from 20-24 November 2006. Organized by the African Union (AU) Commission and hosted by the Government of Egypt, the conference opened with an experts meeting from 20-22 November, followed by a ministerial meeting from 23-24 November. It was attended by representatives from 26 AU member states and agencies, international and continental government and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and the Diaspora.

Delegates considered a range of proposals and reports on African science and technology matters. These included: a proposal to establish an African Presidents’ Committee for Science and Technology; the draft report of the High-level Panel on Modern Biotechnology; the African Strategy on Biosafety; a proposal for the African Strategy for Technology Transfer and Acquisition of Domestic Technological Capabilities; the report of the conferences of the Diaspora and of African NGOs on the popularization of science and technology; a proposal for the formation of the Pan-African Intellectual Property Organization; the report of the first AU Congress of Scientists and Policy Makers; options for the African Science and Innovation Facility; and criteria and guidelines for establishing African networks of centers of excellence in science and technology.

Delegates worked through these agenda items with a view to preparing inputs for the January 2007 AU Summit of Heads of State and Government (2007 Summit), to be held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, which has as its primary theme “Science, Technology and Research for Africa’s Development.” At the close of the meeting on Friday, ministers had agreed to a meeting report summarizing their discussions on each agenda item, and had adopted the Cairo Declaration, containing ministerial commitments on future work in relation to science and technology (S&T) and recommendations for consideration at the 2007 Summit.

In conjunction with the Extraordinary AMCOST Conference, an Inter-Ministerial Dialogue on Building an African Network of Centers of Excellence in Water Sciences and Technology was held jointly by the Bureaus of AMCOST and the African Ministerial Council on Water (AMCOW) on 22 November. The dialogue was attended by ministers from Lesotho, Senegal, South Africa and Zimbabwe, senior representatives from Algeria, Egypt, South Africa and Ethiopia, and representatives from the Office of Science and Technology of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and the AU Commission. Throughout the day, delegates considered issues related to criteria and guidelines, financial mechanisms and governance for the network of centers of excellence, before adopting an inter-ministerial declaration, which approves the establishment of the network and its guidelines as a “living document,” and requests the AMCOW Secretariat and the NEPAD Office of Science and Technology to work further on governance and financing. More information.

EXPERTS MEETING, 20-21 NOVEMBER 2006
Delegates at the experts meeting
Crispus Kiamba, Kenya’s Ministry of Science and Technology (left); Calestous Juma, Co-Chair of the African High-level Panel on Modern Biotechnology (middle); Anubha Verma, World Bank (right)
Khalil Timamy, African Union Commission, provides an overview of the concept paper on the establishment of a Pan-African Intellectual Property Organization
Alex Tindimubona, UN Economic Commission for Africa
Chinyamakobvu Emmanuel, UN Convention to Combat Desertification (left) and Sospeter Muhongo, International Council for Science

INTER-MINISTERIAL DIALOGUE ON BUILDING AN AFRICAN NETWORK OF CENTERS OF
EXCELLENCE IN WATER SCIENCES AND TECHNOLOGY, 22 NOVEMBER 2006

The Inter-Ministerial Dialogue on Building an African Network of Centers of Excellence in Water Sciences and Technology was held jointly by the Bureaus of African Ministerial Council on Science and Technology (AMCOST) and the African Ministerial Council on Water (AMCOW) on Wednesday, 22 November 2006, in Cairo, Egypt. The dialogue was attended by ministers from Lesotho, Senegal, South Africa and Zimbabwe, senior representatives from Algeria, Egypt, Ethiopia, South Africa and Zimbabwe, and representatives from the Office of Science and Technology of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and the African Union (AU) Commission.
Chair of the dialogue and of AMCOST, Yaye Kene Gassama Dia, Senegal’s Minister of Science and Technology
John Mugabe, NEPAD Office for Science and Technology
South Africa’s Minister of Water Affairs and Forestry, Lindiwe Hendricks
Chair of the dialogue and of AMCOST, Yaye Kene Gassama Dia, Senegal’s Minister of Science and Technology; Lesotho’s Minister of Natural Resources, Mamphono Khaketla; John Mugabe, NEPAD Office for Science and Technology

MINISTERIAL MEETING, 23-24 NOVEMBER 2006

Delegates at the opening session of the ministerial meeting rise for the anthems of Egypt and the African Union
L:R: Walter Erdelen, UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization; Nadia Essayed, AU Commissioner of Human Resources, Science and Technology; and Egypt’s Minister of Science and Technology
Delegates during the opening session of the ministerial meeting
L:R Front Row: Calestous Juma, Co-Chair of the African High-level Panel on Modern Biotechnology; Emmie Wade, UNDP-OST Partnership; L:R Second Row: John Mugabe, NEPAD Office for Science and Technology; Agrrey Ambali, NEPAD Office for Science and Technology; Luke Mumba, NEPAD Office for Science and Technology.

Tour of the National Research Center

After the opening of the ministerial meeting, delegates were invited to tour Egypt’s National Research Center. The tour included inspection of a special part of the Center dedicated to providing laboratory space for young Egyptian scientists returning from study outside Egypt as a means of reversing the “brain drain.”
Nadia Essayed, AU Commissioner of Human Resources, Science and Technology
Calestous Juma, Co-Chair of the African High-level Panel on Modern Biotechnology (left); and South Africa’s Minister of Science and Technology
Representative from Niger
Relevant Links

AMCOST Resources
Resolutions of the 6th meeting of the Steering Committee of the African Ministerial Council on Science and Technology (AMCOST) March 2006
Resolutions of the Second African Ministerial Conference on Science and Technology August 2005
Resolutions of the 2nd Meeting of NEPAD Science and Technology Steering Committee July 2004
Declaration of the First NEPAD Ministerial Conference on Science and Technology November 2003
NEPAD Science & Technology Secretariat
Africa’s Science and Technology Consolidated Plan of Action
The High-Level African Panel on Modern Biotechnology
African Science, Technology & Innovation Indicators Initiative (ASTII)
NEPAD S&T Secretariat Platform on safe development and application of biotechnology
NEPAD S&T Secretariat Platform on conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity
Biotechnology and Sustainable Development in Africa: Towards Regional Consensus and Common Strategy
NEPAD/African Biosciences Initiative Business Plan 2005 - 2010
International Property Protection and Sustainable Development - Towards a Common African Institutional Framework and Strategy

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