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Nairobi, April 03, 2012

President Mwai Kibaki views the new technology used to grow tomatoes when he toured exhibition stands before addressing the official opening of the 1st African Forum on Science , Technology and Innovation at the Intercontinental Hotel, Nairobi

Technology innovation key to sustainable development, President Kibaki

The Government of Kenya is committed to maximum exploitation of science and technological innovations for the realization of sustainable and equitable development in the country, President Mwai Kibaki has asserted.

President Kibaki emphasized that both the new constitution and the country’s development blue print, Vision 2030, explicitly recognized the critical role played by science and technology in achieving sustainable national development and global competitiveness.

The President was delighted that Kenya had spearheaded world-leading technologies in such essential areas as mobile banking and financial transactions among other ICT innovations.

President Kibaki made the remarks today when he officially opened the First African Science, Technology and Innovation Forum at the Intercontinental Hotel.

The Head of State noted, “I am sure there are many innovative science and technology initiatives in all our African countries.”

He stated, “In this regard, I am glad to note that Africa has taken decisive steps towards ensuring that science and technology are brought to the centre of our development efforts.”

In this regard, said the Head of State, the Government has formulated a National Science, Technology and Innovation Policy whose main objective is to create endogenous science, technology and innovation capacities appropriate deal with the country’s needs.

The Head of State further said that the country had developed strategies on how to create a science, technology and innovation culture that harnesses synergy from key players in the country.

He affirmed that Kenya accords high priority to regional and international collaborations in science, technology and innovations and thanked the African Development Bank and UNESCO for their steadfast support in these fields.

During the occasion, the President took note of scientific breakthroughs made in the continent and urged African Governments and Scientists to work closely for the development and benefit of the African people.

He said, “I, therefore, call upon each one of us to work together for the common good and development of our people. Indeed, there is greater benefit in collaboration between us than in working alone. You can count on Kenya and my Government in this regard.”

The Head of State appreciated that Africa was currently experiencing rapid economic growth but added that there was an urgent need to ensure that innovative technology catapulted the growth to another level. In order for Africa to compete effectively in the global market, emphasized the Head of State, the continent must be able to develop technologies that will trigger Africa’s Industrial Revolution.

He reiterated, “This is imperative as rapid industrialization holds the key to addressing some of our continent’s most pressing challenges particularly poverty, inequality, and unemployment.”

Despite commendable progress being made in the scientific and technological fields, President Kibaki cautioned that more needs to be done to ensure Africa becomes a global hub for innovations.

To achieve this, the President advocated for the installation of appropriate measures to control and reverse substantial brain drain out of the continent so as to attract back home Africa’s brilliant sons and daughters are working in foreign nations .

President remarked, “I call upon Governments, academic and research institutions as well the private sector to put in place policies as well as the infrastructure for research and development that will attract and retain top-notch scientists and researchers, both from Africa and the rest of the world.”

During the occasion, the Head of State thanked the Africa Development Bank, the African Union, UNESCO and other United Nations agencies as well as development partners for supporting African countries to formulate appropriate policies to promote science, technology and innovation.

Addressing the Conference, ADB President Donald Kaberuka called on African Countries to facilitate children from poor and marginalized backgrounds to access education.

Mr Kaberuka noted that education was a key pillar in unlocking the economic potential to create equitable wealth in the continent.

On her part, UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova expressed her organisation’s commitment to support education programmes at all levels and urged Governments to ensure equity in the provision of education among the poor citizens and the marginalized.

The Director-General, at the same time, called on Governments to formulate policy frameworks that would ensure acquisition of the relevant knowledge on science and research to realize sustainable innovations.

Addressing the conference, Higher Education, Science and Technology Minister Prof Margret Kamar called on Governments of the Continent to implement resolutions of the Addis Ababa Heads of State Summit by allocating 1 per cent of their countries’ GDP to research work.

The Conference that brought together over 60 ministers was organized by UNESCO, ADB and the Kenya Government to take stock on the plan of actions and encourage the role of research in innovations among other Agenda.

Others who spoke included Cabinet Ministers Mutula Kilonzo, the African Union deputy chairman Erastus Mwencha and the second chairperson, African Ministers Conference Naledi Pandor of South Africa.




©2012 State House, Nairobi Kenya