Kenya Hosts SGCI Annual Forum

The 2023 Science Granting Council Initiative (SGCI) Annual Forum and Global Research Council Sub-Saharan Africa Regional meeting, held from November 13th to 17th in Mombasa, Kenya, has concluded with a resounding endorsement of the pivotal role science and research play in driving social and economic development. Fredrick Ndambuki, the Ministry’s Secretary of Administration, conveyed this sentiment on behalf of the Kenyan Ministry, underscoring the crucial importance of research and technology for competitiveness in today's globalized and knowledge-based world.

During the gathering, Machogu highlighted the profound impact of science and technology on the development of European and North American countries, attributing their progress to advancements in ICT, health, medicine, industry, infrastructure, and agriculture. He reiterated Kenya's commitment to fostering cooperation, making strategic investments, and leveraging research, science, and technology to address the pressing societal challenges of the day.

The conference brought together participants from 17 African countries and welcomed representatives from the United States, United Kingdom, Japan, Saudi Arabia, and Brazil. This annual forum serves as a significant platform for high-level discussions on science, technology, and innovation (STI). Partners, including the United Kingdom’s Commonwealth Development Office, Canada’s International Development Research Centre, and the National Research Foundation South Africa, were acknowledged for their invaluable support in advancing scientific initiatives.

Professor Dickson Andala, CEO of the National Research Fund, outlined the agenda, which featured an SGCI Masterclass on research funding trends in Africa and an academic symposium showcasing SGCI-supported research projects. The primary objective of the meeting is to align Research and Development (R&D) plans with national agendas, organizational strategies, and the pursuit of sustainable science for societal benefit.

Naser Faruqui, Director of Education and Science at Canada’s International Development Research Centre, emphasized the need for continued capacity strengthening and increased funding for extensive research calls. The event also included addresses from Prof Ratemo Michieka, Chairman of the National Research Fund Board of Trustees, Gift Kadzamira of Malawi’s National Commission for Science and Technology, and FCDO Executive Committee Member Fran Davies. The discussions aimed to foster Science, Technology, and Innovation alliances addressing regional development priorities in the Global South. The meeting has laid the groundwork for collaborative efforts to propel scientific advancements for the betterment of societies in the region and beyond.

Article by Nyokabi Wanjiku