ECOWAS launches research and innovation forum to promote STI development

Umaro Sissoco Embalo, chairperson of ECOWAS and president of Guinea-Bissau

In a bid to promote development through science and technology, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has launched the African Research and Innovation Forum (FARI) to promote the development of science, technology and innovation (STI) among member states.

Speaking at the pre-launch press conference in Abuja, Nigeria, the president of ECOWAS Commission, Dr. Omar Touray explained that the first edition of FARI themed “Science, Technology and Innovation for a more competitive ECOWAS” is scheduled to hold from October 17 to 21, 2022 Nigeria and will provide a platform for stakeholders across West Africa to brainstorm on the role of STI in regional development.

The exchanges, on the occasion of FARI 2022, will be based around three sub-themes, namely: achievements and progress in terms of STI in Africa and their pooling, regional cooperation and coherent cooperation frameworks between governments, scientists, academics, decision makers, representatives of the private sector, TFPs and civil society; and finally, the new visions of STI for a more inclusive development of African countries.

The objective of FARI is to provide a regional platform for exchange and discussion between scientists, technologists, innovators, policymakers, the private sector, technical and financial partners, students and the general public to improve public understanding of the role of science, technology and innovation in socio-economic development.

It was first conceived in 2012 when ECOWAS adopted its policy on Science, Technology and Innovation and its action plan. It is part of the ECOWAS Vision 2050, in particular its Pillar 4 concerning inclusive and sustainable transformation and development, a transformation that can only be achieved through structural investments in promising sectors.

In his remarks, the head, scientific research and innovation division, ECOWAS, Dr. Roland Kouakou, said that the first edition of the forum scheduled for October is expected to have over 200,000 visitors, over 20 startups, over 40 countries, over 50 business-to-business exchanges and over 3 award-winning startups.

He further highlighted the expected results to include the improved visibility of regional scientific research and technology; creation of a regular framework for dialogue between all scientific and innovation actors in the region, Africa and the world; creation of new conditions for motivating researchers in the region to increase the quality of their research work, the provision of conditions for emulation between research institutions of ECOWAS member.

ECOWAS brings together 15 West African countries as members including Benin, Burkina faso, Cabo verde, Côte d'ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra leone and Togo.

Photo courtesy / La Tribune Afrique

Article by Jedidah Mwangi