ECOWAS Commission organizes FARI 2022 in Abuja


The ECOWAS Commission organized in Abuja, Nigeria, in collaboration with the Nigerian Government, through the Federal Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, the first edition of the Africa Forum for research and innovation (FARI 2022).

The theme of the forum ” Science, technology and innovation for a competitive ECOWAS ” was adopted in view of the many challenges facing the global economy, at a time when ECOWAS Member States are working towards the creation of a integrated and more competitive region. The event, which will take place from October 17 to 21, 2022, will include technical sessions and panel discussions from local and international experts.

In his address during the opening ceremony, the President of the ECOWAS Commission, HE Dr. Omar Alieu Touray welcomed participants to the first edition of the Forum for African Research and Innovation (FARI) , and expressed its deep gratitude to the President and the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, for their exemplary commitment and their unceasing efforts to implement the priorities of the subregion, mainly in the areas of regional integration. He recalled the relevance of the theme of the forum, due to the contribution of science, technology and innovation to the development and competitiveness of our region.

He indicated that “the Science, Technology and Innovation triptych is both a driver of structural transformation of economies and a factor of integration into the global economy. They play a key role in achieving many development goals. As for innovation, it is at the heart of knowledge-based economies.It is the foundation of competitiveness and one of the main drivers of economic growth, social well-being and adaptation to climate change. environment. It is a factor in the modernization of education systems, agricultural production, the predictability of the seasons, etc. and a potential source of job creation and the fight against poverty”.

Underlining the Community’s commitment to technological innovation, the President stated that ECOWAS, through Article 27 of the Charter for Scientific and Technological Cooperation, the Directive (A./DIR. 1/06/ 12) on science, technology and innovation and the Supplementary Act (A/SA.2/06/12) adopting the ECOWAS policy on science, technology and innovation (ECOPOST), has defined science and technology as a crucial area for the growth and competitiveness of its member states, with FARI being provided for in pillar 4 of the ECOWAS Vision 2050. He continued by recalling that “the link between technological knowledge and economic growth is therefore very obvious. The exploitation of new technologies increases productivity and improves employment prospects as well as the possibility of moving up the production value chain. This is why, to be more competitive, develop trade and remove trade barriers, Africa, in particular our region, must expand its knowledge and skills in science and technology.Building human capital in science and technology is essential if our region intends to take advantage of its assets”.

The President went on to say that “investment in research and innovation can help overcome this barrier by providing better quality teacher training and encouraging national and regional science and technology research at all levels of the education system. I welcome the creation by ECOWAS of the Support Program for Research and Innovation (PARI Program) which awards grants of USD 400,000 each year for regional research. strengthen regional cooperation in research by creating a consortium of multidisciplinary and multilingual researchers and which ensures the next generation in research through the training of young researchers.

He concluded by indicating that the forum offered young people the opportunity to showcase their ideas and creativity through an exhibition of start-ups from ECOWAS Member States, as well as discussions on important topics such as the vision , funding for science, technology and innovation, capacity building, issues related to artificial intelligence and open sciences, research and job creation arrangements.

In his address delivered by his Chief of Staff, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari, commended the organizers for choosing such a timely theme, given the many challenges the global economy, as the sub-region seeks to seize the opportunities available to it and to engage in introspection to build a stronger and more radiant ECOWAS. He said that science, technology and innovation offer the opportunity to find solutions to the many challenges facing our region and researchers, the opportunity to network for a better future. He added that Nigeria has long recognized STI as the main driver of the National Development Plan (2021-2025) and has created the enabling environment for its youth population to realize their dreams in of innovation, by passing the Nigerian Startups Act, legislation that defines and governs a level playing field for young entrepreneurs. He pledged Nigeria’s commitment to strengthen collaboration with STI experts, and to provide ECOWAS Member States with technical advice on their respective methodologies, policies and national development plans.

In his message, the Honorable Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Adeleke Olorunnimbe Mamora, expressed his gratitude to the organizers of the forum and said that the idea of organizing it was launched in 2016 when ministers in charge of science, technology and innovation met in Accra, Ghana to discuss the need to create a forum for researchers and innovators to exchange and share their views on the need to improve public understanding of the role of these disciplines (ITS) in the socio-economic development of the West African region. He also stated that “the Forum also aims to improve scientific and technological research in the region, in particular by creating a permanent framework for dialogue between all actors in science and innovation, as well as by production of research results and technological results of researchers, which would make it possible to create networks between research and development (R&D) actors and the private sector”. He added that the FARI Program is an important project, capable of stimulating innovation in the African scientific ecosystem by supporting researchers and innovative start-ups from the region in the forum.

For his part, Dr. Dimitri Sanga, the Director of the Regional Office in Dakar and the OIC Regional Office in Abuja, said that the clock is ticking for all countries, including those in Africa, to achieve their goals of sustainable development by 2030. He added that countries believe that their future economic competitiveness will depend on how quickly they transition to digital and green societies, driven by science, technology and innovation (STI). He recalled UNESCO’s commitment to support ECOWAS Member States in their efforts to reform and improve STI systems and governance at the national level, with a view to better inclusion and enhanced resilience, through increased capacity to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and the objectives of the African Union’s Development Agenda 2063.

More than 60 experts from fifteen (15) ECOWAS Member States, African and global organizations and institutions will participate in twelve discussion panels. The discussions will be extended at the political level to Ministers of Science and Technology and representatives of African and global organizations and institutions. At the end of the forum, the ministers will present a declaration intended to guide the role of science and technology in strengthening the competitiveness of our region.

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