Campaign for Africa’s scientific independence continues at the United Nations

Source: Planet Earth Institute

This week, we continued our campaign for Africa’s scientific independence to the United Nations, in partnership with the Office of the Permanent Observer Mission of the African Union and His Excellency Ambassador Antonio Tete, and with leading figures from the UN system, including Amina J Mohammed, Special Adviser on Post-2015 Development Planning.

Led by our Chairman Dr Álvaro Sobrinho alongside our Trustees Rt Hon Lord Boateng and Sir Christopher Edwards, our delegation held a public conference on the importance of science, technology and innovation in Africa’s Post 2015 agenda, and the role of business as a delivery partner. PEI Partners Promethean, Skills @ Work and the Regional Initiative for Science and Education (RISE) also joined, with RISE’s distinguished Professor Phillip Griffiths, also Chair of the Science Initiative Group in Princeton, making a strong contribution to the panel calling for businesses in Africa to work more closely with academic groups.

Alvaro Sobrinho African Union“No development agenda will be complete without addressing the critical issue such of Africa’s scientific deficit. The Post 2015 process must include measures to support training and resourcing local African researchers, and apply pressure for governments to invest in research and development, as well as incentivise and support business to play their part. As someone who has spent my life in the private sector in emerging African economies, I see everyday the ability enterprise has to make scientific debates real and tangible, through job creation and investment in new technologies that can improve the daily lives of our communities. I am now working hard to engage other members of the business community, and we have ambitious goals to bring the number of PhDs in Africa up to the world average, and echo the campaign of the World Bank to double the number of STEM students in Africa by 2025. We must be bold and fearless in the pursuit of scientific excellence on our beautiful continent”. Dr Álvaro Sobrinho, PEI Chairman

After his remarks, Professor Griffiths said:

“After a decade of supporting STEM graduate students in Africa, we are pleased to have formed a partnership with the Planet Earth Institute, and to have experienced the enthusiasm voiced at this high-level meeting of the African Union. Given the well-targeted scientific goals of the Post 2015 Agenda and the timely leadership promised by the business community, I share the optimism of those gathered here in looking forward to a new era of scientific independence for Africa.”

His Excellency Ambassador Antonio Tete, Permanent Observer to the UN from the African Union, drew attention to the Common Position Paper for Africa in the Post 2015 agenda, published earlier this year, and the key role science, technology and innovation is allocated. “As the Permanent Representative to the UN, I will make sure that today’s remarks, made with such passion and vision, are fed back into the continuing process so we can achieve the best for Africa”.

Review some of the debate on the AfricaPost2015 hashtag, or please contact James Knight with any other questions.

Mr Elliot Harris, UNEP's Director in NYC, outlines their work in Africa