Science can shield Africa from economic crisis, spur growth, UN official says

30 April 2009

African governments must strongly support the development of new technologies to spur sustainable development and shield the continent from the global economic crisis, a senior United Nations official said today.

“As a coping mechanism and a shield against the global financial crisis, many countries are responding by investing in science and technology,” Josué Dioné, Director of the Food Security and Sustainable Development Division of the Economic Commission for African (ECA).

Mr. Dioné cited India and China as examples, as he addressed over 600 scientists from the world over at the opening in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia of the First Session of the Committee on Development Information, Science and Technology (CODIST-1).

The theme of the three-day meeting, “Scientific Development, Innovation and the Knowledge Economy” had been chosen to underscore the key role of science, technology and innovation in helping Africa countries to cope with the global financial and economic crisis, as well as the food, energy and climate change challenges that they face, he said.

A central event on the conference agenda is the Technology in Government Award, an initiative of ECA and the Canada Fund for Africa that recognizes the work of African governments in the effective use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) for public services delivery, ECA said.

Over 30 applications were short-listed from Angola, Botswana, Cote d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Mali, Morocco, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa, Sudan, The Gambia, Tunisia and Zambia.

Twelve innovative projects selected from these country submissions will receive awards on the 30th of April at a Gala Dinner at the Sheraton Addis.

In addition, several book launch ceremonies are planned for this evening, all concerning works which demonstrate innovative application of technology in the provision of government services.

The CODIST-1 conference is organized by ECA in collaboration with The International Organization for Francophony, the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), and a host of other partners, ECA said.

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