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Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Gambia to establish national academy of sciences

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This information was contained in draft National Science and Technology Policy (NSTP) of the Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology, MoHERST. 

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The policy is being reviewed at a two-day second national conference and exhibition on science, technology and innovation, which ends today at Paradise Suites Hotel. 

In her opening remarks, Anne Therese Ndong-Jatta, director, Unesco regional bureau of education in Africa based in Dakar said: “Unesco accords high priority to the implementation of its global priority Africa program on science, technology and innovation with mission of supporting member states to harness STI and knowledge for the sustainable socio-economic development of Africa.

”This workshop is therefore in line with this mandate and would see the Gambia moving forward its STI agenda on all determined priority areas of the country which may include issues of water, ecosystems, natural resources management and also the building of capacities in sciences and engineering. Given the Gambia’s commitment and determination to use STI to reduce poverty and promote socio economic development, Unesco is happy to support this work which is focusing on finalising the national STI policy.”

The former Gambian education minister, Ndong-Jatta, added: “We are pleased to note that already in the draft document there are indications that the country intends to set up systems for monitoring and implementation and capacity building for the governance of the national STI system. These challenges of monitoring and implementation and capacity building are two priority areas of action that Unesco considers in it support to Africa. With the support from Unesco, there has been an increasing expansion in investments in scientific research, technological development, innovation and in production of new scientific articles and patents worldwide; an increase in the number of scientists and engineers.”  

She highlighted that Unesco has been supporting over 16 years countries in Africa to undertake the analyses of their STI policies. “We help in conducting adequate mapping of the governing bodies, legal framework and the STI policy instrument. From these analyses, policy- makers are able to identify the missing gaps in STI systems and the new instruments that are needed to face development challenges.”

Also speaking, the permanent secretary of MoHERST, Cherno Omar Barry, said: “The national STI policy being reviewed today, describes a ten-year (2013-2022) agenda of government to develop and harness the country’s scientific, technological and innovative competencies in advancing key social, cultural and economic sectors. The policy represents government commitment towards building and enhancing the nation’s science, technology and innovation system. This policy intends to provide a robust and resilient framework that will guide the harnessing and utilisation of STIs to achieve our long-term objectives of becoming a prosperous, sustainable and competent STI nation.”

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