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India-Africa Science & Technology Ministers two day Conference concludes with a joint Declaration


Africa and India attending the 1st India-Africa Science and Technology Ministerial Conference and Tech Expo on 1-2 March 2012 at New Delhi, India, desirously agree on the implementation of cooperation in science, technology and innovation through the following:

1. Capacity Building in Science and Technology

1.1   Improving Policy Enabling Environment:

Realizing the advance stage of India in developing science, technology and innovation policies and strategies thereof, it was agreed that India would assist the Commission of the African Union and Regional Economic Communities by providing training and other capacity interventions towards improving policy enabling environment in African countries.
        

1.2   Human Resource Development:




a. Cooperation with the Pan African University (PAU):

Acknowledging that India is the lead thematic partner on the PAU Institute of Earth and Life Sciences in West African region at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, it was agreed to enhance interactions between Indian and African researchers through such interventions like brain-storming meetings, workshops, exchange visits, joint R&D projects etc.  This would lead to the identification of mutual areas of research interest that have a significant regional impact and relevance and would foster future R&D collaborations.




b. India-Africa Scholarship and Fellowship programs:
 
(i) C. V. Raman Fellowship for African Researchers: the conference welcomed and appreciated the institution of the C.V. Raman Fellowship for African Researchers to work in Indian R&D labs and academic institutions. It was agreed to ensure an effective outreach of the fellowship scheme in African countries.

(ii) Research Internship: considering the need to connect the next generation of researchers, it was agreed to add a new component of research internship program under the C.V. Raman Fellowship program for African students pursuing Masters/ PhD degree in science & technology to undertake internship in Indian R&D labs and academic institutions.

(iii) Visitation Program: to promote capacity building, foster contacts and networking between Indian and African researchers, it was agreed to launch a reciprocal visitation program under which Indian scientists/faculty members can visit institutions in each other`s country up to three weeks duration to deliver pedagogical courses/ deliver lectures.


(iv) Training of Researchers: hands-on training programs and advanced schools for African researchers could be organized in Indian institutions in areas of topical interest. The Department of Science & Technology in consultation with AUC will develop annual training calendar.



1.3       Institutional Development
 
Understanding the need to work together, India and Africa are committed to extend technical assistance for strengthening of institutions engaged in the research and development activities which have cross cutting regional impact.

The mode of support would be in the form of: 
·  Developing Institutional / academic linkages through twinning between Indian and African institutions; 
·   Exchange of technological know-how towards capacity building;
·   Mobility of scientific and technical personnel; and
· Cooperation in strengthening of selected African regional institutions beginning with the three pilot Institutes identified by the African Union Permanent Representative Committee (AUPRC) in the next 2-3 years:

Ø  Institute Pasteur in Tunis, Tunisia (Health sciences and Bio-informatics)

Ø  Institute of Mathematics and Physical Sciences, Benin (Basic Sciences, Technology and  Innovation for Climate Change)

Ø  School of Science and Technology of Masuku, Gabon (Development of Local Materials; Chemistry of Natural Materials; Energy Research)

Indian side would identify lead Indian institutions for developing these partnerships. Mechanism be developed for reporting both to Indian and African Union sides.

2.  Science, Technology and Innovation for Development

Engage in continuous dialogue in order to explore ways to:

  • Strengthen public R&D institutions including academia to promote Science, Technology and Innovation;
  • Enhance the role of private sector in promoting collaboration; and  
  • Develop strategies to translate research and innovation into entrepreneurial ventures by supporting SMEs and incubators. 


3. Knowledge Transfer and Adoption

It was agreed that in consultation with respective African countries attempts would be made to identify need based small and medium scale technologies in select areas for their transfer to African countries. In order to assist knowledge and technology transfer the following activities will be pursued:

·   Visits of expert delegation from India to African countries for identification of an initial set of potential sectors for technology transfer/collaboration; 

·   Organization of joint workshops, technology expo, road shows for requirement assessment and feasibility study; 

·   Identification of agency (ies) that can provide the technology for transfer to the African country`s needs;

·  Develop appropriate linkages between industry associations and SME`s to facilitate technology transfers.

·   Facilitating technology transfer and establishment of pilot scale demonstration plants in Africa.



4.   Common Research Priority Areas 

The African Union Commission will continue to engage with the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India to identify areas of common research interest which have regional and continental relevance.

In order to ensure the implementation of the four strands of cooperation outlined above and to devise common strategy, it was decided to establish an Africa-India Joint Science & Technology Committee to be nominated and facilitated through Department of Science & Technology, Government of India and the African Union Commission.

The conference further recommended that the outcome of the India-Africa S&T Ministers Conference to be reported to the next India-Africa Summit Forum in 2014.

In conclusion it was unanimously acknowledged that the outcome of the S&T Ministerial Conference was a concrete step to realize our common vision of a self-reliant and economically vibrant Africa and India. It reaffirmed the commitment to work together towards a peaceful and more egalitarian international order, where the voices of Africa and India can be heard to pursue their desire for inclusive development, both internationally and domestically. Africa is determined to partner in India`s scientific resurgence, as India is committed to be a close partner in Africa`s S&T development.”


Finally, the Ministers in charge of Science and Technology from Africa express their appreciation to the warm hospitality extended to them by the Government and the People of the Republic of India.


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