Prof. Walter O. Oyawa, Director General of the National Commission for Science, Technology & Innovation (NACOSTI) representing the Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Education, Kenya Hon. Ezekiel Machogu at the official opening of the 3rd EAC Regional STI Conference today in Nairobi.

The 3rd EAC Regional Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Conference opened in Nairobi today.

The conference, which runs until Friday 8 March 2024, is hosted jointly by the East African Science and Technology Commission (EASTECO) and the Inter-University Council for East Africa (IUCEA).

Under the auspices of the East African Community (EAC), the conference is being held in collaboration with various STI stakeholders in the region and globally in order to provide an avenue for sharing experiences, best practice and applications of STI outputs. It will also serve to strengthen collaborations, facilitate regional integration and enhance sustainable development.

The conference was opened by the Director General of the National Commission for Science, Technology and Innovation (NACOSTI), Dr Walter Oyawa, on behalf of Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Education Ezekiel Machogu. Other notable dignitaries present included the Executive Secretaries of IUCEA and EASTECO, Prof Gaspard Banyankimbona  and Dr Sylvance Okoth, respectively, as well as and donor representatives.

The overarching theme of the conference is, “Accelerating development and diffusion of Science, Technology and Innovation solutions for a green, inclusive and resilient East Africa.” This biennial conference builds on the deliberations and success of the 1st and 2nd conferences, which were held, respectively, in Kampala, Uganda in 2019 and Bujumbura, Burundi in 2021. 

Mr Machogu said Kenya plans to have at least one national polytechnic in each of the 47 counties. “The Draft Sessional Paper on Education 2024 proposes an allocation of 2% towards research with at least a third of that amount going towards TVETS and another third towards universities.”

The Executive Secretary of EASTECO, Dr Sylvance Okoth, said the conference will provide an important forum for exchanging scientific information, and in the process, create new linkages and strengthen bonds of collaboration. “we will be listening to outputs of scientific production in both oral and poster presentations; interact with exhibitions of scientific innovations; and witness intellectual discourse.”

On his part, IUCEA Executive Secretary Prof Gaspard Banyankimbona underscored the importance of utilizing research to improve livelihoods. “We firmly believe that research, development, and innovation (RDI) are not mere academic pursuits but the very engines driving knowledge, fostering collaborative problem-solving, and propelling the creation of impactful solutions to the challenges we face collectively.”

During the event, the EASTECO Regional STI Policy and Intellectual Property Policy were also launched.

The meeting brings together diverse actors in the STI system, including policy makers, industry players, academicians, researchers, innovators, students and development partners.  

Other stakeholders attending the conference include representatives of EAC Partner States, the African Union, Regional Economic Communities, civil society, business and industry organizations, academic and research institutions, and development partners.

The conference is being held in a hybrid mode through face-to-face and virtual platforms.

Activities include a high-level policy dialogue, plenary sessions, an exhibition, and a ministerial session. Special sessions will be held on request from partners and will incorporate a youth engagement session on technologies and innovation of the future as well as a session on entrepreneurship promotion through education, research and development.

Reporting by Winton Zak


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