New Delhi, Feb 29 (IANS) In an effort to strengthen scientific and technological engagements with the African Union, India is hosting the first India-Africa science and technology ministers conference in the capital from Thursday.
The two-day conference to be held at Vigyan Bhawan will see participation of 31 African ministers and 103 delegates besides people from the industry.
“The main aim of the conference is to see how we can strengthen our scientific and technological engagements with Africa after all we both are developing countries looking towards modern democratic processes,” Gurjit Singh, additional secretary (Eastern and Southern Africa), ministry of external Affairs, told IANS.
Several Indian institutions excelling in the field of research and development in science and technology will also take part in the conference.
There will be sessions on science and technology programmes and policies in India and Africa Union and round table sessions to discuss — capacity building in science and technology, knowledge transfer and adoption, research areas of mutual interest and using science for development.
The conference will also see participation of three African institutes — Institute of Pasteur in Tunis, Tunisia, Institute of Mathematical and Physical Science, Benin and School of Science and Technology of Masuku, Gabon — part of the India-Africa cooperation for institutional strengthening.
Special efforts are made to showcase India under the theme of grand societal challenges in key economic sectors like telemedicine, vaccine production, e-education, wireless telecommunication and grassroots innovations for inclusive social development.
The idea is to have at the end of the conference a cogent plan of action not overtly ambitious but doable, Singh said.
Department of Science and Technology will also be organising a tech expo parallel to the conference that will look at innovation in the field of science and technology.
African Union has also approached India to be its lead partners in setting up of one of the five pan African universities.
“Africa has approached us to be their lead partners in setting up Life and Earth Sciences University in Nigeria. Some meetings have taken place between the two sides and most probably Department of Agriculture, Research and Education under ministry of agriculture and Delhi University will be the partners,” said Singh.
India will help Africa to create a facility in life and earth sciences, that will be recognised as a pan African university.