Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Kigali launches research center on African science diplomacy

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Maria Gill
Maria Gill
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The Rwandan capital expands its international scientific influence with the opening of a new research and training centre.

This is a joint project between the international non-profit organization SciTech DiploHub, the city governments of Barcelona and Kigali, and leading scientific universities and academies from more than 50 African countries.

This project represents the largest ever investment in scientific cooperation with Africa by a European-based organization.

SciTech DiploHub, the Center for Science and Technology Diplomacy, is an international non-profit organization headquartered in Barcelona (Spain) with offices in Brussels (Belgium), Geneva (Switzerland), Washington, D.C. (USA), and Mexico City (Mexico). We have teamed up with the Barcelona City Government and other global organizations to announce today the launch of the Center for Science Diplomacy for Africa. Located in Kigali, Rwanda, this initiative is part of SciTech DiploHub’s strategy to strengthen its presence in global science diplomacy and follows the successful example of the establishment in 2022 of the Iberoamerican Science Diplomacy Center, based in Mexico City and working to strengthen the science diplomacy capabilities of Latin American countries.

The launch of the center comes within the framework of SciTech DiploHub’s participation as a partner in the annual conference of the International Network for Government Scientific Advice, which was held in Kigali in front of hundreds of delegates from more than 65 countries.

The choice of Kigali was deliberate: the city is Africa’s main technology hub and has maintained close collaboration with SciTech DiploHub since 2019 on various initiatives related to women entrepreneurship, tech startups and smart cities.

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The Center for Science Diplomacy for Africa will coordinate initiatives between scientists, diplomats, policy makers, technology entrepreneurs and multinational companies, promoting collaborative research and technological development in Africa. In the first three years of activity, the Center is expected to train more than 2,500 African specialists in science and technology diplomacy and support the development of new science policy strategies for about twenty national and local governments in the region.

The main lines of work will address research on specific challenges facing Africa, such as climate change, public health, city resilience, social and economic inequality, and technology entrepreneurship in sustainable development, and will examine their connections to the continent’s current geopolitical situation. Complications.

Alexis Roig, CEO of SciTech DiploHub, emphasized that “As an international organization working in the field of science diplomacy, the launch of this center is a strategic step to strengthen international cooperation between leading research institutions, universities and companies in the growing African science and technology ecosystem. It will serve as a key part in Strengthen Africa’s scientific leadership in the Global South and will facilitate cross-border and cross-disciplinary collaboration with partner countries in the Global North.

According to Rwanda’s Minister of Education, Gaspard Twagiratrio, “We are at a critical moment to manage the long-term challenges that affect us all. Issues that were considered marginal a few years ago are today of central importance to our social, environmental and economic well-being. We recognize how rapid scientific progress generates There is great public interest, but we also need to build the capacity to absorb, generate and critically evaluate new knowledge and technologies. Overcoming current crises and future challenges requires global coordination in scientific advice, and Rwanda and Africa can greatly benefit from this cooperation.

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“The goal is for this Pan-African initiative to play a vital role in training professionals from our continent at the interface between science and policy,” noted the Executive Director of the Network of African Science Academies (NASAC), Jackie Kadu, during her speech. And in revitalizing the African scientific diaspora around the world. It is with great pride that we are able to work alongside SciTech DiploHub on this ambitious mission.

In the words of the Commissioner for International Relations of the Barcelona City Government, Pau Solanilla, “Barcelona’s international action also passes through cooperation and the promotion of global justice understood in the 21st century: we leverage the scientific capacities and talents of the countries we work with, to create new opportunities and a more just and sustainable future.” Our alliance with Kigali and Africa is one of our most important international priorities as a global city.

The project is led by SciTech DiploHub together with the city governments of Barcelona and Kigali, the government of Rwanda, the Network of African Science Academies (NASAC), which represents more than 30 academies from the continent, and the Association of African Universities, which represents more than 400 universities from 50 African countries. The initiative will also include more than thirty Spanish universities, research centers and organizations, part of the SciTech DiploHub network.

The initiative will receive an unprecedented investment of €3 million until 2028, thanks to the contribution of the founding institutions and funds provided by the European Commission through the co-financing scheme promoted by the African Union – the EU Innovation Agenda. In addition, the new center is part of the context of the African plan drawn up by the Government of Spain.

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The presentation of the new Science Diplomacy Center for Africa will take place in Europe on 4 Julyywithin the framework of the World Summit on Science Diplomacy, which Barcelona will host this year for the first time, and will bring together science ministers, ministers of state, Nobel laureates, and other global leaders from the fields of science, technology, and public policy from around the world.

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