GIS – 24 November 2015: ‘Africa’s scientific agenda together with our own in Mauritius is crucial to take us to the next stage of socioeconomic development. I firmly believe that science has and continue to play a profound role as the engine of growth as well as advancing knowledge and improving the human condition’, said the President of the Republic, Dr Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, yesterday afternoon at the State House, in Le Réduit.
The President was addressing key stakeholders including African government ministries, international institutions, private businesses, local and pan-African universities, and civil society, at the official launch of the Planet Earth Institute’s (PEI) in Mauritius, an international NGO and charity working for the ‘scientific independence of Africa’.
An expert policy roundtable entitled Mauritius and Africa’s Scientific Independence: The Role of Business was hosted by the President and the PEI’s Board of Trustees on that occasion.
President Gurib-Fakim has been appointed Vice-Chairman and Trustee of the Institute. In her opening address, she stated that while economic growth rate in Africa as well as that in Mauritius has been strong and steady (with the country moving into a middle-income status), yet as much of the continent, we are now at important crossroads. For her, the big question that begs to be answered is: How do we continue to grow, attaining a higher income status as a nation and in the process, becoming a producer not just a consumer of knowledge?
According to President Gurib-Fakim, it is only through the development of our single most value resource – the human capital, specifically in high-value and wealth generating sectors of science, technology and innovation, will we be able to transform our society into a knowledge hub in this 21st century. ‘We need to per force inspire our future researchers, innovators and entrepreneurs by equipping them with the knowledge and tools they need and surround them in the policy environment that supports and protects their ideas’, she pointed out.
Speaking about the PEI, the President observed that the launching of the Institute provides an excellent platform to leverage science, technology and innovation for the common cause and for achieving excellence. Planet Earth Institute is seeking to engage not just scientists and academics, but a full and broad range of sectors involved in this joint effort to promote scientific excellence, and that includes a strong focus on the private sector, including private educational institutions, she added.
The PEI’s expansion to Mauritius will build upon its international work to support African science, technology and innovation, as well develop a number of locally focused initiatives to be announced in early 2016.
It is recalled that the PEI’s work is built around the three pathways that will help lead Africa to scientific independence: Higher Education, Technological Innovation and Policy and Advocacy.
Headquartered in London with a core executive team, the PEI also has a regional office in Luanda, Angola. All of the Institute’s projects benefits from the guidance of the Global Scientific Committee, a unique group of eminent research scientists drawn from across the world, and from partnerships with leading organisations who share their vision for a scientifically empowered Africa.
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