India-Ethiopia Innovation, S&T Commercialization Programme launched

• India-Ethiopia Innovation, Science & Technology (S & T) Commercialization Programme launched ; Global R&D Summit 2019 expands India-Africa collaboration for Sustainable Growth.

Hyderabad, February 23, 2019 : India took another big step to expand its science and technology cooperation with Africa with the announcement of the India-Ethiopia Innovation, Science and Technology Commercialization Programme here today. Ethiopia, the biggest country in Africa with a population of more than 100 million, becomes the second country in Africa to benefit from the programme that was first piloted in Rwanda starting 2017.

Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Science & Technology, Earth Sciences and Environment, Forests & Climate Change, launched the programme along with  Dr. Getahun Mekuria, Ethiopia’s Minister of Innovation and Technology, on the concluding day of the Global R&D Summit.

The 6thDST-FICCI Global R&D Summit 2019 was on the theme of ‘International Collaboration in Research and Development for Sustainable Growth’. Africa was the partner continent. The annual summit was organized by DST and FICCI. Telangana was the summit partner through the state’s industry department, and supported by Research & Innovation Circle Hyderabad (RICH) and Telangana State Higher Education Council.

Ministers of Ethiopia and Zambia, and senior officials from Rwanda, delegates from African continent and about 200 private sector enterprises, government institutions, academic centres of excellence and R&D experts of India participated in the Summit. Plenary and thematic sessions focused on policy framework to support R&D activities, building collaborations across borders, providing need-based technology and innovation solutions from India to meet development challenges of African nations.

Dr. Vardhan said “the vision of Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi is to share our technology and innovations for shared prosperity in Africa. India wishes to also create bilateral and multilateral platforms with like-minded South-South Cooperation partners to forge collaborations to ensure sustainable growth in developing countries. We have helped a model and establish institutions of collaborative research, capacity building and enterprise development in the African continent” working with the African Union (AU) and bilaterally with several African nations.

Dr. Mekuria welcomed the launch of the programme as a continued demonstration of India?s enhancing ties with Africa and in step with the India Africa Forum Summit III (IAFS-III) held in October 2015 in New Delhi. “Ethiopia hopes to benefit from the growing innovation, science and technology collaborations and investments from India” said the visiting Minister, announcing that Ethiopia would host the India Technology and Innovation Week in the capital of Addis Ababa in May 2019.

Dr. (Ms.) Nkandu Luo, Zambia’s Minister of Higher Education, praised the longstanding ties between her country and India including the presence of the Indian diaspora, and said she was confident that “Zambia and India will start a similar technology transfer and sharing programme as Rwanda and Ethiopia before the end of 2019.”

Ms Kampeta Sayingzoa, Director General of Rwanda?s National Industrial Research & Development Agency (NIRDA), noted the early success mapped in the very first year of the India Rwanda Innovation Growth Programme and emphasized “enabling the business to business partnerships under the Programme” as the objective of the Rwanda government?s strategy to deploy and use R&D to drive industry with a focus on new, clean and green technologies.

Prof Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, DST, said India and Africa could create a new paradigm through “collaborative Research and Development to find new and appropriate solutions for development challenges” for nations on both sides. The Secretary encouraged expanding partnerships to new frontiers such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT), adding India was emerging as the leader in cutting edge research and technologies with a growing number of publications by Indian scientists. Prof Sharma said the Internationa Bilateral Cooperation division under DST would forge new bilateral and regional partnership programmes in Africa such as the ones with Rwanda and now Ethiopia.

Ms Sangita Reddy, Sr. Vice President, FICCI and Joint Managing Director, Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Ltd said, “Cutting across all disciplines, research has become increasingly important today, given that innovation and R&D are key drivers of economic growth worldwide. The theme of this year’s summit is ‘International Collaboration in Research and Development for Sustainable Growth’. With many research activities now taking on a global dimension, it is imperative to discuss positive approaches towards inculcating best R&D practices, including examining the role of private sector, Government and academic & research institutions in setting the standards.”

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