Go back

African science council plan on track

Ministers take ‘steps’ to establish new funding mechanism

African science ministers have embarked on steps to establish an African research and innovation funding mechanism, South Africa’s science minister said on 14 July.

The news comes after the bureau meeting of the African Ministerial Council of Science and Technology (AMCOST) is said to have rejected a proposal for an African research council in May, saying they had had insufficient information about the proposal to support it.

But speaking in Dublin, Ireland, to an audience of African and European science policymakers at the Euroscience Open Forum, Naledi Pandor said the ministerial grouping was going ahead with the plans—albeit slowly.

“The bureau of the council had met in May in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to review implementation of Africa’s Science and Technology Consolidated Plan of Action. An important decision was made to initiate steps to establish a dedicated financing instrument for research and innovation in Africa,” said Pandor, who is also vice chairwoman of the AMCOST bureau.

“This will be the first African-financed pan-African funding instrument for science and technology on our continent. We are putting, so to speak, our money where our mouths are,” she said.

She added that the instrument would build on the continent’s experience of administrating the African Research Grants. Europe-funded but Africa-run, these grants are awarded to the best proposals that the African Union Commission receives, regardless of their origins in Africa.

The investment mechanism would add to grants like the Europe-funded African Research Grants by bringing them under one roof with nationally sourced funding. This would help the continent reach its target of spending 1% of GDP on science and technology, Pandor said.