The theme of this year’s Forum was Effective Public-Private Partnerships in Research and Innovation. The purpose of the Global Research Africa and Science Granting Research Initiative Annual Forum was for stakeholders to discuss the cutting-edge issues related to science, technology and innovation within the framework of public-private-partnerships (PPP); and the role the private sector companies in Africa could play in supporting the African agenda on science, technology and innovation for socioeconomic benefit.
The main organisers of the forum included the National Science and Technology Council of Zambia and the National Commission for Science and Technology of Malawi.
NEPAD SANBio was among the stakeholders invited to the Forum which contributed inputs on the issues in PPP discussed. The Network also exhibited some of the technology products for the duration of the Forum and raised awareness about the Network.
The Zambian Minister of Higher Education, Honourable Professor Nkandu Luo officially opened the Forum on 22 September 2017 and highlighted the need for change: “Our research agenda has to change and it must be geared towards solving real problems facing the African continent, such as climate change and agriculture, including livestock, and HIV.”
Another important issue that the Minister raised is why the private sector is not a major player on the African continent for research and development. She said that time has come for the researchers (and Ministers responsible for science, technology and innovation) to be proactive and call the private sector to account for their presence in our continent and help the continent start putting together technologies that can easily be adopted in our continent and which people can benefit from. She stated there is a need to partner with the parties that have adequate resources to help Africa translate some of the research findings into technologies that society can use.
The forum’s outcomes will be reported early next year.