H.E. President of Ghana and Chairperson of COMSATS, Honourable Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, presided over COMSATS’ High Level Breakfast meeting at Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 9th February, 2020 on the side-lines of the African Union (AU) Summit Meeting. The high-profile attendance of the meeting included: H. E. Muhammadu Buhari, President of Nigeria; H.E. Isatou Touray, Vice President of Gambia; H.E. Dr. Elioda Tumwesigye, Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Uganda; H. E. Patrick ACHI, Minister / Secretary General to the President, Republic of Ivory Cost; Deputy Chief Secretary in the office of the President, Zimbabwe; Foreign Ministers from Nigeria, Ghana; Minister of Trade, Ghana; Minister of Interior, Ghana; and Dr. Eugene Owusu, Special Advisor to the President of SDGs, Ghana.
Also present in the meeting were: Dr. S. M. Junaid Zaidi, Executive Director COMSATS; Prof. Ashraf Shaalan, Chairperson COMSATS Coordinating Council, Egypt; Prof. Dr. Orkun Hasekioglu, Advisor to President, Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK), Ankara, Republic of Turkey; Ambassador Shahid Kamal, Advisor COMSATS; and Mr. Nisar Ahmad, Deputy Director COMSATS.
The Meeting was held to, inter alia, sensitize the participants about COMSATS’ activities in promoting science and technology for economic and social development of its member states, various programmes undertaken by COMSATS Coordinating Council, developments on COMSATS Centre for Climate and Sustainability, as well as encourage participation in the upcoming Accra Forum on Science and Technology for Sustainable Development.
Speaking to the august gathering, the Chairperson COMSATS underlined the important role of COMSATS in building science and technology as a vital tool for progress in the developing countries. His Excellency opined that COMSATS was well-positioned to support ‘Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want’ to deliver on sustainable development. He appreciated the support extended by the Government of Pakistan to COMSATS for its contribution in assisting developing countries in the field of science and technology.
Dr. S. M. Junaid Zaidi highlighted the significance of promoting greater collaboration with countries in Africa and underscored the need to increase COMSATS’ membership in Africa. He informed that COMSATS has initiated several programmes in capacity building, grant of scholarships, assisting in establishing S&T-related interventions in member countries. He also highlighted the new initiatives taken by COMSATS in the areas of climate change, sustainable development and fostering partnerships with the United Nations, Commonwealth, European Commission, and international and regional organizations in addressing developmental challenges.
Heading COMSATS’ body that represents COMSATS’ International Centres of Excellence, Prof. Ashraf Shaalan briefed the participants about the activities of COMSATS Coordinating Council, especially in capacity-building in ICTs, renewable energy, agriculture, food security, biotechnology, material sciences, natural products sciences and climate change, especially through institutional arrangements such as. Ambassador Shahid Kamal briefed the meeting on the new initiative of establishing COMSATS’ Centre for Climate and Sustainability (CCCS), in which 15 COMSATS’ member countries have joined the CCCS network.
Appreciation by the senior Government officials attending the Breakfast meeting on COMSATS’ programme came during the interactive discussion session. Honourable President of Nigeria and Vice President of Gambia appreciated the work being done by the COMSATS for development of science and technology in its Member Countries. Foreign Minister of Nigeria and Minister for Science & Technology of Uganda, expressed interest in seeking assistance of COMSATS with regard to improving the state of science and technology education in schools in Africa, increasing capacity development efforts and forging closer cooperation with COMSATS’ Centres of Excellence.
Concluding the meeting, the Honourable Chairperson of COMSATS called for intensifying cooperative activities of COMSATS in priority areas to strengthen capacities in meeting UN Sustainable Development Goals. He invited highest level representation by COMSATS’ member states as well as other countries from the developing world to attend COMSATS’ General Meeting and Accra Forum on Science and Technology for Sustainable Development, scheduled to be held at Accra, Ghana on 14 and 15 April 2020.
Honourable President of Ghana and Chairperson of the Commission on Science and Technology for Sustainable Development in the South (COMSATS) considered the work of the organization important for application of science and technology for the development of Africa and invited more African countries to join COMSATS’ Commission.
The high-profile meeting presided over by one of the most prominent figures of Africa reflects the eminence that COMSATS has achieved in the developing countries, especially Africa. At present, 12 African countries are member of the Commission and the membership is highly likely to increase. As an international organization having representation from Asia, Africa and Latin America, COMSATS is well-positioned to take an active role in strengthening South-South Cooperation and fostering collaborations to facilitate countries in jointly addressing developmental challenges.