31 October 2015
In the past the African Union has a series of sectoral Ministerial Conferences including the Conference of Ministers of Education of the African Union (COMEDAF) and the African Ministerial Conference on Science and Technology (AMCOST). Further to the AU Summit Decision EX. CL/Dec.420 (XIII) all sectoral Ministerial Conferences have been reconfigured into Specialised Technical Commitees. As a result the Education, Science and Technology sector will now convene as the Specialized Technical Committee on Education, Science and Technology (STC-EST).
The first Ordinary Session of the Specialized Technical Committee on Education, Science and Technology (STC-EST) focused on Linking Education to Research and Innovation took place in Addis Ababa from 27 - 30 October 2015.
An important focus of the STC-EST is to consider the strategies and policies in Education, Science and Technology and make recommendations on how African countries will contribute to and benefit from the AU Agenda 2063. Recent strategies include Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa (STISA-2024), Education Strategy for Africa (2016-2025), and new Continental Strategy for TVET to foster Youth Employment.
The main focus of this meeting was to elect a Ministerial Bureau for 2016 - 2018, consider strategies, agree mechanisms for greater complementarity between Education, Science and Technology, mobilisation of resources for sustainability and ownership of sectorial programmes and agree on actions for decision during the next Summit of Heads of State.
The meeting brought together senior education, science and technology officials, Ministers and development partners as observers. The Ministers in charge of Education, Science and Technology from Member States elected the Bureau of STC-EST 1: Egypt (Chair), Nigeria (1st Vice Chair), South Sudan (2nd Vice Chair), Cameroon (3rd Vice Chair) and Botswana as Rapporteur.
STI-related issues discussed during the experts meeting and approved by the Ministers included the establishment of the "Committee of Ten (heads of states) promoting Education, Science, Technology and Innovation", the updated African Space Policy and Space Strategy, progress reports on the Pan African University and the African Observatory for Science, Technology and Innovation (AOSTI). Reference was made to EU-African collaboration in STI, notably the Roadmap for research on Food and Nutrition Security and Sustainable Agriculture (FNSSA) and to the African Union Research Grants supported by the EU. (Source: S Hogan, Europe-Africa Research and Innovation News, October 2015).