The African Ministerial Council on Science and Technology (AMCOST) held its Extraordinary Conference in Cairo, Egypt from 20-24 November 2006. Organized by the African Union (AU) Commission and hosted by the Government of Egypt, the conference opened with an experts meeting from 20-22 November, followed by a ministerial meeting from 23-24 November. It was attended by representatives from 26 AU member states and agencies, international and continental government and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and the Diaspora.
Delegates considered a range of proposals and reports on African science and technology matters. These included: a proposal to establish an African Presidents’ Committee for Science and Technology; the draft report of the High-level Panel on Modern Biotechnology; the African Strategy on Biosafety; a proposal for the African Strategy for Technology Transfer and Acquisition of Domestic Technological Capabilities; the report of the conferences of the Diaspora and of African NGOs on the popularization of science and technology; a proposal for the formation of the Pan-African Intellectual Property Organization; the report of the first AU Congress of Scientists and Policy Makers; options for the African Science and Innovation Facility; and criteria and guidelines for establishing African networks of centers of excellence in science and technology.
Delegates worked through these agenda items with a view to preparing inputs for the January 2007 AU Summit of Heads of State and Government (2007 Summit), to be held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, which has as its primary theme “Science, Technology and Research for Africa’s Development.” At the close of the meeting on Friday, ministers had agreed to a meeting report summarizing their discussions on each agenda item, and had adopted the Cairo Declaration, containing ministerial commitments on future work in relation to science and technology (S&T) and recommendations for consideration at the 2007 Summit.
In conjunction with the Extraordinary AMCOST Conference, an Inter-Ministerial Dialogue on Building an African Network of Centers of Excellence in Water Sciences and Technology was held jointly by the Bureaus of AMCOST and the African Ministerial Council on Water (AMCOW) on 22 November. The dialogue was attended by ministers from Lesotho, Senegal, South Africa and Zimbabwe, senior representatives from Algeria, Egypt, South Africa and Ethiopia, and representatives from the Office of Science and Technology of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and the AU Commission. Throughout the day, delegates considered issues related to criteria and guidelines, financial mechanisms and governance for the network of centers of excellence, before adopting an inter-ministerial declaration, which approves the establishment of the network and its guidelines as a “living document,” and requests the AMCOW Secretariat and the NEPAD Office of Science and Technology to work further on governance and financing. More information.