The Director General of WAI participates in the National Consultation on Scientific Research in Mali, Bamako, May 16-19, 2016

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Assises Nationales Mali 1The official opening ceremony of the National Consultation on Scientific Research of Mali was chaired by the Prime Minister, Head of Government, HE Modibo Kéïta, in attendance of the Minister of Scientific Research, Prof. Assétou Founè Samaké, the Representative of the Technical and Financial Partners (TFP), Mrs. Beatrice Meyer and the members of the Government. Participants included 400 Malian lecturers and researchers working in national higher education and research institutions, as well as Malians coming from Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Cabo Verde, France, United Kingdom, Poland, the Russian Federation and Australia. The event took place at the International Conference Center of Bamako, May 16 to 19, 2016.

Audience 2The central theme of the consultation, organized for the very first time in Mali, was entitled: «Scientific research and innovation at the heart of the Republican project» and aimed i) to consider, amend and validate the draft National Policy for Science, Technology and Innovation and its implementation plan, ii) to define the road map for the adoption process and identify the ways of implementing the policy and iii) to define the evaluation and monitoring mechanisms. 

In his opening speech, Prime Minister Kéïta stated that science, technology and innovation are closely linked to socio-economic development. He stressed that scientific research allows to free the creative energy and to distance ourselves from superstition, occultism and preconceptions. Prime Minister also paid tribute to Malian researchers, men and women who, in total anonymity and often in extreme hardship are tirelessly working to improving the human condition by reducing poverty, preventing and finding remedies disease and saving the environment. 

Audiences 3In her keynote address, the Minister of Scientific Research welcomed the creation in January 15, 2016 of the Department of Scientific and underlined that this decision demonstrates the strong political will of the Head of State of Mali, His ExcellencyIbrahim Boubacar Kéïta,to make the sector a key element for development. 

The Minister then announced that Mali shows significant results in biomedical, pharmaceutical and agricultural research: in fact, she said that the country currently owns 80 public research bodies in which 1990 lecturers and researchers are working. To these encouraging results, she argued that the Tokten Program brings a huge contribution to the training of PhD students. According to the Minister, the achievements can be consolidated in bringing together researchers, engineers and artisans in order to promote creation and innovation at the national level and to strengthen collaboration between public research and private sector. 

The TFP Representative assumed that a relevant consultation mechanism, involving researchers, economic stakeholders and civil society organizations would allow the government to better focus research programs on the priority areas regarding the development of the country. 

The discussion process was organized like follows:

  • Electronic consultation allowing more researchers to interconnect;
  • The workshops on the document review of the policy and its implementation plan;
  • Parallel scientific debates as symposia and round table: - Symposium 1: The role of the researcher in scientific Diplomacy. - Symposium 2: National Languages ​​and science in education. - Round Table: Science and cooperation.  

Backstage afterward 1After work, each thematic committee formulated the recommendations that have been validated in plenary.

The first commission «Institutions and instruments of governance, planning and policy management» recommended, among others, the creation of an Academy of Sciences and a General Direction for Scientific Research and Technological Innovation; the establishment of Regulation in the Scientific Research Act and the integration of informal research in national research policies.

The second commission «Orientation and organization of national research systems, innovation and utilization of research findings, information and documentation in science and technology» made five recommendations, including the elaboration of a communication plan; the training of all research and innovation stakeholders and the judicious use of patents and intellectual property assets; the implementation of a program evaluation and research teams mechanism. 

Table ronde 1The third committee «Priorities and sector programs - funding resources mechanisms» recommended the finalization and the signing of regulations on competitive funds dedicated to innovation and technology; the creation of a foundation to diversify the funding system and make it available in an easy way; the involvement of the population and specially local communities in the process of fund raising for Development and Research, and the support to training in research methodology. 

During the National Consultation, the representatives of the Diaspora were received in audience by Prime Minister Modibo Kéïta, carried out working sessions with the Minister of Scientific Research, surrounded by her closest collaborators. Finally, they participated in symposiums and the ORTM debate on the meaning and scope of science, technology and innovation. 

Assises Nationales Mali 11The Malian researchers and promoters coming from abroad were responding to the personal invitation of the Minister of Scientific Research and unanimously extended to her their warm congratulations with regard to the results obtained during the National Consultation based on her clearly articulated vision. They also reiterated their full availability to bring their contribution to the development of science, technology and innovation in Mali.