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  • Kenya: African states, not donors, must fund science


[NAIROBI] Kenya hopes that any science declarations made at this month's African Union (AU) summit will be funded through local sources.

Science and Technology Minister Noah Wekesa said that Kenya will present a strong case for the need to fund science without asking for help from international donors.

Kenya takes over the presidency of the African Ministerial Council of Science and Technology from Senegal during the summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

According to Wekesa, one of the major goals of Kenya's two-year tenure will be to push harder for each of the AU's 53 nations to commit one per cent of their total economic output, public and private, to science and technology.

"This summit is more than a talk show," he told SciDev.Net. "We have countries like South Africa and Nigeria that have allocated more funds to the science cause in their countries. What we want to see in Addis Ababa is more countries showing how they want to achieve this," he said.

Wekesa added that Kenya was on the verge of meeting the one per cent target and hoped the country will meet the goal in the next financial year.

He confirmed that Kenya's delegation to the summit would include president Mwai Kibaki and several members of cabinet.

Influential senior policymakers, such as the science ministry's permanent secretary Crispus Kiamba and George King'oriah, executive secretary of the National Council of Science and Technology, will be attending, along with representatives from five Kenyan research institutes. He could not, however, confirm the attendance of finance minister Amos Kimunya, a possible weakness in debates about funding.

East Africa is sending a particularly strong delegation to the summit, which will focus on science and technology — particularly for development — and climate change.

Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni will be attending, along with Peter Ndemere, the secretary to the council of science and technology, which falls under the ministry of finance and planning, and representation from national research institutes in health, agriculture and research.

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