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Mauritius: Science, Technology and Innovation Cannot Be Dissociated From Sustainable Development, Says President Gurib-Fakim

President of the Republic of Mauritius, Ameenah Gurib-Fakim
President of the Republic of Mauritius, Ameenah Gurib-Fakim

Science, Technology, Innovation and Research cannot, in whatsoever manner, be dissociated from the concepts of green economies, green societies and sustainable development, said the President of the Republic, Dr Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, this morning at Le Sirius, Labourdonnais Waterfront Hotel, in Port Louis.

The President was delivering a keynote address on the theme ‘Transitioning from green economies to greener societies through Science’ at the launching ceremony of a two-day seminar on Horizon 2020 and Erasmus+.

Horizon 2020 is the European Union’s (EU) biggest Research and Innovation programme ever with nearly €80 billion (3 200 billion Mauritian rupees) of funding available over 7 years (2014 to 2020). Erasmus+ is the European Union’s programme for 2014 to 2020 to support projects, partnerships, events and mobility in the areas of education, training youth and sport.

Organised by the EU, the seminar has as objective to present opportunities available to Mauritian stakeholders research, innovation and higher education for collaboration with their counterparts in Europe, specifically in the key areas of interest for Mauritius.

In her address at the seminar, the President of the Republic observed that in our quest to make life better and greener and more sustainable for people, even in the poorest countries, scientists should be able to build on all the knowledge the human race has ever gained. Green societies are fundamentally knowledge societies in which Science and Technology play a crucial role in helping create green jobs as well as boosting social development, she said.

“When we talk about transitioning to green societies, it is also timely to recognise that we have not given sufficient importance to traditional knowledge to the same extent that other countries such as India and China have done. Our region has enough biodiversity to respond to the call of industry for innovative ingredients. It is time for African scientists to play a central role in using African knowledge to solve African problems using African resources, and one such resource is also African traditional information”, added the President.

For her part, the Head of the delegation of the European Union, Ms Marjaana Sall, observed that research and innovation are recognised as key building blocks of competitive and dynamic economies. Countries which have invested in this sector tend to witness higher productivity rates, leading to increased economic growth and more robust job creation, the main pathways through which the poor can escape poverty, and this is why the EU has invested significantly in this area, she recalled.

According to Ms Sall, the EU growth strategy for the coming decade sets the objectives for a smart, sustainable and inclusive economy. In addition, there is an increasing number of complex global challenges such as climate change, resource scarcity, or infectious diseases. To address these issues, we need to invest in research and innovation, and the EU and Mauritius are determined to work together to address these global challenges, she added.

Horizon 2020 and Erasmus+

Mauritius is currently benefiting from two projects under Horizon 2020, which is the financial instrument implementing the Innovation Union, a Europe 2020 flagship initiative aimed at securing Europe’s global competitiveness.

2017 marks 30 years of Erasmus+. The original Erasmus programme began in 1987 as an exchange programme giving higher education students a taste of life and learning abroad. Erasmus+ funds thousands of opportunities a year, for students, staff, teachers, apprentices and young people, from sectors across education, training, youth and sport.

Under Erasmus+, 17 Mauritians will travel to Europe and 13 Europeans will come to study or teach in Mauritius as a result of the first projects selected in 2016. Earlier, 14 Mauritians have benefitted from Erasmus Mundus.

Source: allafrica.com

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