French Government Support African Scientists

Public Agenda (Accra)
September 27, 2004
Seth Manteaw

The French Government, through its Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has
made available three million euros to support African countries to
build their capacities in the exchange, production and dissemination
of scientific and technological information.

As part of this support, 12 African countries including Ghana, are to
benefit from several training sessions to be conducted under a
project dubbed “Building a Scientific and Technological Information
System to Promote Research in Africa” called SIST for short.

The Project Coordinator of SIST, Augustine Gaschignard, announced
this at the beginning of a three-day Sensitisation Training Workshop
organized by the CSIR’s Institute for Scientific and Technological
Information (INSTI) and sponsored by the General Directorate for
International Co-operation of the French Government through its
Embassy in Accra.

The workshop, which brought together 16 research scientists from
Ghana, Nigeria and Cameroon was aimed at sensitizing African research
scientists on the use of information systems and creating awareness
about existing initiatives that they could take advantage of to
improve upon their research work.

Mr. Gaschignard said SIST has been designed to promote science and
technology in developing countries by helping African researchers to
develop their own analytical capabilities in key research areas such
as health, agronomy, information and communication technologies and
the social sciences.

Additionally, he said SIST had the aim of facilitating sustainable
development by supporting regional research, along the priorities
defined by participating countries. “The SIST project would develop
electronic networking and scientific exchanges between African
research teams and contribute to the integration of African research
into the international community,” he added.

In an address to welcome the participants, the Director of INSTI, Mr.
Clement Entsua-Mensah stressed the desire of his Institute to support
continuous education, especially in the area of scientific and
technical information provision and services. He said over the years,
INSTI had collaborated with international organizations to strengthen
and expand the use of electronic communication technologies to
support information processing and dissemination activities.

He expressed appreciation to the French Government for selecting
INSTI to host the national focal point for the SIST Project adding
that “it fits squarely into our core business and we wish to ensure
everyone that we will work hard to make the project succeed.”

He hinted that INSTI had, for the past three years, been
collaborating with the Government of the Republic of France through
the French Embassy, which had provided financial support for the
publication of the Journal of Agricultural Science and the Ghana
Journal of Science, two publications of the CSIR, through which
findings of research scientists are disseminated.

Of the 12 counties participating in the SIST project, Ghana and
Nigeria are the only English-speaking West African countries. Other
African countries include Algeria, Benin, Burkina-Faso, Burundi,
Ivory Coast, Madagasar, Mali, Senegal, and Tunisia.

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