26 May 2013
Your Excellency, the Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and Chairperson of the African Union;
YourExcellencies, Heads of State and Government;
Heads of Delegation;
The Secretary General of the United Nations;
YourExcellencies Former Presidents;
The Executive Secretary of the ECA;
Heads of AU and UN Organs;
Members of the Permanent Representatives Committee;
Fellow Citizens from the Motherland and in the Diaspora
Ladies and Gentlemen
On this historic and unprecedented moment of celebrating the 50th Anniversary of our Union, I am humbled to stand before you and inform you that among us, there are “special guests”, who are celebrating this anniversary by receiving the prestigious African Union Kwame Nkrumah Scientific Awards for the 2012 Edition.
You may recall that the Act establishing our union recognizes the need for Africa to embark on an ambitious strategic science and technology development programme, aimed at contributing to socio-economic development of the continent and the wellbeing of the African citizens. In 2006 in Khartoumand 2007 here in Addis Ababa, our Assembly agreed to allocate at least 1% of the GDP to scientific research with the aim to improve Africa's technological impact. Today, the Commission has generated tremendous momentum in deploying science as a tool for development in Africa. With the support of our development partners, the Commission launched a number of programmes including the African Union Kwame Nkrumah Scientific Awards, as a way to strengthen our science and technology capacities; to popularize science among our citizens; to empower those who are engaged in research; to celebrate their achievements and excellence; and to promote all efforts to transform scientific research into sustainable development of the continent.
Our special guests with us today, are some of Africa's top scientists, who are excelling in scientific research that is making a difference to the development of our continent. May I humbly request Your Excellencies, to join me to congratulate Prof. Michael John Wingfieldfrom South Africa and Prof. Nabil A. Ibrahim from Egypt, each will be awarded cheques for the amount of USD100,000. (Applause and Clapping)
Let me also seize this opportunity to thank our Development Partners, particularly the European Commission for their unwavering support not only for this programme but for many more programmes in the Commission. This is one of those flagship programmes that are remarkably contributing to our shared vision for promoting Africa's development and integration through science and technology. I would like to also launch, officially the 2013 Edition of this programme as a way to continue celebrating our 50th Anniversary.
With these few remarks, I would like to call upon Member States and the Regional Economic Communities and our developing partners to continue supporting our efforts to harness science and technology in the continent. We need those complimentary efforts to ensure that we take lead in recognizing and acknowledging the contribution of African Scientists to our social and economic development
I thank you.