Experts urge East African Journalists to make science a priority for development
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, September 20, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Over 30 reporters and editors from East Africa have gathered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, for a two-day workshop to discuss ways of better reporting science, technology and innovation for development and promote networking as a platform for information and knowledge sharing.
Under the theme “Making Science and Technology Information More Accessible for Africa’s Development”, the training workshop is organized the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), the African Union Commission, in collaboration with the Ministry of Science and Technology and the Ethiopian Association of Science Journalists.
Speaking at the opening session of the training workshop on behalf of Ms. Aida Opoku-Mensah, Director of the ICT, Science and Technology Division of ECA, Mr. Thierry Amoussougbo regional advisor for ECA noted that the main impediments for the uptake of science, technology and innovation on the continent is communicating scientific and technological research and outputs and that science reporting is not a daily routine in most media houses worldwide.
“For the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), media represents a value-added constituency for information dissemination and awareness creation on the role of ICT, Science, Technology and Innovation in Africa’s socio-economic transformation”, Mr. Amoussougbo added.
He urged journalists to make urban, rural communities and policy makers excited about science, technology and innovation and the role it has in society in improving lives of people, economic growth and prosperity.
Also speaking at the opening ceremony, Mr. Mahamouda Ahmed Gaas, State Minister of Science and Technology of Ethiopia said that international experience shows that fast growth was enabled through growing the science and technology base of countries.
“In the last few decades’ South East Asian countries achieved successful economic and social development mainly due to their having both an export-oriented market economy and also an accumulation of technological capabilities,” he explained.
He pointed to the centrality of Science, Technology and Information in the development goals of Ethiopia and concluded by assuring participants of the country’s support in implementing the workshop recommendations.
Speaking on behalf of Mr. Edouard Firmin Matoko, Director of UNESCO liaison office to AUC and ECA and Representative of UNESCO in Ethiopia, Mr. Jean-Pierre Ilboudo, Regional Adviser for communication and information reiterated the critical role the media has to play in facilitating the public understanding of science and technology in which process journalists typically assume the position of intermediaries between the scientists and members of the public.
The 2-day workshop is the second of a series of five training workshops which are set to be organised in different regions of Africa. Each of these workshops address media professionals’ capacity building needs on reporting on science, technology and innovation for development.
The first day of the workshop provided exchange on new and emerging science communication methods and approaches, helped reporters and writers produce accurate and informative stories about developments in science, technology, medicine and the environment and as well identified challenges to science communication and more effective science reporting for further planning.
The workshop brought together selected science journalists, resource persons with materials and topical stories, and ideas on selected development issues such as climate change and biodiversity, and how it is related to policy decisions at community, national or regional levels.
Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)