28 Jun 2017 17:50pm
WINDHOEK, 28 JUN (NAMPA) The Southern Africa Innovation Support (SAIS) programme, in collaboration with the National Commission on Research Science and Technology (NCRST), launched the Youth and Innovative Entrepreneurship programme here Wednesday.
SAIS is funded by the Finnish government.
Finnish Ambassador to Namibia, Anne Saloranta said during the launch that the southern African region is hampered by modest funding, weak skills and a lack of coordination and linkages in building public policies and innovation systems.
The second phase of the SAIS programme, which runs from 2016 to 2020, is aimed at building these achievements as well as put special focus on youth and innovative entrepreneurship.
The first phase (2011-2015) of the SAIS programme has keenly supported innovation in its four years of existence, Saloranta said.
These innovations, she added, play a crucial role in empowering people to lift them up from poverty and equip them to fully participating citizens in their own countries.
The ambassador added that the SAIS programme and its priorities are in line with Namibias development plans, corresponding well with the recently launched Fifth National Development Plan (NDP5), and in particular its focus areas of economic progression and social transformation.
The programme will be held simultaneously in five countries, namely Namibia, Botswana, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia.
A four-year Memorandum of Understanding was signed by the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the five participating countries.
The programme will focus on concrete innovation activities which will be delivered on a programmatic basis, with activities adapted to the specifics of different target audiences.
A challenge fund will also be set up to facilitate the funding of new projects, with regional partnership and regional impact as essential criteria for any project supported.
Both Saloranta and NCRST General Manager of Innovation and Technology Development, Vincent Nowaseb praised the first phase of the programme, noting that it was a great success.
An operational network of key institutions was established between the participating countries and we hope for further achievements from the new participating members, Nowaseb said.