Honourable Professor Pierre Gomez, the Minister of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology of The Gambia, is attending the Forum for Research and Innovation (FARI 2022) in Abuja at the ECOWAS Commission. The FARI is a regional platform for exchange and discussion between scientists, technologists, innovators, policymakers, the private sector, technical and financial partners, students and the general public, to improve public understanding of the role of science, technology and innovation in socio-economic development.
Along the sidelines, Hon Gomez paid a courtesy visit to H.E. Dr Omar Alieu Touray, the President of the ECOWAS Commission. The Minister took time to present the current policy direction of his Ministry and the areas where ECOWAS support is needed. He stressed that all the policies, strategies and partnerships within his Ministry are aimed at addressing youth unemployment and building the critical mass of human resources for all sectors of the economy in The Gambia. Thus, great emphasis has been on decentralising skills development by establishing Regional TVET Centres and a specialised university of Applied Science, Engineering and Technology (USET), where home-grown engineers will be trained.
The Hon Minister later had bilateral meetings with Prof Fatou Sow Sarr (Commissioner, Human Development & Social Affairs, ECOWAS) and Professor Abdoulaye Maga (Head of Science Division). The Minister and team dwelled extensively on the MoHERST Strategic direction and the current projects and programmes being implemented. After a fruitful discussion, the Commission promised to work closely with the Minister on the following:
1. Training for researchers and lecturers on proposal and grant writing:
2. Training of Trainers (ToT) in the areas relating to TVET;
3. Establishment of regional TVET institutions: and,
4. Girls & women advancement in STEM in tertiary and higher education institutions.
The Hon Minister also paid on a courtesy call to the Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation of Nigeria, Professor Adeleke Olorunnimbe Mamora. The meeting centred on efforts to mobilise resources (human and physical) to support the current tertiary and higher education transformation.
More specifically, the provision of Technical Assistants, scholarships, and partnerships in TVET and STEM Education.
As part of the FARI, two Gambian start-ups are presenting their products which are also part of a competition that will see three (3) start-ups from the fifteen (15) member states. These Gambia Start-ups are MaiyaMuna and Linguere.