On December 12, 2021, the 2021 China-Africa Innovation Cooperation Conference, co-hosted by the Ministry of Science and Technology and the People‘s Government of Hubei Province, opened in Wuhan. Minister of Science and Technology Wang Zhigang delivered a keynote speech at the opening ceremony, and Secretary of CPC Hubei Provincial Committee Ying Yong addressed the conference.
Wang Zhigang pointed out that President Xi Jinping proposed‘eight major initiatives’and‘nine projects’for cooperation with Africa at the opening ceremony of the Beijing Summit and the 8th Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), and put forward a series of science and technology cooperation initiatives, including establishing China-Africa Innovation Cooperation Center to promote cooperation on youth innovation and entrepreneurship, and supporting the construction of joint labs, partner institutes, and science, technology and innovation (STI) cooperation bases. This has provided important guidance for deepening China-Africa STI cooperation.
Wang Zhigang said that China-Africa STI cooperation is an important part and key priority of China’s efforts to promote open cooperation on science and technology. The Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology has actively implemented the Belt and Road Science, Technology and Innovation Action Plan, pushed forward the China-Africa Science and Technology Partnership Program, and shared the latest scientific and technological achievements and experience of innovation development with African countries. The two sides have witnessed booming people-to-people exchanges on science and technology, secured pragmatic results in the joint research in key areas, and achieved positive progress in technology transfer and innovation and entrepreneurship cooperation. He expressed hope that Chinese approaches and wisdom could offer more solutions and ideas for African countries to harness science and technology to develop their economy, improve people’s livelihood, improve social governance and environmental protection.
Wang Zhigang stressed that in recent years, the Chinese government gives high priority to science and technology, and put innovation at the center of the country’s development. China has vigorously pursued the innovation-driven development strategy, and been committed to promoting open innovation and global STI cooperation. China supports Chinese and foreign innovators in working together on basic research, biodiversity conservation, climate change, food security and health to address the challenges of sustainable development. The Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology will follow up on the science and technology outcomes of the FOCAC Beijing Summit and 8th Ministerial Conference, and contribute more scientific and technological strength to building a closer China-Africa community with a shared future in the new era for the benefit of the Chinese and African people. He put forward four initiatives for deepening China-Africa STI cooperation, including strengthening top-level design and building consensus on innovation cooperation, developing cooperation highlights and expanding China-Africa circle of friends in science and technology, consolidating the foundation of cooperation and expanding the space for innovation cooperation, focusing on technology transfer and commercialization to promote the implementation of innovation outcomes.
Khaled Abdel Ghaffar, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research of Egypt, Blade Nzimande, Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation of South Africa, Simon Nabukwasi, Deputy Minister of Education of Kenya, Baudelaire Ndong Ella, Ambassador of Gabon to China, and Liao Liqiang, Ambassador of China to Egypt, attended and addressed the conference, and offered suggestions and insights on deepening China-Africa innovation cooperation.
The opening ceremony also saw the launch of the website of China-Africa Innovation Cooperation Center. With the theme of“Embracing a brighter future through innovation cooperation”, the conference was held both online and offline. A series of parallel events, including China-Africa Innovation Cooperation Forum, Exhibition on China-Africa Innovation Cooperation Achievements, a visit to Hubei on science, technology and innovation by African Diplomats based in China, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Salon for African Young Talents, China-Africa Carbon Neutrality & Carbon Peaking Technology Seminar.