The governments of more than 40 African countries attending a meeting in Dakar, Senegal, recently (September 30) pledged their support for a $160 million plan to boost science and technology across the continent.

The plan includes 12 flagship programs, ranging from biodiversity studies to space science. The biggest items in the budget are $45 million each for the "safe development and application of biotechnology," and for securing and sustaining water. Other major amounts are earmarked for strengthening the African Laser Center ($20 million) and building a sustainable energy base ($15 million).

In terms of improving policy and innovation, the plan calls for $5 million to be spent on an African Science, Technology and Innovations Indicators Initiative; $450,000 for improving regional cooperation in science and technology; and $350,000 for building a common African strategy for biotechnology.

The plan was adopted by delegates at the 2nd African Ministerial Conference on Science and...

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