Africa Week focuses on research and innovation

To mark the annual commemoration of Africa Month, the HSRC in collaboration with a range of partners lined-up thought leadership platforms for Africa Week from 21 to 25 May 2017. The Africa Week activities included the African Unity for Renaissance (AUR) International Conference, a PhD Colloquium and an Africa Day Expo.

The AUR Conference at Freedom Park in Pretoria brought together more than 100 established African researchers and scholars to deliberate on emerging theories and practice in the fields of sustainable development, science and technology, green economy and renewable energy, economics, environment and systems science.  The scholars deliberated on Africa’s approach to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals under the theme: Placing Africa firmly in the realm of Sustainable Development Goals. Discussions revolved around how knowledge derived from research output can drive social innovation, novel products, processes and methods. Herein will lie durable solutions to some of Africa’s most persistent challenges.

Since its inception seven years ago, this conference has been an important annual gathering of African scholars who use the opportunity to explore and propose ideas aimed at finding solutions for Africa’s developmental challenges.

With a view to bringing young minds into the conversation to enable their contribution to the solutions we must develop and implement, the PhD colloquium saw the participation of 65 PhD students and post-doctoral researchers. This event served as a capacity building and skills transfer opportunity where PhD students receive feedback on their research from their peers, senior scholars and other experts. The young scholars identify and learn how their research can achieve practical impact in the sustainable development space and they learn to interact and form networks with peers, senior scholars and other experts with various perspectives and from different institutions and countries.

The Africa Day Expo was held at Kara Heritage Institute. The day included a learner’s educational session and presented ordinary members of the African community with the networking opportunity with various African embassies, influential government departments as well as African artists and cultural groups. Africa Day is celebrated annually on 25 May to mark the commemoration of the 1963 founding of the Organisation of African Unity, represented since 2002 by the African Union.