By Emeka Chiaghanam
THE United Nations (UN) has opened Technology Bank in Turkey, to help poor nations leapfrog development challenges, by addressing the development needs of the world’s poorest countries through science, technology, and innovation (STI).
UN Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed, said at the inaugural event in Gebze town, near Istanbul: “Technology has to diffuse to all communities to enable them to leapfrog traditional development challenges”.
Turkey’s Science, Industry and Technology Minister Faruk Ozlu termed the launch of the technology bank as an important and historic milestone in terms of global efforts to strengthen capacities in science, technology and innovation of 47 least developed countries. “This project is one of the most beautiful manifestations of our country’s entrepreneurial and humanitarian foreign policy approach,” Ozlu said.
The idea of establishing a capacity building mechanism dedicated to the least developed countries (LDCs) came out of their Istanbul Conference in 2011 and was included in the world’s action plan to eliminate poverty when the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was adopted by UN Member States in 2015.
The launch of the Bank marked the first SDG target that had been achieved, among the 169 targets under the 2030 Agenda.
In 2016, the UN General Assembly approved the creation of the Technology Bank, which was listed among targets under Sustainable Development Goal 17 on partnership.
Fekitamoeloa Utoikamanu, UN under Secretary-General and High Representative for the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, said the Bank would promote economic growth and address technology gaps
“The creation of the Technology Bank responds to the proposition that science, technology and innovation are essential elements to transform the economies of the LDCs, promote economic growth and enable countries to address their technology gaps and support their economic diversification and productive capacity building strategies,” Utoikamanu said.
The Acting Managing Director, Heidi Schroderus-Fox, said the bank was already starting its work in 16 LDCs, with STI reviews and technology needs assessments under way in Guinea, Haiti, Sudan, Timor Leste and Uganda.
Also, projects to improve digital access to research are starting in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burkina Faso, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Nepal, Rwanda, Senegal, Uganda, and Tanzania, she said.