Policy Support Facility

Experts Convene in Mauritius for Regional Research and Innovation Strategy Development.

In a significant step towards fostering regional collaboration and innovation, a Mission of Experts was held in Mauritius from April 15 to 19, 2024, as part of the Policy Support Facility (PSF) service “Towards the development of a regional Research and Innovation strategy for the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC)”. This PSF service, requested by the IOC, aims to develop a comprehensive regional Research and Innovation Strategy (RRIS) tailored to the specific needs and challenges of the Indian Ocean region.

A collaborative endeavor for Innovation: The PSF service aims to leverage science and technology to address the unique issues of the Indian Ocean region and its member states. The strategy focuses on nurturing an innovation ecosystem, transforming the region into a hub of expertise, fostering business partnerships, and facilitating mobility between academia and industry. This ambitious service also aligns with broader goals such as the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa 2024 (STISA), and the Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want.

Knowledge Sharing and Stakeholder Engagement: The mission in Mauritius comprised two key components: a knowledge-sharing meeting and individual national stakeholder meetings. From April 15 to 17, 25 participants from Comoros, Seychelles, Mauritius, Réunion, and Madagascar, along with IOC representatives, gathered for the knowledge-sharing meeting. This aimed to exchange knowledge, share international best practices, and gather input for the RRIS.

Highlights from the Meeting

Throughout the three days, the spirit of collaboration and shared purpose was palpable. Participants were united by a common goal: to leverage collective knowledge and expertise to drive innovation and sustainable development in the Indian Ocean region. The insights and discussions from these meetings are expected to significantly inform the formulation of an inclusive RRIS, paving the way for a prosperous future.

National Stakeholder Meetings: On April 18 and 19, the experts engaged with around 20 key stakeholders in Mauritius, including representatives from the University of Technology Mauritius (UTM), the Mauritius Oceanography Institute (MOI), the Rajiv Gandhi Science Center (RGSC), the Polytechnic School of Mauritius, and Agri-Hub de Ferney. These meetings were pivotal for gathering insights and fostering collaboration with local institutions.

Moving Forward

Dr. Ibrahim Norbert Richard, the OACPS Assistant Secretary-General, emphasised the collaborative spirit of the initiative, stating, “Together, we have the opportunity to build a dynamic roadmap that reflects not only the collective aspirations of the region but also the unique challenges and specific priorities of each member country.”

Similarly, Prof. Vêlayoudom Marimoutou, Secretary-General of the IOC, highlighted the strategic importance of the initiative, noting, “The IOC aims to complement its operational arsenal with a R&I strategy, transforming the region into a pool of expertise on all island-related issues.

The mission’s outcomes are expected to lay a robust foundation for a dynamic and inclusive RRIS, driving the region towards sustainable development and innovation excellence. The strategy will serve as a crucial guide for national R&I agendas and contribute significantly to the SDGs.

As the initiative progresses, continued collaboration and input from regional stakeholders will be vital in shaping a prosperous and innovative future for the Indian Ocean region.