COMESA and Harvard Kennedy School to Launch Innovation Leadership Training Program

Contact: Doug Gavel
Phone: (617) 495-1115
Date: April 30, 2012

LUSAKA, ZAMBIA -- The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) have signed an agreement to cooperate on providing leadership training on innovation for economic development.

“The aim of the leadership training is to expand the capacity of COMESA to plan, design and implement activities in the field of science, technology and innovation,” said COMESA Secretary-General, Mr. Sindiso Ngwenya upon signing the agreement.

“The programme will help to bring to the region unique expertise on the role of innovation ecosystems in economic growth and global competitiveness,” said Calestous Juma, professor of the practice of international development and focus chair of the Innovation for Economic Development (IFED) executive programme at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS).

Under the agreement, HKS will train an initial cohort of 38 participants drawn from COMESA member countries.

“The executive program will focus on science parks and industrial clusters,” according to Ngwenya. “This will help the region to build the capacity needed to expand its participation in regional and international trade.”

The program will be held on June 25-26, 2012 in Lusaka, Zambia and will bring together participants from ministries responsible for science, technology, innovation and trade.

“The graduates of the program will join a global network of HKS/IFED alumni. Since its inception in 2002, HKS/IFED has over 500 alumni around the world, four of whom are cabinet ministers in Costa Rica, Jamaica, Malaysia and Tanzania,” Juma said.

According to Ngwenya, COMESA’s vision is to “be a fully integrated, internationally competitive regional economic community with high standards of living for all its people ready to merge into an African Economic Community.”

He added: “Our mission is to achieve sustainable economic and social progress among our 20 member states through increased co-operation and integration in trade, customs and monetary affairs, transport, communication and information, technology, industry and energy, gender, agriculture, environment and natural resources.”

Juma commended COMESA for “providing clear leadership in putting science, technology and innovation at the centre of its economic integration efforts.”

COMESA is Africa’s largest trading bloc with 19 member countries with a total GDP of US$441 billion.

Harvard Kennedy School maintains an abiding commitment to advancing the public interest by training skilled, enlightened leaders and solving public problems through world-class scholarship and active engagement with practitioners and decision makers. The school offers the depth, reflection, insight, and excellence of ideas and teaching that can shape future leaders, affect public policies, and make an impact on people and their daily lives.

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