Unlocking the power of technology and innovation for development
26 April 2012
The State has a key role to play in creating environments that foster innovation and employ technology as a fundamental driver of economic growth, agreed participants of a special UNCTAD XIII event, organized in cooperation with the Qatar Foundation.
The first Innovation and Technology Day, taking place as part of UNCTAD XIII, brought together policymakers and industry experts to share their experiences on the transformative power of technology and innovation in the social and economic development of countries.
The event was opened by Secretary-General of UNCTAD, Dr. Supachai Panitchpakdi who described innovation and technology as fundamental drivers of economic growth and keys to resolving some of the major development challenges facing humanity today.
Dr. Tidu Maini, Science and Technology Adviser to H.H. Sheikha Moza bint Nasser and Executive Chairman of the Qatar Science and Technology Park, said that the Qatar Foundation had established the Park as a unique model to accelerate research and innovation, creating partnerships with industry to address the challenges that the country had been facing in this area.
Former President of Finland, Ms. Tarja Karina Halonen, reminded that social innovation remains just as important as technology innovation. She traced the long tradition of successful policies introduced in Finland over the last two decades.
The country made broadband access a fundamental human right in the early 1990s, investing heavily in the ICT sector and creating broad partnerships between the government, the private sector and universities.
The Innovation and Technology Day at UNCTAD XIII was a full-day event. Panelists at the sessions included:
- Mr. Soumitra Dutta, Professor INSEAD
- Mr. Hermes Chan, Co-Founder, president and CEO of Medmira
- Mr. Khalid Al-Mohannadi, Co-founder of Sago
- H.E. Tissa Vitarana, Minister of Scientific Affairs, Sri Lanka
- H.E. José Urquizo Maggia, Minister of Production, Peru
- Mr. Hessa Al Jaber, Secretary-General, ICTQatar
- Mr. Eric Hersman, Co-founder of Ushahidi
- H.E. Mongi Marzoug, Minister of Information and Communication Technologies, Tunisia
- Mr. David Mowery, Professor University California, Berkeley
- Moderator: David Foster, Al Jazeera