News 2016

The Director General of WAI participates in the National Consultation on Scientific Research in Mali, Bamako, May 16-19, 2016

Assises Nationales Mali 1The official opening ceremony of the National Consultation on Scientific Research of Mali was chaired by the Prime Minister, Head of Government, HE Modibo Kéïta, in attendance of the Minister of Scientific Research, Prof. Assétou Founè Samaké, the Representative of the Technical and Financial Partners (TFP), Mrs. Beatrice Meyer and the members of the Government. Participants included 400 Malian lecturers and researchers working in national higher education and research institutions, as well as Malians coming from Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Cabo Verde, France, United Kingdom, Poland, the Russian Federation and Australia. The event took place at the International Conference Center of Bamako, May 16 to 19, 2016.

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WAI Director General addresses the Importance of Research Centers at the official Opening of the Centre of Law, Economic and Social Studies (CEJES) of the Higher Institute of Juridical and Social Sciences (ISCJS) Praia

CEJES LogoChaired by the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, (MESCI) Dr. António Correia e Silva, the opening ceremony of the Centre for Judicial Studies, Economic and Social (CEJES, http://www.cejes-uan.org/) of the Higher Institute of Juridical and Social Sciences (ISCJS, www.iscjs.edu.cv/) Praia, Cabo Verde, was marked by several interventions.

First, in his speech, the Minister warmly congratulated the President of the ISCJS, Prof. Yara Miranda, the Coordinator of CEJES, Prof. Gilson Pina, and all their colleagues for the excellent initiative. He particularly emphasized the immense hope raised by the new academic institution and the expectations of the Cab Verdean Government in terms of research findings and scientific publications for the socio-economic growth of the country.

Two conferences were then presented on the selected theme, namely: «The Importance of Research Centers».

PIC ISCJCThe speakers were Prof. Dr. Francisco Veiga of the University of Minho (Portugal) and Prof. Dr. Djénéba Traoré, Director General of the West Africa Institute (WAI). The conference was moderated by Prof. Odair Barros Varela, Post-doc Fellow at the Faculty of Law and Political Science and the Interdisciplinary Center for International Development and Society (CIRDIS) at the Université du Québec à Montreal, Canada.

After saying her entire satisfaction with the excellent cooperation between the Higher Institute of Juridical and Social Sciences (ISCJS) and WAI and a brief presentation of the latter., the Director General mentioned in her introduction, that talking about the importance of research centers means to address the crucial question of the relevance of research and researchers works. However, an assumption must be made beforehand: research comes from the people and popular knowledge. In fact, she insisted that since the beginning of humanity, men and women were the ones who observed their environment, made discoveries and inventions mainly developed for the purpose of improving the living and working conditions of communities dealing with very hostile environments. Thus, these discoveries and inventions gave rise after a long and complicated process to the formation of communities of scholars who have over the time evolved the concepts and knowledge on research areas by making them become more increasingly sophisticated. Thus humanity has gone from the concept of universal scholar that prevailed until the 19th century to the current specialists in a given discipline.

In Prof. Dr. Traore’s view, any nation that seeks towards sustainable socio-economic development must look for popular local knowledge and the aspirations of the people. For her, research should serve the well-being of the most disadvantaged and vulnerable part of the humanity. In addition, she assumed, that it is important to emphasize that knowledge is not confined to one unique nation, because it is undeniable that all the peoples of the world have contributed to the social, technological and cultural progress of humanity.

Prof. Dr. Traoré alleged that even if it's in the 17th and 18th centuries that knew academies, which are the first real manifestation of the institutionalization of research (hitherto organized to suit patrons), it is however until the 19th century to witness the professionalism of research with the appearance of the first researchers. The World War II (1939-45) is the trigger for the integration of research in the economic development strategy and defense of modern States.

What is a research center?

In this first chapter, Prof. Dr. Traoré described a center or a research institute as an administrative institution dedicated to one or more research areas and explained that research generally intends to:

  • Conduct scientific research on its own initiative or another public or private institution;
  • Publish journals and scientific article;
  • Organize dialogue sessions;
  • Capitalize knowledge and disseminate knowledge through seminars, training programs, seminars and / or other scientific meetings, studies and reports via the conventional media and the social networks;
  • Establish partnerships with institutions that can provide added value to its field of research.

In addition, a research center should have a strategic plan and ideally a communication plan.

It should also produce an annual report and regularly undergo internal and external evaluations.

What do we understand by scientific research?

For WAI Director General, there are several ways to define scientific research. To sum up, it can be said that it is the acquisition of knowledge in a particular embodiment consisting in the observation of one or several particular phenomena, the formulation of a working hypothesis by the researcher, the conceptualization and development of methodological tools for data collection analysis (preferably in the field with a sample of the target groups or via physical evidence) better understand and / or explain the phenomenon in order to evolve the knowledge in a particular domain.

According to the speaker, a research team should preferably be multidisciplinary, adopt a scientific approach and consider the ethical and effective ethics to conduct credible and internationally recognized research findings.

One of the key documents for performing scientific research is the research protocol that can be formulated as follows:

  • Conceptualization of the research problem: problem / diagnosis, state of knowledge and framework, objectives, assumptions or research questions;
  • Operational Planning methodological research: sampling strategy, methodology and data collection plan, instrumentation, data analysis plan;
  • Presentation of an estimated budget covering all expenses;
  • Full timing of scheduled activities.

Importance of Research Centers

In this third chapter, Prof. Dr. Traoré highlighted the importance of research centers for:

  • Promotion and dissemination of scientific knowledge;
  • Animation of a platform for dialogue, meetings and exchanges;
  • Formation of a new generation of experienced researchers.

Furthermore, she stressed, centers represent through their ability to follow a structured, rational and rigorous approach, the most secure and appropriate way to conduct reflections in order to enable effective policy making at all levels.

The speaker underlined that the research centers serve sustainable development, and in an increasingly way, social sciences are integrated into research in the field of medicine, technology economy among others.

In addition, research centers give warning, anticipate or prevent, explain and solve problems caused by phenomena more or less known.

In conclusion, WAI Director General emphasized the fact that we have been witnessing since the 1980s to the deinstitutionalization of research and the gradual withdrawal of the State in the funding of research. Although research funding by the private sector is necessary, public funding of research centers being vital to their existence. It is therefore imperative for the speaker that politics and researchers collaborate to jointly contribute to the resolution of the crucial problems our societies are facing nowadays.

Questions and comments from the audience gave the opportunity to fruitful exchanges.

 

WAI welcomes Eike Felix Hägerbäumer, Master Student at the University of Bonn, Germany

Eike HaegerbaemerrThe West Africa Institute welcomes Mr. Eike Felix Haegerbaeumer, currently student of Political Science at the University of Bonn for a two-month internship. Beforehand Mr. Haegerbaeumer obtained a Bachelor's degree at the University of Duisburg-Essen and spent an academic year at the Institut d’études politiques de Lille (Sciences Po Lille). His scientific activities focus on questions related to economic and monetary policy and regional trade in Sub-Saharan Africa.

At WAI, Mr. Haegerbaeumer will be particularly involved in the organization of the next study group meeting of the WAI-ZEI project on "Sustainable Regional Integration in West Africa and Europe" to be held on 18 and 19 April 2016 in Praia. He will also support day-to-day activities at WAI in general and present the results of his recent scientific papers during dialog sessions.

During his two-months-stay at WAI, Mr. Haegerbaeumer hopes to gain deeper knowledge in the field of Political Economy of Regional Integration and Regionalism in West Africa and to strengthen the scientific cooperation between Europe and West Africa.

WAI participates in the preparatory and consultative meeting of the Regional Networks of Civil Society Organizations

Photo de Groupe REPAOC 1In order to promote the sustainability of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in West Africa, the NGO platforms Network of West and Central Africa (REPAOC) organized a regional consultative forum on strengthening the dialogue between the regional networks in West Africa, from 25th to 28th January 2016 in Praia, the capital of the Republic of Cabo Verde. At the invitation of the President of REPAOC, Dr. Dionísio Simões Pereira, the West Africa Institute (WAI) took part in this major event and moderated the fruitful exchange between key regional network of Civil Society organizations (CSO) in the sub-region that was held on the 28th January at the Hotel Santiago Praia.

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WAI participates in the Country-level Stakeholders Consultations of WASCAL in Cabo Verde

WASCAL OpeningOn the invitation of the Cab Verdean Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation (MESCI), Dr. António Leao de Aguiar Correia e Silva, the West Africa Institute (WAI) has participated in the Country-level Stakeholders Consultations of West African Science Service Center on Climate Change and Land Use (WASCAL), organized in the building of the National Institute for Research and Agricultural Developpment (Instituto Nacional de Investigação e Desenvolvimento Agrário, INIDA). This national Consultation constitutes a brainstorming for the setting of a research program related to the strategies and needs of Republic of Cabo Verde in terms of climate changes and adapted Land Use in the framework of the project WASCAL 2017-2020.

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