The Directorate of Science Technology and Innovations (DSTI) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to continue collaboration on applied artificial intelligence for governance, entrepreneurship, and social good.
The MoU signed in Freetown last week provides a framework of cooperation and collaboration for both institutions to contribute to the successful implementation of the National Innovation and Digital Strategy (NIDS), especially in areas of common interest.
In October 2019, the UNDP Country Lab also known as the Accelerator Lab for Sierra Leone was launched to examine and explore emerging untapped resources to speedup national SDG performance. The UNDP Accelerator Labs are a network of 60 labs serving 78 countries with the collective aim of finding new evidence-based approaches to problem-solving with the use of artificial intelligence, testing, mapping, and experimentation.
“DSTI and UNDP have been engaging since Day 1. However, this particular agreement focuses on how we can continue to make significant inroads in the implementation of the National Innovation and Digital Strategy,” said Dr. Moinina David Sengeh.
“When the government and partners collaborate, we can identify specific areas of application to accelerate Sierra Leone’s achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. The leadership of both institutions and the technical staff are already working in this vein.”
Although the MOU makes the collaboration official, joint efforts by DSTI and UNDP were already underway as of last year that led to the delivery of a successful national UNDP Social Good Summit, and mapping of the local technology and entrepreneurship ecosystems.
“This MOU signing symbolizes UNDP’s commitment to the philosophy of the National Innovation and Digital Strategy and is a tangible evidence of our organization’s readiness to undertake the 10-year journey in partnership with the Directorate of Science, Technology and Innovation to accelerate the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030,” said Dr. Samuel Doe, UNDP Resident Representative.
DSTI has an open-door policy for knowledge sharing to support the work of organizations in public and private sectors seeking to use technology for development. Since its inception, DSTI has built partnerships with local and international leaders on technology and innovation, including MIT, Statistics Sierra Leone, The Gates Foundation, eGovernance Academy, and UNICEF Sierra Leone.