On the First Day of the Trip to Mali;
ICT Park’s President and the Accompanying Delegation Met with Mali's Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research
At the start of this meeting, Ahmadu Kita, Mali’s Minister of Higher Education and Research welcomed the Iranian delegation and referred to his last year’s trip to Iran: “Last year we had a trip to Iran and had the privilege of being welcomed by a passionate nation. What we experienced during the trip confirmed all my assumptions about this noble nation. During this trip, in addition to Tehran, we visited the Mashhad. We met a very nation that was advanced and well-educated regarding technology. Despite the sanctions that have been imposed on Iran in recent years, Iran has achieved great honors. Likewise, Mali is in a similar situation because aimed to change its policies and choose its partners freely. Iranian spirit is inspiring for us because, during our stay in Iran, we learned about Iran's clever strategies. Iranian’s trip to Mali is the logical result of the interactions we had in Tehran,” he said.
"After returning from Iran, we had extensive discussion with our Cabinet and other Malian ministers regarding what we saw in Iran and the potential fields of cooperation with Iran. We are very delighted to see you in Mali. As the Prime Minister of our country said, stars can be seen in the dark. Now that our country is going through difficult times, we are happy to see our friends by our side,” added Mali's Minister of Higher Education and Research.
As the meeting continued, Dr. Mohammad Jafar Sadigh Damghanizadeh, the Advisor to the Minister and the President of ICT Park, expressed his pleasure for being in Mali and meeting the Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research of this country and explained the differences between the first and third-generation universities: “In first generation universities, one can find educational environments. In second-generation universities, one may find research centers in addition to the educational environment. First-generation and second-generation universities are supposed to train the human resources needed by society and develop research products. First and second-generation universities’ graduates need companies to hire them. However, since about three or four decades ago, universities have been developing to third-generation universities. In other words, the output of third-generation universities is not limited to graduates in different fields; small startup companies are their output, too. In addition to what there is in first-generation and second-generation universities, third-generation universities have innovation centers and university science parks; Therefore, at third-generation universities, we should aid students and professors to transform their ideas for product into products and small companies,” he said.
“Since we consider Mali a country as our friend and our Islamic brother, we deeply feel the obligation to provide it with the required amount of support to our best strength,” he added.
The President of ICT Park also referred to Mali's Minister of Science and Research's request from ICT Park for establishing a university science park in this country: “The main reason for our trip to Mali is to assess the conditions and potentials in this country's universities for setting up a science park. Moreover, the aim for this trip is to reach a mutual agreement about designing and setting up an Innovation Center in one of Mali's universities and also to introduce this concept to Mali,” he clarified.
The Advisor to the Minister and the President of ICT Park further explained the process of setting up an innovation center in Mali: “We will first select and suggest a university with the highest potential that meets the required conditions for setting up Mali’s first innovation center. The next step should be designing various software, in accordance with your social context, for managing the innovation center. All over the world, this process is done in the form of consulting agreements. In these consulting agreements, all the requirements should be considered, including proposing the necessary decisions that the university officials are required to finalize and legalize for setting up innovation centers, proposing the intended procedures, and providing for all the necessary arrangements,” he said.
“In addition to this consulting agreement, an initial investment for setting up an innovation center is necessary. The innovation center will have the full functionality of a science park, but due to its smaller scale, it requires a smaller amount of investment; therefore, ICT Park recommends that you begin with an innovation center and, after achieving the intended level of success, we can upgrade it to a science park. We will also start training the managers of this innovation center, so that you could open it immediately after their training is finished. We will also set a certain date for the first call for admissions to this university innovation center. We will indeed monitor the workflow in this innovation center for one year after it starts to work,” continued Dr. Sadigh Damghanizadeh.
“Twenty-five years ago, we concluded a contract with Ireland regarding the maintenance of ICT Park, which was worth about 1 million euros, but we are present here to help a country that is our friend and brother, and our main goal is not to gain profit. Furthermore, the next step after the innovation center starts working is initiating cooperation between this center and Iran’s ICT Park and other science and technology parks. The Maliean established companies can start their mutual cooperation with ICT Park companies as soon as possible,” noted the President of ICT Park at the end of his speech.
The Minister of Higher Education and Research of Mali embraced the idea of setting up an innovation center in one of Mali's universities: “In the course of our negotiations during our trip to Iran, we emphasized Mali’s will to initiate a proper relationship between research and production; a type of research that would result in production in several different industries, including agriculture, transportation, urban development, telecommunications, and similar fields by using modern technologies,” he said.
“With the cooperation of our universities, have decided on extensive plans for hosting you and the accompanying delegation's trip to Mali. Our major universities will be your host for these few days and will be looking forward to your assessments and suggestions. Also, before the trip ends, we would like to have another meeting with you and the Iranian delegation to finalize your assessment of Mali’s potentials and capacities for cooperation in the future,” Ahmadu Kita added at the end of this meeting.
It is worth mentioning that, Mr. Taleshi, the Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Bamako, a number of Deputy Ministers of Mali’s Ministry of Higher Education and Research, and a number of Malian university presidents were also present in this meeting besides the Iranian delegation that included Dr. Sadigh Damghanizadeh, Dr. Abbas Ghanbari Bagestan, and Eng. Mohammad Ali Jafari.