UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has named TWAS Interim Executive Director Mohamed H.A. Hassan to chair the Governing Council of the new Technology Bank for Least-Developed Countries.
The Technology Bank is designed to serve as a repository for scientific information, as well as a means to connect developing world innovators with resources such as funding, legal support and patent licensing.
"The Technology Bank is an innovative and very promising tool for scientists, innovators and entrepreneurs and it will have a central place in the innovation ecosystem of many developing countries," said Hassan, who also serves as president of the InterAcademy Partnership (IAP). "I look forward to working with a truly impressive team of Council members, and I trust we will be able to get the bank up and running in a timely way to meet the great need for its resources."
The Technology Bank will feature a system to help Least Developed Countries (LDCs) negotiate access to intellectual property rights and provide LDC researchers with better access to scientific literature. It could also create networks to expand LDCs’ horizons beyond their own research communities, and encourage cooperation between developing countries to, for example, run businesses or provide expertise in support of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals.
The Governing Council will support the UN secretary-general in making the Technology Bank operational. It will create principles and policies governing the bank’s activities and operations, including preparing its charter for consideration and adoption by the UN General Assembly.
The Technology Bank was set in motion by a study released in September 2015 by a high-level panel of experts in science, technology and development. The 11-member panel was chaired by then-TWAS Executive Director Romain Murenzi, and included five TWAS Fellows.
Hassan served 26 years as TWAS executive director before retiring in 2011, but continued to serve as TWAS treasurer until the end of 2015. Following Murenzi's move to UNESCO headquaters in Paris, Hassan will serve as interim TWAS director until a permanent replacement is approved. In addition to his leadership of IAP, he serves a president of the Sudanese National Academy of Sciences. Previously, he served as chairman of the Council of the United Nations University and president of African Academy of Sciences.