Launched in 2018, the UN Technology Bank serves the world's 46 least developed countries (LDCs), of which 33 are in Africa, according to the acting managing director of the organization.
In an exclusive interview, Taffere Tesfachew called on countries across the globe to join in on helping LDCs as he expressed his gratitude to Turkey for its "genuine" support.
The UN Technology Bank has been "implementing, instigating activities and projects" since its establishment, Tesfachew said, adding that one of those projects was to establish academies of science.
In March 2021, the UN organization teamed up with the Network of African Science Academies and launched two such academies, one in the Southern African nation of Lesotho and the other in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
"This is helping some LDCs who require some technical knowledge, capacity building, partnership with UN agencies, with other stakeholders," he said.
In another initiative, Tesfachew said, the Technology Bank has a project in the South Asian country of Bhutan to address local needs in pediatric ear and hearing care.
"We have a project in Bhutan, which is an LDC, on supporting young people with hearing difficulties and mobilizing companies and other organizations to come and help nations and countries in identifying hearing problems and giving them the capability to manufacture, in the future, hearing aids," he said.
The acting managing director also spoke about the bank's three ongoing projects with Turkey's Scientific and Technological Research Council (TUBITAK), including one on food production.
"Food production is really a major constraint in the least developed countries, particularly the post-harvest loss of food," Tesfachew stressed, explaining that "a lot of food is wasted" after harvest due to a lack of "technological know-how, storage problems, or capacity to maintain perishable foods."
- Turkish support
Underscoring that Turkey possesses "advanced technology" in this field, he said UN Technology Bank is currently trying to transfer that kind of technology to LDCs.
The bank and TUBITAK are also pursuing a joint initiative on "technology makers' labs and startup development programs," as well as another on "needs assessment" in which the two organizations visit LDCs and identify their technological needs.
Citing Turkey's investments in technology, he said the country "is very serious about sharing some of this knowledge with these countries that are still developing, especially in Africa, so we want to take advantage of that."
Tesfachew voiced the bank's goal to transfer knowledge from Turkey to LDCs but also said he hopes to "demonstrate international research collaboration, what we call both South-South and South-North."
He added: "Hoping other countries would join, like China, also advanced countries like Germany."
Noting that even developing countries like India and Bangladesh were providing support to the UN Technology Bank, Tesfachew said the organization could be a "facilitator" or a "bridge builder" in LDCs.
He further expressed his gratitude to the government and people of Turkey for "thinking about least developed countries."
Turkey's "desire to assist and help in LDCs is not a political agenda, it comes from the heart, it's really a deep desire," Tesfachew stressed.
He also thanked the Turkey for inviting the bank to the Antalya Diplomacy Forum, which he said was "really gaining ... importance."
The forum is "an excellent opportunity to meet people and to explain to dignitaries from different countries what the UN Technology Bank is about -- To show them what we can do, and to also send additional support," added the official.
Still, the bank does not want to rely solely on Turkey's support, he said. "This forum gives great opportunity to mobilize countries and to make the UN Technology Bank known."
"The idea is, as I say, to mobilize resources from other countries, as well."
The three-day high-level event in the resort city of Antalya has brought together participants from 75 countries, including 17 heads of state, 80 government ministers, and 39 representatives of international organizations. Anadolu Agency is the forum's global communications partner.