Africa’s Sustainable Growth Hinges on Science, Technology and Innovation: Experts

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Addis Ababa March 3/2023/ENA/ Achieving the ambitious targets of the 2030 and 2063 Agendas of Africa requires leveraging the power of science, technology, and innovation (STI), according to experts.

A press release issued by the ECA stated experts at the Ninth African Regional Forum on Sustainable Development have emphasized the crucial role of STI as a key driver and enabler for ensuring economic growth, improving well-being, mitigating the effects of climate change, and safeguarding the environment.

They also underscored the need to strengthen national and regional STI ecosystems by fostering innovation, promoting entrepreneurship, and investing in research and development.

By doing so, the experts said that Africa can harness the potential of STI to accelerate its socio-economic progress and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 and the African Union's Agenda by 2063.

The session, held on 2 March 2023, builds on the recommendations of the Fifth African Science, Technology, and Innovation Forum, which accentuates the central role of STI and digitalization during the COVID-19 pandemic and the need for the necessary infrastructures for the development of STI, plans, and policies that are action-oriented towards strengthening its full implantation.

The experts highlighted that despite advances in STI, significant gaps remain in bridging the scientific and technological divide between developed countries and Africa.

The highly uneven global distribution of scientific capacity and access to knowledge threatens to derail the goal of leaving no one behind, which is the central and transformative promise of Agenda 2030.

“We need a clear political will from governments to ensure science, technology, and innovation is a reality. By doing so our education systems will be capacitated to deliver knowledge that is vital to solving Africa’s sustainability challenges,” Niger Higher Education and Research Minister Mamoudou Djibo said.

The strategy includes the establishment of universities as centers for excellence and investments in education, technical competencies, and training in the fields of science, technology, research, and innovation.

These initiatives are crucial in accelerating progress towards achieving global goals. However, in order to fully leverage the potential of STI, significant investments in research and development are required.

National systems also need to be strengthened, Namibia Information and Communication Technologies Deputy Minister Emma Theophilus, stated adding that “strengthening our national systems for STI is a key game changer for rapid structural transformation in Africa. Leveraging the digital transformation can achieve a stronger, smarter, and more inclusive recovery.”

Emerging evidence suggests that an STI and digital Africa can be a springboard to accelerate the implementation of the SDGs and fulfill the aspirations of Agenda 2063.

Ethiopian News Agency
2023