Africa Looks To Science And Innovation For A Prosperous Future

(MENAFN- Daily News Egypt)

A chorus of African leaders, representatives, and experts at the Sixth African Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Forum in Addis Ababa delivered a clear message: investment in science, technology, and innovation (STI) is crucial for the continent's transformation.

The two-day forum, held ahead of the African Regional Forum on Sustainable Development, was organized by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) alongside the African Union Commission and other partners. The theme emphasized the role of STI in achieving the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Agenda 2063, specifically focusing on eradicating poverty in Africa.

Panelists highlighted STI's potential to transform African agriculture, industry, and poverty reduction efforts. Ethiopia's Minister of Technology and Innovation, Belete Molla, emphasized fostering innovation in key sectors like agriculture, clean energy, and healthcare as a path to job creation, improved livelihoods, and poverty reduction.

Molla cited Ethiopia's focus on agricultural transformation and food security as a model for other African nations. Initiatives include improving access to fertilizers, seeds, and technologies for farmers, alongside a national food system transformation roadmap.

Molla stressed that Ethiopia isn't just planning, it's acting. The country recently revised its Science and Technology policy to prioritize fostering innovation and harnessing emerging technologies. Additionally, a national digital transformation strategy,“Digital Ethiopia 2025,” has been implemented.

The ECA Deputy Executive Secretary for Programme Support, Antonio Pedro, emphasized the need for Africa to invest in human capital development, research and development (R&D), and harnessing emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and genomics.

Pedro underscored the role of STI in improving service delivery to the poor, monitoring living conditions, predicting crises, and informing decision-making. The forum, he explained, aims to foster collaboration, technology diffusion, and policy efforts to accelerate STI's contribution to sustainable development goals.

The ECA highlighted the STI Forum's growing role as a platform for addressing STI challenges and opportunities. The 2022 launch of the Alliance of Entrepreneurial Universities in Africa, aiming to create 100 million jobs and generate $200bn in revenue by 2033, was cited as an example. Similarly, the launch of the continental problem-solving and innovation platform, Origin, and the ECA's coding camps for girls and women demonstrate ongoing efforts.

Lidia Arthur Brito, Assistant Director-General for Natural Sciences at UNESCO, stressed the importance of international collaboration in science for fostering peace and sustainable development. She highlighted the potential of empowering youth to become not only economic drivers but also innovators tackling environmental challenges. However, Brito identified financial sustainability as a challenge for many African tech hubs, which often rely on external funding.

Javier Pérez, Ambassador of the European Union to the African Union and ECA, reaffirmed the EU's commitment to supporting development in Africa through STI. He announced a €279m investment for research and innovation to support both the SDGs and Agenda 2063.

The Sixth African Science, Technology and Innovation Forum serves as a springboard for Africa's future. By harnessing the power of STI and fostering collaboration, African nations can build a more prosperous, just, and sustainable future.


Daily News Egypt

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