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Governance deficit challenges Africa’s development of science-tech innovation – ECA

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Governance deficits and over-reliance on developmental aid has been identified as critical challenges to the development of Science, Technology and Innovation in Africa.

Investment must come from member countries’ national allocated budgets and not from gifts, aid or donor-driven.

“Africa needs visionary leaders with clear sense of dignity, integrity and sovereignty for development especially in STI”, declared Aida Opoku-Mensah, Director, ICTs and Science Technology Division (ISTI) of UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).

“There must be conscious effort to generate the needed investments to propel the continent’s STI architecture for transformational development that is lacking. If we fail, it will be to our detriment,” she adds.

Speaking to the Ghana News Agency on the sideline of the first Africa STI Forum in Nairobi, Kenya, she said “shirking internally generated support to fund science, technology and innovation will redouble the yawning gap.

“The touted socio-economic development of countries christened as Asia Tigers was knotted on STI and Africa cannot remain where it is now without looking ahead.”

Madam Opoku-Mensah said Africa’s future was tied to its youth and that meeting their aspirations remained monumental challenges as evidenced by the Arab spring.  “Clamouring for economic improvement needs to be addressed otherwise a looming African spring beckons”, she added.

Dr George Afeti, Technical, Vocational Education and Training Consultant of the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA) said investment deficits involving prioritising and misdirection of funds constituted one aspect of the problem.

He said getting the people to appreciate the involvement of private sector participation in STI will open many more doors for rapid development in Africa. “Cup-in-hand syndrome of financing development on the continent must cease henceforth. There is no sustainability in begging”.

Dr Afeti, also the Chief Inspectorate of Schools urged Africa’s leaders to redouble their efforts at legislating science policies as it had the capacity to chart a new course, coordinate all related activities and partnerships in finding common solutions to common problems.

Source: GNA

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