The new Director of the United Nations University Institute for National Resources in Africa (UNU-INRA), Dr Fatima Denton has said Africans should collaborate to support its structural transformation.
She said Africa was faced with a daunting task of resource management as a precondition for growth, adding that the challenge was more discouraging given that Africa was a microcosm of all the megatrends combined.
The megatrends she noted are climate change, rapid resource depletion, rapid urbanisation, population explosion, resource triggered conflicts, and gender inequalities.
She said this during a farewell lecture organised by UNU-INRA in honour of Dr Elias T. Ayuk, former Director of the Institute in Accra.
Dr Denton said: “In as much as we are conscious of a world in peril with known and unknown environmental and social limits, our core value proportion is to deliver on a model that aligns political economy with environmental sustainability and an expansion towards resource efficiency in which ecology and economy exists”.
She said, in Africa, growth formula and the vitality of its economies and exploitation of natural resources harnesses natural resources wealth for structural, social and economic transformation.
She however noted that it requires quality and empirical research, innovation policy support and infrastructure fit for future to help the region move away from commodities to increasing the full potential of its natural capital through diversification and greater value addition.
Dr Denton said, the vision of the Institute for enhancing Africa’s natural resources was to enable their local research institution to cater for knowledge needs and align them with their development goal.
She said: “We have to use our research institution as producers of knowledge, not only as contributors to research but as influencers of research outcome”.
The Director said she believed Africa was privileged to be operating in a space where it could draw on strong science and identify best downstream tools to deploy scientific findings that can support policy.
“And we are equally privileged to be based in Ghana where in spite of rapid environment depletion, there is good progress made to stem resource degradation and to move the country towards greater resources efficiency”.
She said: “It is not enough for us to think and do, we must also influence, leverage and certainly multiply.’’