UN urges more investment in scientific development in Africa

ADDIS ABABA, Feb. 20 (Xinhua/GNA) – African countries should invest more in science, technology, and innovation to tap into its resources, boost productivity and enhance competitiveness, a UN official has said.

Africa should tap into its potential to realize its aspirations, including the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Agenda 2063, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), Claver Gatete, said Monday at the Africa Business Forum 2024 in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia.

He noied that Africa cannot realize the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) without science, technology, and innovation, and urged African countries to modernize their education systems, and increase research and development outputs.

He said African countries need to close gaps in digital skills, data generation, and the utilization of the digital economy on the continent.

“Currently, 75 percent of Africa’s youth do not possess the required digital skills to fully participate in the digital economy, and only 50 percent of countries on the continent incorporate skills as part of their curriculum,” the executive secretary said.

The business forum, held under the theme of boosting the transformation of Africa through education, science, technology and innovation, brought together experts from across the continent.

The experts and panelists said achieving Africa’s sustainable development, requires leveraging the power of science, technology, and innovation, to fight multidimensional vulnerabilities, improve economic growth, and mitigate the effects of climate change.

They highlighted that despite advances in science, technology and innovation, significant challenges 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 the SDGs, the experts added.