Sustainable development and economic growth
Despite the progress made in terms of economic growth, Africa continues to present the paradox of widespread poverty in a continent that abounds in human and natural resources. There are several economic, political, social, cultural, environmental and technological factors that could explain this paradox. It is clear, however, that most African economies remain dependent on one or a limited number of products with low added value and are heavily dependent on foreign aid for the funding of their development; there is little intra-African trade in spite of the willingness to promote regional integration of economies and markets.
Economic growth, intellectual influence, and technical or socio-organizational innovations go hand in hand and are mutually reinforcing.
The intangible – represented by software, socioorganizational processes and, generally speaking, science and technology – plays an important role in relation to raw materials: knowledge has become the most important raw material and knowledge access and knowledge sharing are key issues. Science and technology play a crucial role.
The multi-dimensional challenges relating to climate change must also be taken into consideration, as must biodiversity and environmental issues in the context of green and blue economies.
Cultural industries that also contribute increasingly to the development of African economies deserve to be promoted and ranked among the most dynamic economic sectors.
To that end, it is essential to make them visible and, using factual data, affirm their contribution to economic growth.<br/>
Action of UNESCO
UNESCO will support the African States, the African Union, and regional communities in the implementation of policies and programmes promoting regional and continental integration.
This will include programmes that strengthen crossborder inter-community cohesion through education and culture and promote the peaceful management of cross-border resources, knowledge sharing and intellectual cooperation between States. Increasing Africa’s share in world scientific production is a major challenge that must be met if the continent is to be an active participant in the global market.
Today, it is imperative for African countries to promote the production and recognition by Africans of knowledge and know-how as well as the appreciation of knowledge and endogenous knowledge systems linking culture and development. UNESCO can make a significant contribution to improving the collection and analysis of related statistical data.